minoru: the final details

after the pockets, i only had a few more details to add to my minoru. sorry to draw this out so long, but trust me. it’ll be worth it! so many people have talked about adding the various details i’ve added, so i really want to show all of them! also, i thought i had some in-progress pics of these things, but apparently i got too excited about the jacket at this point and totally forgot to take any! if you really need/want more detail on something specific, feel free to let me know.

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i added a facing to my zipper just to avoid potential clothing snags. that zip is hardcore and i’m sure it would chew up anything that came too close! if you’re looking to do the same, it’s very easy. i made the facing to go from the top of where the zipper zips up to, down to the end of the zipper tape. i made mine pretty narrow, but you could certainly make it wider if you wanted.

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i topstitched around the edge, serged the open edge, then topstitched a zig zag pattern to stabilize the facing. i didn’t want to add fusible and make it stiff, but i also didn’t want the facing to collapse upon itself since my fabric is pretty thin. to attach the facing, i lined the serged edge up with the edge of the zipper tape and stitched on top of my previous stitching where i attached the zipper to the shell (this just needs to be added before the shell and lining are attached). the only thing you need to be mindful of is keeping the top edge of the facing from getting caught in the top seam allowance.

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then that’s it! you simply proceed as normal. initially i attached the facing to the side that has the zipper pull, but i ripped it and then basted it to the other side. i found that it helps give you something to hang on to when zipping up the jacket.

the one feature that i changed from the original is the cuff. i do like the gathered cuff, but i had a straight cuff in my vision of this jacket, so that’s what i went with. initially i was going to do a placket and cuff with snaps to fasten, but everything was coming together so well that i got snap-shy and nixed all my snap plans. the thought of hammering stuff into my jacket suddenly made me nervous. anywho…

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i cut 1″ off the sleeve length, then made the cuff 1″ longer than drafted. i cut the inside and outside pieces of the cuff separate (one side interfaced) because it makes for a stronger edge, and cuff edges take a lot of wear. the sleeves are narrower than i anticipated, so it was a challenge to edge stitch and top stitch where the cuff attaches, but i was able to fold the edge of the cuff in so i could get the sewing machine in farther. snore… sorry if i’m totally boring you here.

last detail! one thing i really wanted was a drawstring waist. when i cut out my jacket pieces, i graded out at the waist on the front pieces (they had more shaping than the back) because i was pulling the drawstring out closer to the center front than the elastic, as drafted, would have gone. i left out the elastic entirely and stitched a casing to the outside of the jacket. initially i was going to put the casing on the inside and pull the drawstring out through some grommets, but i couldn’t find the right color to match my zip hardware and i was tired of finding supplies for this thing!

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i pinned, adjusted, re-pinned, adjusted again, re-pinned, and adjusted again… until i had everything laying properly and in the right place around my waist. once i was satisfied i edge stitched the casing on and threaded my cord through. oooohhhhh this is where i got totally excited, because the drawstring just pulled (haha) the whole look of the jacket together!

okay, i promise i wouldn’t keep stringing you along… the whole finished jacket will be up next! maybe today, maybe tomorrow… i have pics, just need time to write up my full review! CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED?!?!

and, before i forget… i’ve decided to take the plunge and sign up for me-made-may 2013. i’m going for 4 days a week of me-mades, which won’t be too challenging to achieve. i suspect the biggest challenge will be documenting! but now that the weather is warming up i’ve been pulling out some of my dresses, voile tops, shorts, etc. i’ll probably recap once a week-ish to keep it simple.

i, lisa g. of notes from a mad housewife, sign up as a participant of me-made-may ’13. i endeavour to wear me-mades at least 4 times a week for the duration of may 2013.

what about you?

—lisa g.

minoru: the pockets

whoah. pockets. okay, so the only glaring omission for the minoru is it’s lack of outside pockets.   while i try not to constantly have my hands stashed, i always have a sniffly nose and tissues must always be at the ready. always. and if you think i’m bad (which you can’t since 99.999999% of you have never met me IRL) you should meet my adorable teeny tiny five year old daughter isabella. it’s quite comical the amount of snot she can blow out her schnoz and the decibel level she attains while doing so (allergies). so pockets are a must.

while i was pondering the main pockets, i added a vertical zip pocket to the upper left front. putting the zip in was easy peasy (i’ve done enough welt or welt-type pockets to be totally confident slicing into my fabric).

