I need a new rain jacket this autumn, because my old one no longer fits and I handed it down to my daughter. I was looking for a waterproof, breatheable jacket that was casual enough for hiking and dog walking, without velcro, that was lined. Do you think such a thing exists? I tried everywhere, and had two major problems… #1, I was looking for a style of jacket that is available in the spring, but not the autumn. Everyone had plenty of winter jackets, with removeable down or fleece liners, which made them much more expensive… I already have warm underlayers to wear with my jacket, so there’s no point in spending an extra $200 to get something I already have. #2, in order to get a jacket that fit me in the bust, it was too big everywhere else. When you added my requirements for lining (I don’t like the unlined jackets because they stick to your skin when you perspire), no velcro, and a colour that I like, I pretty much had zero options. After much frustrated shopping, I decided that the best course of action was to sew my own. Full disclosure, I’ve sewn outerwear before, but never with water resistant or waterproof fabric. I’m sure I’ll be relying heavily on this post on the Sewaholic blog, regarding sewing waterproof outerwear.
The first thing I did was choose a pattern. I decided to sew the Sewaholic Minoru, because the yoke gathers would make doing my full bust adjustment easy, since I wouldn’t have to add darts to the pattern (which would have led to more seam sealing). I also really liked the style of the jacket – it’s casual enough for walking the dog and even hiking, but still very flattering.
Once I decided on a pattern, I determined what modifications I’d make for my Minoru. First of all, I wanted to stay dry on wet days, so I had to buy waterproof breatheable fabric and seam sealing tape. I also wanted to be safe when I walk the dog in the dark, so I bought some reflective piping. The jacket doesn’t have any external pockets, so I will have to add some. I found this tutorial for adding side seam pockets to the jacket, but I really wanted zippered placket pockets, so that I don’t have to worry about losing things while walking the dog. I want to stay dry, but don’t want to spend a fortune on zippers, so I’m making my jacket with a flap over the zip. I could put the flap on the inside, since that should be sufficient in case of zipper leakage, but I may put it on the outside to cover the zipper. If I do, I’ll be using large buttons. I could use snaps, but I don’t always like the end result, and I’m unable to get more fabric if the snaps make a mess of things.
The next step was fabric, which was surprisingly difficult to find. I had to make things harder on myself, of course, because I really didn’t want a plain fabric. For whatever reason, the fabric absolutely had to have some kind of a pattern to it. After much searching, I discovered that Peak Fabrics had the best selection of patterned waterproof fabrics, and even their selection is limited. Other online retailers had camo fabric, but I am not a fan of camo! I bought some really nice chocolate brown and black textured fabric (I bought the last of it, so I can’t make mistakes), seam tape, and reflective piping from them. Their customer service was excellent, and I highly recommend contacting them if you are looking for performance fabrics. I bought Bemberg lining at Fabricland, at 50% off.
Today, I assembled my pattern, and will be doing my FBA. I will probably also have to add some extra to the upper sleeves, as I find that Sewaholic patterns are a bit snug in the upper arm on me. I plan to make my jacket a little on the loose side, so that I can put a warm layer underneath, rather than having a separate winter jacket. I also need to look into how and where to add the pockets. This looks like a useful resource.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to finish my jacket until later next week, because I need to make a trip to Dressew for zippers and wide elastic, but I should be able to make good progress over the weekend. Because I don’t have enough fabric to make any mistakes, I’ll be sewing up a muslin tomorrow, to confirm fit and pocket placement. Once I’m satisfied with my muslin, I’ll start sewing the actual jacket.