rachagainstthesewingmachine

a blog about my adventures in dressmaking, crochet, knitting and anything else i try to make.

my kelly anorak

hey everyone!

i can’t quite believe i’m writing this… i made a coat!  i’m so pleased!  i feel this needs a pre-warning, this post contains a lot of words and a lot of pictures!  there also may be some chalk residue left near my poppers too haha.

this is the kelly anorak from closet case patterns.

the pattern was released ages ago, and i loved it when i first saw it.  i love a casual jacket, because i am all about casual.  i went through a “shall i buy it?  no i can’t make a coat!” phase for about a year, until about 2 months ago when i just decided i was going to do it.

i was going to buy a cotton drill and make a light weight one, and was fully prepared to do that until lauren from guthrie and ghani posted a picture on instagram about some softshell fabric they’d had in.  it’s showerproof, and has a fleecy back!  i bought this navy, but it’s out of stock at the moment.

i skipped off to G&G and bought my fabric.

this project turned out to be way more expensive than i thought it would be because of the fabric coming in at £16 per metre.  kiiiiinda eye watering for me if i’m honest, but i convinced myself that buying an outer fabric and then an underlining fabric probably wouldn’t have added up to much less when it was all combined.

with all my hardware, zip and pattern, i think i spent about £90 on this coat.  that is half of my spending money for the entire month, so a huge investment for me.

i decided to trace the pattern because i bought the paper pattern.  if it was a PDF i would have just cut straight into it because i can just print it again.  tracing the pattern took me almost 3 hours, which absolutely justifies why i never usually do it, haha.  i then probably spent 2 hours cutting my fabric out and transferring the markings.

the fabric was really nice to sew with, i was really worried that unpicking stitches would leave permanent damage to the fabric.  it’s actually quite forgiving, especially when you rub the line where your stitches used to be to redistribute things.

i found i absolutely had to use a ballpoint needle to sew this, which i find interesting because lauren did a vlog about making her daughter a coat in the same fabric and she had no problem at all with a normal needle.  who knows eh!  test test test on those scraps.

i ummed and aahhhed about the size, but ended up cutting a straight size 14.  normally i grade between a smaller size for my top, then out to a larger size for my waist and hips.  however, i want to be able to wear a jumper underneath this so i didn’t mind the extra room at the top.    i had read the sleeves could be a bit narrow so the bigger size was welcome there too.  i didn’t know what i would do with the back yoke and the two part sleeves etc.  i’m glad i just stuck to one size.  i didn’t make a toile, through laziness really.  i know, ridiculous when i spent so much money on the fabric, haha.  i didn’t lengthen or shorten any pieces and i’m really pleased with the length of the body.  the sleeves might be a little long, but nothing worth unpicking anything over!

the instructions have you start with constructing the pockets and it was at that point that i knew this fabric was probably a bit too thick for this pattern.  if the pocket construction didn’t give me that vibe, then sewing through the 5 layers of the coat, zipper facing and whatever else was at the front, certainly did.  my machine isn’t basic by any standards, but it was having trouble with 5 layer of such spongey fabric, it was skipping stitches on all the chunky bits, which impeded and completely obstructed my top stitching in some places.

i really needed the photo tutorial on the closet case patterns blog for the pockets, and for the zip construction.  i’ve linked them there in case you need them too.  now i’ve made the jacket, i’m happy i could do those bits again with just the written instructions, but there’s always those first time nerves and i really wanted my hand holding so i didn’t ruin anything!  i unpicked my pockets a couple of times to make sure my top stitching was as perfect as i could get it.

while the thickness of the fabric was hard to work with, i managed to turn the points and line things up in most places.  however, the cuffs are where i feel like i’ve let myself down a bit.  i couldn’t top stitch along the cuff/arm join because there were far too many layers there, even after grading my seams and my points seem to curve out a bit.  i guess there’s always something on a project i’m a bit unhappy with, and the cuffs are that for me on this particular make.

to compensate for the thickness of the fabric, i did a couple of things differently.  where the instructions said to turn under 1/4 inch press and fold under 1/4 inch again, i just overlocked the first 1/4″ off, and then pressed under once to reduce bulk.

when it came to the drawstring channel, i just overlocked it and sewed those edges down.  i didn’t want extra waist-bulk.

i pressed all my seams open, and top stitched them to keep them in place.  i think this looks especially nice on the hood!   i had to hand stitch the hood facing down as it kept peeping out, but that was the only bit of hand stitching on the whole project.  in this picture you can really see my “invisible” hand stitching bits, it doesn’t look like that in real life!  i’ll blame the lighting and move on.

i’ve found the size of the hood to be perfect, it goes over my extra large head just fine haha.  i do wear my hair up a lot so maybe i’ll feel differently after that.

i’m really glad that i tried on my jacket before i put my drawstring in – my waist was at least 2 inches higher than the pattern suggested, haha!  mind you, i read that the jacket was drafted for someone much taller than i am (i’m 5’4″) so i’m not surprised by that adjustment.  i put my drawstring in before i sewed the channel shut so i didn’t have to faff around feeding it through everything.

i spent a lot of time measuring where it should go and making sure i was going to get everything lined up perfectly first time.

i don’t know why i’m calling it my drawstring, it’s actually some pretty thick black elastic that i got from the rag market.  i got my toggles from ebay which are a bit shiny for my liking, i might replace them with some duller ones if they really bother me.

i like it gathered and ungathered which is unusual for me, normally i like the loose silhouette.   i was anticipating the drawstring to be a nice design feature, but i think i will end up using it!

an actual design feature that i really like is the back yoke, it’s enough to keep the back interesting as the front has got a lot going on with all the hardware.

it looks a big clingy over my bum here but i think my jumper had gathered up, gah.  it fits really really well and i like the amount of ease all over.

one of my favourite things about making this was james’s in put, haha!  i was mithering over what to do with the ends of my elastic, as it was too thick to knot.  i knew i wanted something to put on the ends, but i had no idea what the bits i needed were called.  he said “try googling aglets!”.  well he was bloody right and they were what i needed!  two days later, they were attached to my coat.

i took my time with making it, and did it over the course of three weekends, one of which was the bank holiday.  i think i would estimate i spent maybe 30 hours in total making it when you take into account the tracing of the pattern.

the only thing out of making the whole jacket that really irritated me was installing the poppers, mainly because my pliers kept popping the attachments out.  WHY, PRYM, WHY?!   after chasing them around the floor more times than i care to remember, i’m now very happy with the way they look and i’m glad i went for silver instead of brass which i was considering.

now i’ve finished making it, i can’t quite believe that i have managed it!

i really love the coat and couldn’t be happier with it.  okay, my cuffs would make me happier if they were a bit straighter, but that’s only a minor drop in the great coat ocean.

i’m half cuddling the coat here because i love it so much haha.

i feel like i need at least two more, but next time they will definitely be in a lighter weight fabric.  a red one and a mustard one, in case anyone is wondering, haha.

what is it that you’ve made that’s blown your mind?

i’ve got another coat pattern that i might be tempted to make later in the year, a wool cocoon coat from vogue…. now i’ve done this one i feel like i can do anything!

happy sewing, pals!

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“my kelly anorak”

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