Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Excessively Wordy Kelly Anorak Review

Why not keep up my momentum with really long posts about Closet Case Patterns patterns? (Say that three times fast.) And did I mention it's olive AGAIN?

Kelly Anorak. Whoompf. Where to start (here, actually). I made this once before. The fabric was free as a guest blogger for Organic Cotton Plus, so I *had* to finish it. It definitely would have become a bonfire, otherwise. There were so many issues with the instructions and the pattern pieces, which I wrote about extensively in my previous review. I did. not. want. to. make. another. But then this fabric appeared. This beautiful, squishy, unique, special fabric. Soft shell nylon coating with a fleece backing, in MANY colorways. SWOON. It demanded to become an unlined jacket.

I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to return to a pattern that, quite frankly, I hated. Anorak patterns are few and far between, and indies are $$, and isn't it stupid to buy another pattern when I had one that was suitable? Especially when I knew the fit was perfect? Fine universe. I will make another Kelly.

I went with the same size as before, a 6 in the bust graded to a 10 in the hips. No matter how much hate I dump on CCP, their size chart fits me better than most. I'm 5'4" and did not make any length adjustments (it's drafted for 5'6").

This time, I was determined to personalize the pattern more. I hate patterns that can't be tweaked to be unique. I modified the back to be longer/rounded. I also drafted patch pockets with flaps instead of using the provided bellows pockets. Does it still look like a Kelly? Nah. But that only matters on Instagram, which isn't real life, so it's cool.

For help sewing this fabric, I am greatly indebted to Michelle at Style Maker Fabrics, who made the same pattern with the same fabric (so did @angela_butler7 on IG). I used a topstitching needle for everything, mostly because it was already on my machine and the test stitches I did looked great. I used a combination of flat-felled seams, faux flat-felled seams, and seams that were pressed open and topstitched on both sides. The thicker areas of topstitching were made using a triple stitch, some areas were done with a regular stitch. I kind of just went with the flow and my gut. I also used bias tape finishing on raw edges, which I loved in my first version. I omitted the drawstring. My machine (Brother PC-420) handled the bulk well, but I bet my beginner machine would not have.

Can you spy the snap that popped off? Sigh.

This fabric was not fond of being pressed. I kept my heat on low and used a press cloth with lots of water, and a clapper. It was good enough in most places but my flat-felled seams would have looked better if the fabric wasn't so spongy.

The only downside to this fabric was that it left visible holes any time I ripped out stitches. Particularly triple stitches (duh). So there are some areas with ~decorative~ other words, it got wonky, and rather than rip it out, I tried to make it look purposeful (the hood in particular). So, y'know, no pressure, but if you want to use this fabric you can't make any mistakes.

Happily, making this pattern a second time was much easier. I wouldn't say I skimmed the instructions, but this time they actually made sense. I did refer to my finished jacket several times to refresh my memory. The sewalong on the website is 100% necessary for the placket. You should also read it for the sleeve cuffs, because it basically admits that they f*ed around with the seam allowances because reasons.

Now that I've sewn two of these, I do have some tips for successfully dealing with this pattern:

1. Cut extra length on the placket pieces (J, K, L, M) they are drafted short
2. Use a walking foot for all the vertical seams on the placket
3. Baste the zipper with a walking foot
4. You need more interfacing than the pattern states (I used none for this jacket however)
5. The zipper pull in the directions is on the opposite side of every zipper made ever
6. Buy extra snaps
7. Buy LOTS of thread
8. The wrong side of the fabric will show when you make the cuff placket

My snaps were purchased from Stecks Store via Amazon. They are spring snaps, the same as the ones on my first Kelly. I like them, but I do have a hard time getting them set properly so that they close well. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. One male side came off while I was taking photos and I'm out of pieces, so I'll either need to order more or use silver pieces left over from my other coat. The zipper, which is miraculously the perfect exact shade of olive, is from ZipperStop via Amazon (also where I got my previous zipper).

Once I decided on the changes to the pockets and the hem, and realized I didn't need interfacing, I was excited about this project. My first Kelly was kind of ruined by Otter Wax and I rarely wear it, unless I'm just stomping around my own yard. I desperately needed a rain coat and this one turned out just so gorgeous.

The fleece is super comfortable, although it's not necessarily any warmer than any other unlined jacket (it did not keep me warm during these photos, when it was in the 30s). Going into spring, I'm excited to have this jacket in my wardrobe.

Summary: if you haven't bought this pattern yet, don't. Especially since you have to pay extra for lining pattern pieces. If you have unfortunately already bought it, you CAN make a great jacket, but it will take a bit of effort. Do your research, your blog reading, and be prepared to flex your patience muscles.


  1. After debacles (har, har) with the Nettie and the Clare I've sworn off anything for the upper body from CCF. I was straight up offended by the drafts on those patterns. I too want an anorak but I'll go with a Burda.

    In the end, your jacket is pretty awesome. And I love that fabric and the hardware against it!

  2. Oh! No wonder some other people who have made the Kelly said they feel like they've "won an award." They were probably too nice to say that the instructions were hard to understand. Thanks for your inputs and I think you did well on this jacket despite everything. Too bad I didn't read this before I bought the pattern, the cloth, the lining and all the hardware! I can see patience will be key here.

  3. Oh no, what happened with the Otter Wax?

    1. It was very difficult to apply, which meant I only got about 15% done with it. Over time, it yellowed and now the parts which have wax look terrible.

  4. I buy indie patterns because I just want to sew not try to figure out how things go together. A lot of people give Indie patterns high praise whether they deserve it or not. Thanks for your honesty. I need to be babied in the instructions so this is a pass for me.


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