I made this Minoru by Sewaholic about four months ago. So I've had plenty of time to test it! My original intention was for it to be a cold-weather, but not, y'know, cold-weather, coat. If I had to rate it like a sleeping bag, I would say it's "good down to 30 degrees". Except, much like a sleeping bag, I've really been pushing that limit.
I guess my favorite thing about it is that I just feel so cool in this coat. It's like that awesome '70s coat you find in the thrift shop or army surplus store, except this one cost way more than that. The shell is this Robert Kaufman cotton moleskin, which unfortunately attracts hair (but what fabric doesn't?), and the lining is a Japanese plaid flannel. What I love about this flannel, other than the incredible color scheme, is that even though it's a plain weave, it's much denser than our other twill-weave flannel. As a side note, this is the third green coat that I've made for myself. I guess it's just a good color for outerwear!
The zipper is from Zipperstop and the cord and eyelets are from Pacific Trimming. Naturally, they didn't have any color cord that even remotely matched my coat, so I had to go contrasting. And I really like it! I ordered little bell things to go over the ends, but they turned out to be teeny and I've lost them already.
If you've seen many other Minorus, or have ever looked at the pattern, you've probably noticed that I took out all the gathers. I used this tutorial from SallieOh. It was super straightforward. I made a muslin after I took out the gathers, and I got so scared. I made a size 6, which had plenty of ease in it until I removed it all with the gathers. I tried layering a sweatshirt under it and I could barely move my arms in front of me, which didn't bode well for an even heavier final coat. I considered going up a size, but I didn't want to go through all that gather-removal again. I also considered putting the gathers back in, but I really preferred it without. In the end, I used 3/8" seam allowances (rather than 5/8"), and added two 3/4" back pleats. They're barely noticeable, my range of motion is excellent, and I can layer underneath.
(the pleats aren't visible here, but they're the type that go on the back of a casual men's shirt)
This is where the Minoru beats out my Colette Albion coat that I made last year. I love that coat (especially the color!), but it's tight if I wear a sweater under it. Also, I love how far up the collar on the Minoru goes, and the hood stays on my head (I inserted a drawstring on this one), and I didn't have to bother with any stupid leather toggles.
The funny thing is, neither of these coats are especially warm. The wool flannel I used for the Albion, much as I adore it, does not keep out the biting Cleveland wind. And as dense as the moleskin is, or appears to be, it doesn't insulate that well. I suppose could have interlined it, but I wasn't planning on this becoming my winter coat. I think next year I'm going to try the Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat. My boyfriend loves his Albion coat, by the way. I think I just over-fitted and under-insulated mine.
Anyway... Here's a fashion blogger pose I accidentally did.
I love this pattern, and will happily make it again. Actually, I originally had something like this J Crew jacket in mind, but then we got the moleskin in. I'd like to make something like that still, since all the elbows of all my light jackets are blown out beyond repair. I can't say much to the instructions because I barely followed them (which is why I kept forgetting to topstitch everything), but I found the sewalong extremely helpful, especially when it came to making alterations, like adding pockets.
I wish I had included the inside pocket, though I am very glad I added welt pockets to the exterior. On my muslin I scribbled some lines where my hands would natural scramble for pockets, and made the pocket bags as big as I could.
I made a narrow placket to go behind the zipper to keep it away from my skin. You can see above, I added it one the rights. I tried so many clever ways of inserting it, and in the end I don't remember how it went in. It certainly wasn't clever, but it was definitely obvious. I'm so helpful.
I seem to have tossed the list of changes I made to my Minoru, but these are the ones I can remember:
- removed gathers around neckline and changed sleeve gathers to a dart (with this tutorial)
- sewed sleeve and raglan seams with 3/8" SA
- added slanted welt pockets
- added a placket behind the zipper
- lined hood and added drawstring
- permanently attached hood to collar, removing zipper
- removed gathers from cuffs (they are larger than the sleeve opening, gathered to fit, and also gathered with elastic, which I omitted)
- replaced elastic waist with drawstring
If you've made it this far, here's a funny story. These pictures were taken at Wade Pond, by the Cleveland Museum of Art. That water is a lot nastier than it looks. Here's my dumb dog as proof.
He looks like something we picked off the side of the road.