Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pink Twill Kelly Anorak

If you follow me on Instagram you may be wondering what happened to this jacket, if I had set it on fire the way I had threatened many times. I did not destroy it, despite many problems during construction I did finish it, just before I went on vacation.

I had hoped to take some stunning photos with it at Niagara Falls (you can see it was a part of my capsule wardrobe) was too hot! I had expected at least one day of rainy weather, but we were blessed with sunshine and warm temps the whole time. But this past week we were finally hit with some rain at home, so I was able to give it a proper test run.

In case you didn't know, this is the Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns. It is an unlined jacket featuring bellows patch pockets, snap and zipper closure, cuffs with snaps, and an optional hood. Waistline elastic with a drawstring is also optional. I went with the hood, and added elastic only on the back of the jacket. I hate drawstrings so I left that off.

Sizing is from 0-20. I always get intimidated by jacket patterns that include such a wide range. Often, shopping for RTW jackets is as "simple" as choosing Small, Medium, or Large, so to me, it feels weird to break the sizing down into such narrow increments. My whole life, I've been a small, but my measurements (34-29-38) put me at a 6-10-10 (clearly a medium, right?). After a (delusional) muslin of a straight 6, I ended up cutting a 6 for the sleeves, bust, and length, but grading out to a 10 in the hips. Sizing is pretty spot on, if you follow the chart and get over any hang ups about what the numbers "mean".

The fabric I chose is cotton twill from Organic Cotton Plus (sent to me for free in exchange for a review, affiliate link). I used another color way previously to make a Victoria Blazer, so I knew the quality would be amazing. I was not disappointed, of all the issues I had the fabric was never a problem. It behaved beautifully. I've even used the scraps from before to line my Portside Duffle. This is a versatile fabric that would also work great for pants. The pink is a bit see-through, in that I can see my dark clothing through it, but it's not like I'd use twill for a shirt anyway! Just keep that in mind if it's something that might bother you.

So what were the problems you ask?
  • The yardage requirement for the interfacing is incorrect (too little)
  • There was also no width given for the interfacing requirements
  • The cut diagram for the interfacing is incorrect
  • The zipper facings are drafted super wide and flap around when completed
  • In the directions and online tutorial for the zipper, the pull is on the right-hand size of the zipper (when looking at it while it is facing up). My zipper, purchased from a supplier on Amazon, has the zipper pull on the opposite side. I'm not the first blogger to say she had trouble with this step, and in my case it meant I ended up completely unpicking topstitching and the facing on one side of my zipper because I put it in backwards.
  • The placket piece was drafted too short and did not match the bodice
  • The amount of snaps needed is incorrect (pattern says 12, the jackets on the models have 14, I used 13)

Aside from all these problems with the pattern itself, stupid little things kept happening. I waited two weeks for a zipper from Pacific Trimming, which ended up being out of stock, yet nobody called to tell me so. I had to contact the store, was treated very poorly, and left with no option other than canceling the order. I ordered a new zipper from ZipperStop via Amazon and was sent the wrong size (they, however, responded quickly to my issue and sent me a new one ASAP). I started off with Coats & Clark thread because it saved me a trip to Jo-Ann's, but the thread sucked and caused me to need to recut a piece. My denim needle didn't work well and I ended up needing a topstitching one for all construction. I didn't have enough interfacing (see above) and used some older stuff I had on hand, which wasn't ideal. I finished my first bellows pocket and immediately got black ink on it.

Given all of the above, this was a super tough sew for me. Sewing is supposed to be fun. I'm not saying it has to be easy, but when you pay $20+ for a pattern you expect that it will not waste your time. Honestly, I can't recommend this pattern, and I'm pretty put off from anything else from Closet Case Patterns. I previously had a rough go of it with the Bombshell Swimsuit and I just don't feel like dealing with these designs any longer.

PHEW. With that off my are the rest of the details. I finished as many seams as possible with flat-felled seams. In some places, I used bias tape to finish instead, and I used the same finish on the hem.

I love the way the bright pink pops along the hood seams. I also added a bias tape loop for hanging.

