Little twerp is back home! He was missing for six weeks, but after talking to a lot of people during my search for him I discovered it's not uncommon for cats to turn up months after they go missing. Still, it was hard not to lose hope. I kept getting false alarms when people would call me about lookalike cats in the neighborhood. When I got a call about a week ago from a woman out walking her dog, I was pretty dang sure it was going to be the same cat down the street who I'd discovered after numerous previous tips. (That poor cat must have gotten tired of seeing my face turn all downtrodden every time I found him and realized he wasn't mine.) But I rushed to spot anyway, and I couldn't believe it when I called his name and he started meowing. I didn't know for a few seconds whether he was my cat or not, it had been so long. It was even stranger to pick him up and feel how much lighter he was - he had definitely lost some weight in his time away. Now he's back home, and we'll never know how he spent those six weeks. Besides acting hungry ALL THE TIME, Pidgin is pretty much back to his old self - waking me up at 5 am by biting my hair, chasing rubber bands, taking lots of naps. It's nice to have him back!
Okay, hope you all didn't mind the cat update. Now for sewing. I was badly in need of a spring/fall weight jacket to replace one lost last year. The weather around here started getting cooler, and I had nothing but an old jean jacket which was not gonna cut it. I get in this position too often lately because I hate buying clothes new and don't seem to sew fast enough to fill the gaps in my wardrobe. Wow. I have deja vu just typing that. But thankfully, I'm getting faster! So I threw together this Minoru (by Sewaholic Patterns in case you're new in town):
Minoru number one was a big undertaking for me, largely because I changed a zillion things about the design and made it harder than it was supposed to be. This time I respected the integrity of the pattern a little better, and sewed it closer to how Tasia intended. Turns out, patterns work better when you sew them with the recommended fabrics and don't make a zillion design changes. Who knew!
I'm trying to show you it's cold enough to see my breath, but it's not working. The fabric is Robert Kaufman Hampton Twill in "stone" for the main fabric and "charm" for the facings. I've had pretty good experiences with Kaufman fabrics, although it can get confusing when he has five different twills and twenty types of chambray. I'm exaggerating a little, but I wish someone would tell me how to choose among all the options when I'm shopping online. This twill is pretty lightweight, almost too light for my liking. It also wrinkles quite easily. I compensated by doing both an underlining and a lining, which gave the extra weight and warmth I wanted. So I guess I didn't exactly do things as the pattern instructed, since it doesn't call for underlining.
Ta da! Pretty insides. The lining is bemberg rayon, and the interlining is cheap cotton flannel from Joann's, except in the sleeves, where I used up the leftover flannel from the shirt I made Josh last winter. Thrifty, eh? Almost to a fault. I hope I don't regret my scrimping later, but it's just underlining. What's the worst that could happen by using cheap fabric? And actually, it's the lining that's underlined rather than the main fabric, since I didn't realize til the outer was already sewn up that it was really too lightweight. Judging fabric weight really does seem to be one of the tougher parts of sewing for me.
If you're wondering why there's a stripe of pink through the middle of my lining, it's because I was worried that the bemberg would be too delicate to serve as a casing for the drawstrings (oh, btw I swapped the waist elastic for drawstrings). I feel like a dummy for going through that trouble, because the flannel underlining would have protected the rayon. I just didn't realize it at the time. Oh well.
This photo is kinda cheesy, but also it makes me think of a 1950s model pose. Here we go...
Nailed it! I'm trying to show off my pockets with their contrasting under flaps. I stole the idea for these off of Peter and his amazing parka.
Sheesh. What a good looking dude. And he makes such beautiful clothes. I'm pretty sure that's an entirely self-made outfit he's sporting. That parka is killer. My pockets are smaller than his, and thus slightly less useful. Here is a blurry, unhelpful photo:
Even though they're a bit small, I can fit my phone inside no problem. I don't think I could have made them much bigger and still fit them on the jacket, especially since I shortened it (whoops - is that another change?)
Okay, I better just confess to all the rest of the things I did differently from the original pattern. I made the collar pieces shorter in front, as I did on my previous version. They curve downward, and thus don't cover my face even when the coat is zipped all the way. You can see the altered pattern piece below.
I used drawstrings instead of elastic at the waist, and I hammered in some big eyelets for the cords to poke through.
Here's the back view. I'm not a huge fan of the way it looks when the drawstrings are gathered, so I wear it barely gathered at all. As a pear shaped lady, I just don't think gathered waists are my favorite. I originally thought I would put some cord stops on my drawstrings to keep them from pulling through the hole, but I kinda like my little bows tied on the side.
Finally, I got rid of the elastic cuffs and used the tower plackets and cuffs from a men's shirt pattern.
I still need to pick out some buttons, so these are just tacked closed for now. Tower plackets don't seem very appropriate on a jacket, but I wasn't sure how else to put a vent in the sleeve. If I had been a smarty, I would have redrafted the sleeve in two pieces, which seems to be the way most jackets are sewn. I was not thinking that far ahead, however.
This coat is exactly what I needed to get me through til the real cold weather starts, and I'm very happy with it. But I also think I'm done with Minoru, unless my sister or mom requests one. It was satisfying to make it up again and do a better job matching fabric to pattern, but for my next jacket I'm ready to try something new. It's just nitpicking, but the gathered waist bugs me. Minoru also has quite a wide neckline, and unless you stuff a scarf in there it's quite drafty. Anyone else notice that? Still, it's a great pattern and I'm happy I've finally done it up a second time!