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The Wiksten Haori Jacket

I've had my eye on the Wiksten Haori jacket for such a long time. I began following the hashtag on Instagram months ago, gathering inspiration and trying to figure out the perfect fabric to use to create my own. As the end of 2018 loomed closer, the Haori jacket became a high priority garment when I started to think about what I wanted to focus on sewing in 2019. Then, I came across this beautiful Wool Fabric from Minerva, and I decided why wait for 2019?

Although I do intend to make a more jacket-y version in the future, I'd also been dreaming about a thick, cozy coat version of the Haori, and this wool was perfect for what I had in mind. After finding my fabric, I immediately took to Instagram to get a little help from the awesome online sewing community. I had never sewn with wool before, and I wanted to make sure I did right by this fabric to create a coat that would last! My first question was how to pretreat the fabric. Dry clean only is recommended for cleaning, but I wasn't sure how I might go about pretreating a dry clean fabric… or if I even needed to! I got so much interesting feedback! One common recommendation was to take the full uncut yardage to the dry cleaner before cutting into it. The most popular recommendation, though, was to throw the yardage into the dryer with a damp towel. The idea here is that the steam will help to encourage a slight amount of shrinkage, to prevent any in the future. I went with this option, and so far everything seems great, though I admit i have had no reason to need to wash, spot clean, or dry clean it just yet.

My next task was to choose the proper needle for the the project. Despite some pretty serious googling, I couldn't seem to find a good answer for this. So, back to Instagram stories I went! The two overwhelming suggestions were to use a denim needle or a microtex needle - essentially something sturdy, to keep the machine from skipping stitches. I considered a trip to JoAnn for microtex needles, but as I already had denim needles in my stash, I decided to try that option first. I had no issues at all! I didn't notice any skipped stitches, and my machine never seemed to be struggling to get through the material, even when the collar pieces met the back neck, creating 6 overlapping layers of wool due to seam allowances!

Speaking of the collar and center back / neck meeting point… I did actually run into a little unexpected trouble here. I used my normal machine foot for the majority of the project, but switched to my edge stitching foot when attaching the pockets and collar to keep things clean and neat. That area with 6 layers of wool that I mentioned before may not have posed a challenge to my denim needle, but it did put up a fight with my edge stitching foot due to the thick layers of fabric becoming too tall to easily pass under the foot. The fabric won that battle, and I'm adding a new edge stitching foot to my online cart as soon as I finish typing up this post!

I lined my jacket with some Kona cotton that I had in my stash. The red matched the plaid perfectly, and I love the bright pop of color whenever the lining peeks through! When I cut the pieces of fabric for the pattern, the cutting layout instructs to cut the collar pieces, both upper and under, from the lining fabric. (Side note - I recognize that there are multiple versions of this pattern in existence, and that this may or may not be the suggested layout for all versions. The pattern I used was the .pdf version purchased directly from the Shop Wiksten website). I followed the instructions here, but when I began to construct my jacket, I realized that I didn’t like the way the cotton lining was going to look as the collar pieces against the thick wool plaid. I think if I’d been using two fabrics more similar in weight, it would look great to have the lining highlighted in the collar, but due to the difference in fabrics I really preferred to continue on with the main plaid fabric on the collar. Unfortunately, I hadn’t accounted for the collar pieces when I ordered my wool fabric, and I almost didn’t have enough!

My original idea was to have the upper collar pieces cut on the bias of the wool, to add some visual detail (and to prevent me from trying to pattern match the collar to the fronts!). In the end, I had enough wool to cut both the upper and under collar pieces, but only on the grainline - not on the bias. Furthermore, I had enough fabric to plaid match both of the upper collar pieces and both of the under collar pieces to each other, but not enough to match the collars to the rest of the jacket! Completely by happenstance, the upper collar and front pieces are a great match, though!! Luckily for me, this all worked out quite well and made for a nice looking jacket… But this is something to keep in mind when choosing your fabrics! I’ll be glad I know this in the future, in case I want to do anything differently.

To be entirely honest, I had really high hopes for this pattern, which made me feel fairly certain that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. It has really held up, though! From the interesting construction methods, to the well explained instructions, to the finished garment itself, I continue to be impressed. My measurements put me between the size XS and S. I had heard that the pattern runs a little bit large, so I considered sizing down to the XS, but since I'd chosen a pretty structured fabric without much drape, I went ahead and sewed up the size small. I chose the mid length option, since I wanted something long enough to actually use as a coat, but not so long that it would overwhelm me! In the end, I'm super happy with both my size and length choices. My favorite feature of the pattern though? Pockets that are big enough to hold my entire clutch when going out, or my book when I'm staying in and cozying up on the couch!

This won't be my last Wiksten Haori jacket - I would love a lightweight, drapier version for spring - but I couldn't be happier with how this first version went. Especially considering I didn't take the time to muslin! In my experience, winter seems to hit hardest here in North Texas at the end of January or early February, so I'm excited to have a coat I love when it kicks in… it's almost 60°F outside as I write this in mid January! In the meantime, it worked wonderfully for some snowy days in Taos earlier this month!

If you're considering making a thick, structured, coat style Wiksten Haori, I'd absolutely recommend it! There are so many beautiful wools in the Minerva Crafts shop… if you're not looking to be my twin, here's a few of my other favorites!

Reversible Spots Fabric

Animal Print Wool Fabric

Wool Blend Check Fabric

Lady McElroy Wool Fabric

Happy making!

XX Elizabeth @pinsandpinot

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