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adding the pocket bag proved a little more difficult. let’s just say i exchanged a few words with my little pocket in the process. there was a point when i knew i would have a pocket zip opening, i just didn’t know if it would be a functioning pocket. eventually i stitched in all the right places and the torturous creation is in no way evident from the outside.

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it’s amazing what tribulation a cleanly serged edge can hide. to save my pocket from pulling on the front in any way, i extended the pocket bag all the way up to the neck seam and hand sewed it in place. ideally it would have been secured in that seam when attaching the collar, but at that point of construction i hadn’t worked out all the pocket deets.

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i hemmed and hawed over exactly what size/shape/location for the main pockets and experimented with a few different sizes. i wanted a patch pocket of some variety, but when i pinned on a regular ol’ rectangular patch pocket it just didn’t look right and it was uncomfortable for hand stashing to boot. i looked around at some jackets for inspiration and found that most patch pockets for this type of jacket also had a sneaky little vertical welt pocket on top of the patch pocket—a 2-in-1 pocket (like this jacket). for all of two minutes i considered copying that design. eventually i came upon a brilliant solution to simply slant the top of the pocket. instead of making a rectangular pocket, i lowered the outer edge by (i think) 1 1/2″. as soon as i did that i knew i hit upon the right idea. from there i tweaked the proportions and placement and drafted a pocket. with the slanted design i knew would be putting the upper edge at risk of “growing” (being on the bias) so i made sure to reinforce the upper edge in a couple different ways.

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first, i made the outside and lining separate pieces, sewn together at the top (as opposed to a folded over and stitched top). i also added an interfaced pocket facing cut on the straight grain and applied to the top edge of the pocket lining. along with some under stitching and top stitching, that pocket edge will no way no how lose it’s shape. then i added a pocket flap to keep all my pocket contents secure. now, accomplishing all this with the slanted top made for some careful measuring and pattern piece making; everything had to line up perfectly. but once i had figured out the direction i wanted to go it was fairly simple to put together, and i’m very pleased with the outcome. in all seriousness, i pondered the pockets for almost two whole days and i’m glad i did, because the resulting pockets are near perfection.

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now, the astute among you will notice that my vertical zip doesn’t match my main and hood zip. when i ordered my jacket zips i hadn’t officially determined whether or not i would do this pocket, so i didn’t look very hard for a matching zip. i did look, but i couldn’t get the right hardware/tape color combo without placing a large custom order, so i skipped it. i figured, if i really wanted the pocket, i could pick up a zip that matched my shell fabric since i wasn’t looking to draw a lot of attention to this pocket. i also considered doing a welt over the zipper to hide it’s color, but nixed that idea since all the other zips were exposed.

i’m glad i went the direction i did and made the zippered pocket (though my #1 choice would have been a pink zip to match the others), but what about you? would this non-matching zipper bother you? an earlier me would certainly not have tolerated it, but do you look at these pics and think: “oh-em-gee… this would have been a perfect jacket had she just matched the darn zipper or left that eyesore out entirely!”? don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings because p.s. the jacket is currently finished. aaaaaannnnd is freakin’ awesome.

can’t. wait. to. show. you.

—lisa g.

minoru: under the hood

i was able to get in a nice chunk of sewing time in on monday so i have mostly completed the shell of my minoru. up until this point, i have followed the directions verbatim. to figure out the size and placement of my various pocket additions i really need to see what my jacket space actually is. it’s one thing to draw pockets out on the pattern pieces; it’s another thing entirely to see them in relation to the jacket as a whole.

i measure a size 6 in sewaholic so that’s what i’m making up. everything seems to fit great except for the shoulders. it’s more snug across my back and bicep area than i anticipated. i think i’ll let out the raglan seam at the back just a touch and hope that fixes things. it’s not so tight that i couldn’t live with it, and in reality would only be noticeable when zipped up, but i don’t want my investment of time and resources to leave me with the nagging i should have fixed that when i had the chance… especially since it won’t take that much time.

so that’s my only minor sizing irk at this point. i kept reading people’s reviews about how fast this jacket comes together but i guess i didn’t really believe it. even though it took me almost two hours to make my stupid collar/zip thingie, the rest (except for the hood, which i did sunday) was constructed in an afternoon.

