I am not going to be rushing to work with minky fleece again but the jacket has actually turned out quite well. It is cosy, which is good as it’s just been snowing in Scotland. The fabric does not fray but it does moult at newly cut edges. This stops with a few swipes of a lint roller, though I did get through about six of them.
I made up a muslin in cotton, which was not ideal but did give me an idea about general fit and any pattern-drafting mistakes I might have made. I was very tempted to put a bust dart in but I am glad I didn’t because the thickness of the fleece seems to ‘absorb’ the excess fabric. A dart would have made it too tight. Making a muslin is essential if you’re lifting a pattern from a garment because, as well as checking the fit, you have to work out the construction sequence. The pocket binding had to go onto the front piece first, then the pocket was stitched to the wrong side of the front piece, then it was sewn to the side panel.
I struggled with the collar as the first attempt stuck out at the front. It took four drafts to get it right. I made the collar sit closer to the neck than in the original garment and also made it narrower.
I tested various stitches for the minky fleece as I don’t have an overlock machine. I finally settled on two rows of 3mm straight stitiches, 1 cm apart, with the top tension down to 1. For the turn-ups at the hem, collar, cuffs and centre fronts, I used a zigzag right along the raw edges. The 1cm fold back along the centre front was especially tricky because I knew I was going to have to stitch-in-the-ditch to insert the zip. I think I held my breath for each seam. I also covered the collar seam with herringbone tape. This is common in shop-bought garments. It holds the seam down and stops it irritating the skin on the back of the neck.
So here it is. I hope it is sturdy as it will be worn a lot. I’m wearing it as I type this post. It’s certainly a big improvement on the old one.
Here are the pattern pieces, adjusted to my own size. I transferred these onto A4 graph paper as a storage solution. I don’t have room for too many life-size card blocks.
This project has taken ten days, although the construction of the garment itself only took four (about 15 hours). The final cost was £14.97, though I think I could have found minky fleece for less than £7.99 per metre.