The snaps are 12mm "spring button snaps" in silver, to match the zipper. To set the snaps, I also ordered a snap setter kit. CCP has a tutorial on her blog. I've worked with a large variety of snaps, and different methods for setting, and these were by far some of the easiest. I still needed to be precise and careful, and setting 13 pairs of snaps was very time-consuming, but I'd rather work with these again over, say, sewing them in by hand! The one thing that would have made it easier is a fabric punch. I had to use an awl and it wasn't making large enough holes for inserting the snap prongs.

My husband poked fun at me for making a jacket in May/June rather than earlier in the spring, but it was actually a good thing. I finished it, set it aside, and tried to forget all our troubles together. I don't have any jackets like this in my closet and I know I'll wear it a lot. It worked well in the rain and the hood was nice and roomy. There is a small chance I would make another one, but let's be honest, "oh pretty!" will strike at some point with another pattern.

One last note...I did purchase some Otter Wax to use with this jacket, but it will be getting its own post later!


  1. Even with all the difficulties, it looks fabulous. I love the bias binding inside, such a smart finish.

  2. Great honest review of the pattern as usual. I think you did an excellent job getting along with those problems and solve them. And the result is very good looking. I like it so much, I would try that too, if I were able to sew such difficult patterns yet :-)

  3. I agree with the above comment ... your finished jacket does look fabulous! Good on you for persevering and coming out the other side with a great result. Thank you for your honest thoughts on the pattern and the reasons why. Much appreciated, especially since so many Indies seem to get a special pass and it's hard to know the truth.

    1. I think it's easy to place all the blame on oneself rather than the pattern (and to be sure, I'm not a perfect sewist!). But when I realized that not even the amount of snaps was correct, that did make me question everything else!

  4. I'm glad you were able to make it work! If you don't have the Minoru it is such a fabulous pattern. Just goes together extremely well. Of course Tasia gets an F for no exterior pockets on a jacket but still...those are easy to add.

    I do think it looks good on you, but boy does it sound like it gave you some headaches.

    1. I debated between this and the Minoru, I've certainly had better experiences with Sewaholic patterns. Tasia is sorely missed!

  5. Thank you for the thoughtful review, very helpful.
    Your jacket looks great, I hope you wear it.

  6. I appreciate your candour in this review. Such a shame that you had to expend a lot of time and energy on a pattern that wasn't worth your effort. It does look fantastic, if that's any consolation!

    1. Thank you, that does make me feel better! There are some wonky areas but they won't prevent me from wearing it, I am happy with the final product.

  7. Thanks for writing your experience of this jacket. I've cut my version our and now I"m about to recheck the pattern pieces...

  8. I'm working on this jacket right now and I've also been frustrated by many steps of the process (although it is turning out alright). I completely agree that a premium pattern like this should have significantly better instructions. For this price, I expect a diagram with each step and much more importantly, CORRECT diagrams. I am using the lining expansion and have had to unpick many steps because things were not clear at all. Hopefully I'll get around to doing a blog post on my issues because some were different from yours and people deserve to know!

    1. I'm sorry you're having trouble too! I was using a printed pattern, I had hoped that perhaps the expansion would have corrected anything amiss. And honestly, a lining option should be included without an extra cost. Hood vs. collar is not enough for two different views. The pattern piece for the drawstring is a rectangle, that can barely be counted as a different view either. It's her business, her patterns, she can do whatever she wants...but that doesn't mean I have to buy them!

  9. Thanks for posting this review...Im cutting out the pattern now and am noting your issues. I seem to always get sucked into buying expensive indie patterns and am almost always disappointed by the errors! Good job for persevering and look forward to your post on the otter wax...;)

  10. I wish I’d read this review before buying this pattern and the lining expansion. I actually bought it and fabric in 2019 but am only getting to it now. The instructions are so frustrating, I shouldn’t have to go to the Closet Core Blog to read the sewalong to get a slightly better idea of what they mean. 😔 I also find the zipper facings to be far too wide. I experienced this with their ginger jeans too. I have a similar feeling as you about Closet Core. I’m looking forward to perusing your blog to see if other opinions line up. Thanks for the honesty!


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