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i thought i’d try to give details about my changes and additions. so i’ll start with the hood. many people have stated that they wished the hood was a 3-pc for better shaping. i wasn’t sure how easy it would be to make this little change, but i reasoned it out and it turned out perfect. here’s what i did…

determine how wide you want the middle piece to be. you can measure an existing hood in your life, or do what i did: take a measuring tape, stand in front of a mirror, and eyeball it. i went with 4″. then take your hood piece and draw in the seam allowance. now, take HALF the width you want your center hood piece to be and mark that out all along the top seam. re-add your SA, then cut away the excess.

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you will need to measure the seam line to determine how long to make the center piece. take that measurement and draw a corresponding rectangle that long and as wide as you previously measured, plus SA’s on either side (for my 4″ wide piece i added two 5/8″ SA’s making my piece 5.25″ wide). if you want to add some match points, measure around on the seam line of the hood and make incremental marks (i did them every 5″) then make corresponding marks on your center hood piece.

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a word of advice when sewing the rounded hood to the straight middle piece: remember that your seam lines are the same length at the seam line. meaning the edge of the seam allowance of the curvy piece will be longer than the edge of the straight piece. it took me a long time when i first got serious about sewing to really figure this out, so if you struggle with this sort of seam, you’re not alone! the edge of the curved piece will be rippled at the edge of the seam allowance because it is longer. i find it easiest to pin these pieces together while holding it and shaping it as i pin. generally i’m a light pin-er, but not when it comes to this type of curve.

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since i didn’t take pics while actually sewing this together, this obviously is my paper pattern.

then, when you go to sew this, have the straight piece down, and the curved piece on top. keep turning and adjusting your work so that you sew in the straight line of the rectangle piece instead of trying to sew in the curved line of the outside piece. that will probably only make sense when you’re sitting at the machine and actually sewing.

i decided to flat fell my hood seams for a nice profesh finish. i trimmed the SA of the middle piece then pressed the SA of the outer piece in half, folded it over and around the trimmed SA and stitched it down. now i do have a felling foot, but in all honesty i find it almost as easy to do by hand. plus, my SA here is wider than my foot technically accommodates for. then before hemming the outer edge of the hood, i added little buttonhole openings to allow for a drawstring, which i’ll make from self-bias tape later. if you do this, just make sure that the openings are far enough up to be above the zipper opening in the collar, an easily overlooked detail.

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like i said, i have most of the shell done except for all the pockets i’m adding. even though up to this point things have proceeded at a nice clip, i have to figure out and cut my extra pieces as i go, which slows me down considerably. i have the upper chest pocket done and i’m figuring out the main pockets. not 100% what direction i’ll be going there… i’ll be back once i have it all worked out!

—lisa g.

spring sewing plans

now that this madness is over i feel like we can all move on and focus on helping the many victims. it was pretty surreal seeing the news feeds, especially of the thursday through friday manhunt. glad that part, at last, is over. huge props to the law enforcement for doing their job so well. —lisa g.

spring finally decided to grace us with it’s presence, so i’m finally feeling inspired to get some seasonally-appropriate wear made! i started a skirt (and technically finished it) but i don’t like how the waist band is working out, so that’s on the back burner. i also have a pair of thurlow shorts finished and awaiting a photo-op, so today i’m talking about a lightweight jacket. it felt so good to grab the winter coat i made last fall whenever i walked out the door that i really feel it is worth my time to make a (moderately involved) jacket for spring.

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i’ve been looking online at anorak-style jackets and i really love all the details: drawstring waists, patch pockets, pull-out hoods, etc. the minoru is a perfect starting point to get the look i want without having to do any major pattern changes. but, i wouldn’t be me if i didn’t change anything, so here goes…

  • pockets! i want big deep patch pockets with flaps.
  • upper pockets…? the jury’s still out on that one. i’ve considered more patch pockets or even vertical welt pockets with a hidden zip, but that seems like a lot of extra work for pockets that would almost never actually be used.
  • drawstring waist: instead of the wide elastic called for, i will run some 1/4″ elastic and add drawstring cording and bring it out through grommets close to the CF zipper plackets.
  • i want to add a facing behind the zip to avoid clothing snags
  • cuffs: instead of the elastic cuffs, i plan to do a regular cuff and placket (probably bound, as opposed to tower) and add the little roll up your sleeve and button it thingies.
  • hood: i will do a 3-pc hood instead of the 2-pc. also, i want to add a drawstring.
  • lastly, i plan to drop the hem slightly in the back. not dramatically, not for any functional reason, but just cuz.

i’ve done my research, i know all the pattern quirks, i’ve thought this out extensively (it has literally kept me up at night), and i’m 99% sure i have all the deets worked out.

