I don’t know how I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for so long without a raincoat – seriously, it basically rains here every day – but I must say that this one was well worth the wait.
I’d been wanting to make Closet Case Patterns’ Kelly Anorak for quite a while. And since I’d also been wanting to make a raincoat, I decided to make a water-resistant Kelly Anorak. Boy oh boy was that a decision. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore this coat, but sewing with water-resistant fabric was quite the adventure.
The fabric I selected is a water-resistant polyester twill from Mood. It’s a really great jacket weight and comes in a wide range of colors. Initially, I’d planned to purchase the grass green colorway, but something about this cranberry really caught my eye. The color is a bit darker in real life, but for some reason it photographs brighter.
So, there are a couple things about this fabric. You need to be incredibly careful when ironing. When I ironed a piece from the wrong side it was fine, but ironing on the right side could easily lead to scorch marks – especially since the iron needed to be pretty hot to actually make an impact.
The second thing about this fabric, and in my opinion the real doozy, is you can’t use pins. This meant no pinning the seams and no taking out a seam and re-sewing. Time for precision sewing, folks. Anytime this fabric is punctured it leaves little holes. Not only is this aesthetically unappealing, but no one wants a leaky raincoat! Luckily for me, a while ago my mom bought me some sewing clips, and they were a LIFE SAVER on this project. If you’re sewing with any type of fabric that can’t be pinned, do yourself a favor and get some of these clips.
The Kelly Anorak is an unlined jacket, but you can purchase a lining expansion pattern. Initially, I decided to not add the lining, but instead underline it with flannel. I wish present day me could go back in time and slap the me that made that decision. I cut out flannel underlining pieces for the bodice, sleeves and hood. After assembling the bodice, I quickly realized the error of my ways.
All the seams are finished with flat-felled seams. They look so clean and neat, unless you are adding a layer of flannel that you can’t iron or properly pin. Then, they look…well…let’s just say they look less than clean and neat.
At this point it was either forge ahead and end up with a jacket that would make me grimace every time I looked at it or start over. I opted to start over, especially since I had enough fabric to re-cut the bodice. This time, I went without an underlining. I should have done this from the start. Without the flannel, I’d be able to wear this jacket year-round and not just in cooler weather.
After I ditched the underlining, construction went MUCH smoother, relatively speaking. In areas where clips wouldn’t work to hold the fabric in place, I sewed very slowly and “pressed” things in place with my fingers. This worked surprisingly well, but it gave new meaning to “slow sewing.”
My biggest headache was easing in the sleeves. This fabric has zero stretch. So, without the use of pins, it basically came down to mind over matter, and a lot of clips, and even more patience (not my best quality). Plus, I only had one shot. Once the needle went through the fabric, the holes were there for eternity, and since this is polyester, eternity isn’t much of an exaggeration.
As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Closet Case Patterns, and this pattern did not disappoint. If I had made this jacket in a regular pinable twill, I would have had it together much quicker. With that being said, despite all of the amazing details (hello, gusseted pockets, drawstring and zipper placket with snaps), this is a pretty simple and very fun pattern to make. I made view A with the hood, but there is also view B with a stand-up collar. The only alteration I made was to grade out slightly at the hips. I just wanted a tad more room.
Ok, so I’m going to geek out here for a minute. I think Closet Case Patterns’ attention to detail really shines in this pattern. When making any of their patterns, I never need to worry about seams left unfinished or unprofessional-looking. I feel that with so many other patterns, I’m always looking five steps ahead to make sure all my seams will be neatly finished. I’ve sewn for long enough to usually know when in the process to finish my seams, but every now and then a pattern will leave me with a fraying, unfinished edge and no way to fix it. This jacket looks just as nice on the inside as on the outside!
You’ll notice this jacket requires a lot of hardware. Closet Case Patterns sells a hardware kit for $29. Since I already had heavy duty snap and snap pliers, I figured I could source the other bits myself and have it come out a bit cheaper. Surprise, surprise, I was wrong. I looked in stores and online, but I couldn’t find grommets, cord locks and cord stoppers that matched. If I was putting all this work into a jacket, you better believe I wasn’t going to settle for mismatched hardware. I bought the kit. However, I still used my snaps, since my pliers install them in a jiffy.
Even though this fabric and I had our ups and downs, I couldn’t love this coat more. I am so excited to wear it all fall. And the best part? When I showed this coat to my dad, he couldn’t believe I made it!
Until next time,