Is there anything more satisfying then conquering a new sewing challenge? I don’t know about you, but when I tackle a project that involves techniques or fabrics that I have never used before, I feel such an amazing sense of accomplishment when I finish! This is one (of many) reasons why I love Closet Case Patterns. Their patterns challenge avid sewists like myself to question what we consider possible when it comes to home sewing. Jeans? Swimwear? Coats? Jackets? It’s all within reach when you really push yourself. I feel I cannot express in words how much I love my Kelly Anorak, but I will try.
As soon as this pattern dropped I was completely smitten. I’m not the only one because I have seen many fantastic versions so far. I live in a climate where layering is essential, which is one of the reasons why this pattern really appealed to me. It is unlined, so it makes a great top layer and comfortably fits a sweater underneath without being too warm. This casual style goes with my everyday wardrobe and also feels very stylish without being stuffy.
I squeeeeezed this jacket out of 3 yards of 45” wide fabric, with literally none left in case of an error. It was the end of the bolt at Metro Textiles in New York and it was the exact colour and weight I wanted so I decided it was worth the risk. The fabric is a medium weight cotton and silk blend with a crisp feel. In some lights, the silk has a bit of sheen and gives this make a unique look. It also holds its shape well, which helps the pockets stay structured. The gusseted pockets were another first for me, and they are absolutely delightful for putting all my things (and my hands!) in.
I made a quick muslin of the Kelly – just the front, back, and sleeves to check the fit. I needed a bit more room in the back, so I did a broad back adjustment using a simple method outlined below. What a difference! I am going to start doing this on all my projects, because it makes the garment more comfortable overall. I have much more room to move my arms around, particularly forward. Previously, I would not be able to do this without hiking up the jacket or at least not without fabric cutting uncomfortably into my arms. As you can see, I can get my arms all the way forward now and there is still a little pulling at the back of the armscye, so I am glad I made the adjustment. This method of BBA is simple, so if you are like me and experience discomfort when moving your arms, you should try one!
Using this method, you simply cut around the lower edge of the armscye and move it outward. I cut right along the printed lines because they were more or less in the right place. Then, use paper to fill in the gaps and true up the pattern lines. It is not recommended to add more than 3/4″ of an inch using this method. The nice thing is, you don’t have to change the sleeve or front of the pattern when doing it this way, but don’t forget to change your back yoke to match if making the Kelly!
Overall, I think the fit of the Kelly is spot on. I like that you can place the drawstring wherever it looks good on you, and it is easy to shorten and lengthen the pattern to adjust for height. I am 5’10, and I didn’t lengthen the pattern at all. Mostly this was due to my lack of extra fabric, but I actually really like the length as is. For a raincoat, I may want it longer, but for this version, I am very happy 🙂
Of course, every first time sewing project has its issues, right? I made a little mistake on my front placket because I did not read the instructions fully (doh!) and sewed BOTH ends of my placket closed before turning it out, rather than just the bottom end. I could not for the life of me figure out where I went wrong and why my placket was too short. Finally when the hood went on I had an ‘oooooohhhhhhh’ moment and realized that the top of the placket didn’t need to be finished because it is intended to be enclosed in the hood. Below is a picture, so you can see how it is a bit short. Thankfully, unless you are down at crotch level, you won’t notice, so It’s all good 🙂
If you need a little help finding all the little pieces for this jacket, you can buy hardware kits from Closet Case Files or a raincoat specific version from Thread Theory. I sourced my own but got essentially the same things. You need snaps, toggles, a zipper, and grommets (optional). This was my first experience installing snaps and it was really fun! I’m sure my neighbors were wondering what the heck I was doing because it was so loud. It wasn’t too challenging, but I did run to the hardware store to grab an awl after my first few snaps. Cutting through the layers of fabric and making a nice hole was just too much work. The awl makes it super easy, so it was worth the $10.
I opted for a custom binding on the hem and the neck, and included a little hanging loop made from the binding as well. I love hanging loops, don’t you? I sewed this loop securely to the neck before putting on the binding, so it is nice and stable. Next time, I think using the same binding fabric for the drawstring casing would be a nice touch.
If you take your time, all the seams in the Kelly anorak can be hidden away, so the lack of lining doesn’t mean messy insides. I used flat felled seams throughout my make, with the exception of the armholes. I didn’t want any topstitching showing from the outside here, so I serged the arm holes with matching serger thread.
There are two views of the Kelly, one with a hood and one with a collar. I went for the hood version because I love the way a hood looks when it is down. I’m not a big hood wearer, but I still like the aesthetics of a good hood from the back.
Well, that is my Kelly Anorak rundown! I love love LOVE this make so much, and I definitely see another Kelly in my future…perhaps a raincoat version? As far as conquering new sewing skills, this make included my first gusseted pocket, my first snaps, and my first time constructing a placket using this method. Talk about leveling up!
Sew Forth & Conquer, people!
Join the newsletter
Subscribe to get updates from Helen's Closet!