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i’m using the lighter colored side. probably… i keep changing my mind…

time to talk fabric! i agonized over fabric choices for weeks on end until i could buy my supplies (recent major car repairs set us back a few pennies…). initially i wanted a cotton nylon blend for water-repellent purposes, then i thought to just go with a twill, then i thought maybe a lightweight canvas would be nice… too many options, yet i couldn’t seem to find exactly what i wanted. when i finally went fabric shopping at an actual store (as opposed to online searching) i ended up picking fabric completely different than i had in mind. completely different. i found a medium weight rayon that may have a name, but i have no idea what that might be (feel free to chime in if you do). it has a subtle shine and one side is darker than the other. it has some texture and a wrinkly nature and just feels so luxe and awesome! i totally love it. i picked out a dusty rose colored bemberg lining, and pink zips with metal teeth.

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words cannot express how happy i was to pick out and order a zip online and have it be an exact match to my lining.

can’t wait to get moving on this jacket… it shall be awesome.

—lisa g.

this week

i usually have no shortage of things to say, but this week is different. i keep starting, stopping, deleting, rewriting…

if you don’t know, i live about 30 miles west of boston. our family has spent many afternoons wandering around that great city appreciating the history and the sights. we’ve only lived here for three and a half years, but we’ve settled here and we feel like this is exactly where we want to raise our family.

this is from a year ago, almost to the day

this is from a year ago, almost to the day, in boston, ma

we see these tragedies with all too much frequency and yes, it leaves a sense of helplessness and fear. while i can’t do anything on a grand scale, i can be kind to those around me. i can listen when someone has had a bad day. i can give the slow driver in front of me when i’m late taking my son to preschool the benefit of the doubt. i can think twice before yelling at my kids when i’m stressed. i can put my own frustrations into perspective and not let them ruin the good day someone else is having. i can set aside hatred and know that this… this world… is temporary.

—lisa g.

costume meets spring outfit

my daughter anastasia is performing in a school play this week and needed a costume. the play is called “Rats!” which is a musical about the pied piper of hamlin. the organizers gave very vague guidelines about what kind of outfit she needed…

“blouse and skirt. preferably knee-length.”

that’s a direct quote. uh, time period? country? color palate? anything??? so i quiz my daughter and her best offering was “before technology.” okay, so i went with a pretty generic outfit here and something that can get plenty of use outside of the play.

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i went to joanns for my fabrics and basically i’m never buying fabric there again. the more i shop other fabric stores (which i can’t get to as often because they’re just far enough away that it’s an inconvenience) the more i realize how over-priced joanns is. no wonder they always have stuff on sale and offer 40-50% off coupons continuously! so annoying. anywho… for the skirt i went with a linen-cotten blend fabric that i gathered onto a waistband (elasticized in the back) and lined with some leftover bemberg i had around. i added patch pockets to give it some detail. since the fabric was striped i cut the pockets curved and wide at the top so i could gather them onto a strip of binding. i love how the stripes fan out creating some visual interest without being all look this fabric has stripes so i made them go every direction possible! not that i’m opposed to such, but i wanted to keep it subtle.

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finding simple white fabric for the top was challenging though. i didn’t like any of the shirting fabrics, so i ended up with something out of the quilting section. it was reasonably priced and closest to the weight and feel i was looking for. i’m generally against quilting anything in the garments i make because the fabric doesn’t hold up to repeated washings that well, but i didn’t want to spent too much time or money looking for the right fabric! life goes on.

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the pattern i half-drafted myself. i only have one kids woven top pattern (mccalls 6388) that i made for her last fall. i like the neckline and thought it would look nice with a peter pan collar, so i took the yoke pieces to get the top started and drafted the rest. i extended the center front line so i could make a fold over placket for buttons. i drafted the collar and finished the inside with bias tape. i’ve never actually made a peter pan collar so i was worried it wouldn’t lay flat, but it seems to be doing just fine.

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i really like how the blouse turned out. it’s such a sweet useful top, and i was able to stitch most of it up in one afternoon. hopefully i get around to making this again because the girl could use a few more nice tops!

side note: i’ve recently become addicted to instagram, so if anyone is interested you can find me under lisagaskamp. while i like to snap pics of my sewing stuff (and would love a sewing-enthusiest audience!), my kiddos happen to be super adorable and show up regularly. don’t say i didn’t warn ya.

side, side note: i’ve tried to put the instagram button on my sidebar but it keeps showing all the code along with the button… while i’m not super tech savy i’ve never had that problem before… any ideas?

—lisa g.

thoughts about my blog switchover

since i’ve been blogging here at wordpress for a while now, i thought i would share my experience since several others mentioned wanting to do the same. first off, importing my posts from blogger was extremely easy and fast. while i haven’t gone and checked over every imported post, it seems as though they all came through okay. now, importing your posts to another blog does not mean they are deleted on the old site. so even though hitting the “import” button was a little scary, there was nothing irreversible happening. i wasn’t really sure how all that would work, i half-thought my old blog would self-destruct once i hit the import button (i’m a wee bit paranoid at times). had i realized it most definitely would not disappear into oblivion, i would have set up this site up a little more thoroughly before being all “hang on to your hats ladies, this blog is moving!” so, yeah.

what's a post without pics??? here's a poly chiffon-ish fabric i picked up on clearance and is destined to be a spring skirt. the color and print is a little different that what i usually buy, but since i picked it up for cheap i thought i'd give it a try!

what’s a post without pics??? here’s a poly chiffon-ish fabric i picked up on clearance and is destined to be a spring skirt. the color and print is a little different that what i usually buy, but since i picked it up for cheap i thought it was worth the risk.

the wordpress interface is pretty nice and i know there are many features i haven’t utilized or even discovered yet. there is a decent amount of instructive info over here if you take the time to read through it; learning more is definitely on my “to do” list. probably my favorite WP feature is the handy little notification thing in the bar up top to alert me to comments left on my posts (plus the quick reply option which i LOVE!), as well as replies to comments i have left on other WP blogs. in fact, that is a huge downfall to blogger IMO. i do reply to many comments, but unless you remember to come back to my post, you’ll never know! over here, i’m much more apt to respond simply because it’s more likely the person i’m responding to will actually see my response. i have learned which non-WP blog writers tend to reply to comments and i make a mental note to check back later, or flip back when they post again. however, we all follow so many blogs, who is really going to bother thinking about all that unless it’s really important? seriously blogger, get your act together on that one!

over here, pics are easy to add, and right now i can add them direct from my computer to my post without having to upload them to another platform. i imagine i’ll run out of space at some point and will either have to start paying (the horror!) or using another photo service. what do you WP people do in that regard? just curious! also, i don’t have the weird re-sizing and formatting issues i always had on blogger. a small thing, but having little annoyances like that out of the way is pretty awesome.

another joanns clearance find... some cotton shirting. i have two yards of it, but it's fairly narrow. not sure who gets it yet, but i think i could squeeze two tops out of it for the kiddos, or a short sleeve button up for the hubs. thinking, thinking..

another clearance find… some cotton shirting. i have two yards of it, but it’s fairly narrow. not sure who gets it yet, but i think i could squeeze two tops out of it for the kiddos, or a short sleeve button up for the hubs. thinking, thinking..

obviously moving my blog gave me a huge hit in readership, especially at first. i posted “hey i’m over here” links throughout the old blog so hopefully everyone will eventually get the memo. after almost a month, my numbers have rebounded to near pre-switch levels and, it’s not that i’m a stat junkie, it’s just nice to know that i’m not shouting into an empty room. which brings me to my next point—

how do you like to get updates? i have been using bloglovin’ as my reader, and while it’s not perfect, it does get the job done. i tried feedly but got annoyed with it after about five minutes. at this point i don’t use twitter or have a blog facebook page, but i’m not opposed to setting those up if, in fact, that is what ya’ll use to get updates. give me a shout out in the comments and let me know!

overall, the whole switch has gone well and i am super happy i finally took the plunge. no regrets. if you are thinking of doing the same, get off your bum and just switch already! any other questions or glaringly obvious topics i’ve totally missed? lemme know!

—lisa g.