Closet Case Kelly Anorak 2.0

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I love when a project turns out better than you anticipated. I love my new coat! I began this version soon after I completed my first anorak in October.

I liked that jacket so I knew I wanted to make it again but with changes.

The pattern is Closet Case’s Kelly Anorak and this time I bought the lining expansion pack. Closet Case Kelly Anorak

The main fabric is a ripstop cotton – the same as my last anorak but in red. The lining is a cotton flannel. It’s a subtle herringbone pattern which I thought was a fancier alternative to the traditional black and red plaid flannel you often find. The sleeves are lined in Bemberg rayon from Joann Fabrics. Hardware is from Gold Star Tool.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

Besides the full lining, the major difference between the initial release and the expansion are the wider sleeves without the cuffs (which worked well for me because I had to alter the original pattern’s sleeves to give my arms more wiggle room). With the new sleeves, I didn’t need to make any changes. They were big enough – even with an interlining!

Closet Case Kelly AnorakI make a couple extra changes to the pattern. I lined the pockets with the same flannel as the rest of the coat. Toasty hands for the win!

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I lined the hood with shearling fabric same as I did on my last anorak. I altered my hood lining pieces, though, to accommodate the snaps.
Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I included an interior pocket in the lining on my left side. After wearing my first anorak I recognized the need for a safe pocket to hold my phone. At first, I thought I’d add exterior chest pockets but after sewing the front yoke together I decided I didn’t want to bother drafting some kind of in-seam pocket and extra flaps.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

This pocket is the perfect size for my phone and it sits slightly lower than my bust so it doesn’t make an oddly visible bulge on the outside if my phone is in there.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I used the flannel as an interlining for the sleeves and lined the sleeve itself with a smooth Bemberg rayon to make it easier to slip the coat on and off.

And I sewed a little loop in the neckline to hang it. I didn’t bother adding that in my first version. Very glad I took the time to do it with this one.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I had a much better experience with the snaps this time. I splurged and bought 100 snaps plus the correct tool which made it SO MUCH EASIER. Also, because these are proper spring snaps, not ring snaps, the jacket doesn’t jingle like my last version. The snaps are a shiny gunmetal color. I couldn’t find a matching zipper tone so I just went with the plain aluminum metal.Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I think the lining really helped give this cotton ripstop some heft. I think the whole thing lays smoother on my body than the last jacket.Closet Case Kelly Anorak

Looking at the back view I wonder if I could have used a narrow back adjustment? Oh, well, better too big than too small when it comes to a coat. I doubt I’d make this pattern again unless this one wears out first.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

When I began cutting this pattern out I intended to have an interior waist drawstring like I did on my first anorak. But with the thick flannel, I imagined squeezing in all that fabric would make it look bulky. So far I’m enjoying it as is, sans drawstring.
Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I finished this coat at the end of January – just in time for it to start getting hot again here in Texas! I’ll try to get as much wear out of it before the end of the season. This is definitely my favorite coat I’ve ever sewn!

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

This jacket is not my best work. Just putting that out there at the start. But sometimes you just need to see a project through to the end and I’m glad I finished it. And while I liked the design (thumb cuffs, hood, curvy fit), the combination of fabric, fit, and details just wasn’t working for me.

This is my Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket. I originally bought the pattern because I loved the pleated back version but I realized you need a really good knit to hold those pleats at the hem so for my first try I went with the plain back.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

It’s been so long since I started this project that I’ve forgotten where I sourced my fabric. The main fabric is a green ponte I bought online. It’s pretty thin for a ponte, more like a thick jersey. The hood lining and pockets are  leftover black mesh fabric from these leggings.Greenstyle Creations Sundance JacketI struggled to find zippers and drawstrings for the hood that matched this olive green. Eventually, I went a different direction and bought these hot pink shoelaces. I decided to roll with the pink and topstitched my seams with matching thread.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

Looking back, I don’t think I should have done the topstitching. Trying to sew a straight stitch on a knit made my stitches uneven and the hem wavy. From a distance, the stitching’s not bad but I don’t like the look of it up close.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

The pattern offers two different options for sewing the thumb holes in the cuffs. I went with topstitching, but at this point, I was already so disappointed with the hot pink thread, I stuck with green for this part.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

I could use a sway back adjustment. That’s pretty common for me, though.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

You can see how the hem is a little floppy around the hips.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

The jacket includes zipped side seam pockets. The pocket pieces are curved. The bottom edge gets caught in the hem stitching but as you can see, it’s just a floppy pocket inside. This was a missed opportunity to just extend the pocket and have it attach to that princess seam in the front. No more floppy pocket. If I were to make this pattern again, this would be my first change.  (You can also tell when I started losing interest in this project because that middle seam isn’t finished. Oh, well.)

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

The cuffs are extra long to cover most of your hand, but even then, I think the sleeves are a bit too long for me.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

One other thing that bothers me: the drawstring casing that is sewn in the hood is pretty wide. It’s like an inch while the width of the shoelace is less than half an inch. That means the casing bunches up oddly when you pull the drawstring tight. It looks like little ripples around my head. I’ve smoothed the casing out for these photos.

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

So with all of that summed up, here are some changes I would make next time:

  • Adjust the pockets
  • No topstitching
  • Swayback adjustment
  • Thicker fabric
  • Deeper hem
  • Thinner drawstring casing in the hood
  • Slightly shorter sleeves

I don’t hate this jacket but it’s not something I’m especially proud of. Despite that, I’ve gotten so much use out of it this winter while running!

Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket

And lastly, I got this sweet t-shirt for Christmas. Perfect for running and sewing!

Closet Case Patterns Kelly Anorak

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

Ok, buckle up. This is the big one. The big sew of the season. A full-on 100% jacket. Or Anorak to be more specific.

This one tested me in many ways and in the end, I’m not sure if I came out on top. In any case, it’s finished and I love it, flaws and all, and it’s only spurred me on to make another.

Let’s dig in:

This is the Closet Case Kelly Anorak which was released last year to much fanfare. I liked the design, classic yet sporty. But it wasn’t until I started planning my trip to Utah that I decided that by golly, I NEEDED a new jacket!

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I definitely have a preferred “style” when it comes to dressing for the outdoors. Now you might say, “it doesn’t matter what you look like while you’re in the wilderness, so long as it’s functional.” To that, I say, “go rain on someone else’s 7-mile hike!”

For me, my ideal look for traipsing across in the desert/mountains/forest involves a cross between Lara Croft (circa the 2013 reboot) and a 1911 Egyptologist. Basically, I want to look like someone who regularly carries a torch.

So when I saw a jacket at REI that was almost identical to the Kelly but had a shearling hood lining, visions of torch-lit ancient tombs glittered in my eyes.

I immediately ordered some shearling and a couple yards of ripstop cotton from (appropriately named “coyote”).

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

I had about a month to finish the jacket but first I needed to address some fit issues.

1. The sleeve was too small. Luckily the sleeve is in two pieces which made it easier to alter.

Not only did I made it wider in the bicep but I lowered the height of the sleeve cap to give me some more rotation in the arm. Before I could only lift the arm in front of me to neck-height. Now I can reasonably scale a rock wall while wearing it. Not that I did, but still.

2. In several versions of this pattern, I see a recurring fit issue. It’s not a huge problem but I kept seeing it enough that it bugged me. Right above the bust, near where the chest yoke seam met the armscye – a fold. A lumpy, slightly angled fold. Always appearing when the wearer had the jacket zipped up. Like the jacket was crying out for a dart.

Luckily I had a friend who loves fitting more than I love complaining. She helped me tackle that dreaded fold in a muslin.

Unfortunately, that fold proved hard to fight. You’d think you could take the fold out at the yoke seam but the yoke doesn’t come anywhere near the fullest part of the bust. And while the yoke piece of the jacket is curved toward the armscye, the body of the jacket is not curved along that seam.

My options were to make a whole new side dart, or try to squeeze the excess fabric into that yoke seam. Neither option was a perfect fix. I ended up forgoing the new dart and trying to curve the yoke seam more. It helped – but didn’t fix it completely.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak(That fold(s) is still visible – though not all the time – with the jacket zipped. And now that you see it on me, I dare you not to see it on other people’s Anoraks as well…)

To adapt the hood I simply cut out the same hood pieces again from the shearling. Then I adapted the lower front piece that gets snapped together to be sewn from the cotton. I didn’t want to try to apply snaps through the fur.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

Now, I have to admit, fiddling with all those front zipper-area flaps was confusing and frustrating. Following the tutorial online helped.

One thing I found annoying in the instructions, however, was the part where it suggests finishing the hem before adding the zipper and the flaps. So I did. Then when I went to add the flaps and zip I had to unpick some stitches to get it to fit (maybe I stitched too far over??? I don’t know). But after those steps, the instructions essentially said, “if you didn’t hem before, go ahead and hem now.” It likely would have been easier had I hemmed after the zipper section.

Another change I made was to the drawstring. This idea I stole from my REI inspiration piece. Rather than risking my drawstring getting caught on a tree branch or other obstacle while hiking, I turned it into an interior drawstring.

Inside of the jacket, I stitched the drawstring end to the center front zipper area, then I left the casing open at each side seam. The string extends out from the casing at the side seams so it can be tied. You could go fancy and buy one of those spring-press stoppers but I was short on time.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak(on the right you can see the holes made from attaching the snaps which I talk about below. Also, I bound the side seam allowances in bias binding, although I realize I should have just flat-felled them instead. Oh well, they look pretty at least.)

Removing the exterior drawstring meant I needed to adjust the position of the snaps. And here’s where things got messy.

Since I wasn’t going to use the drawstring hardware, I chose not to buy the Kelly’s hardware kit and instead bought snaps from WAWAK.

When the snaps arrived I realized I did not have the correct tool to set them. I have multiple tools for snaps, grommets, eyelets, etc – but not the kind made for this specific type of snap. I immediately ordered a new tool but when it hadn’t arrived by the day before my trip (even though I paid extra for faster shipping, ugh) I got desperate.

I went to the Tandy Leather store in my city and bought a new tool.

I returned home and the new tool doesn’t fit the spring snaps either. Luckily, I had the right frame of mind to buy extra snaps at Tandy. But upon closer inspection, I realized these were ring snaps. Ring snaps are different than spring snaps in that they have a tiny, loose metal ring inside them on one side. This makes them noisy, it also makes them hard to snap on and off. But it was my only choice.

Oh, and did I mention this package of ring snaps only had 10? And I needed 12?

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

Yeah, so my jacket has fewer snaps than it’s supposed to. ANNND when I was out of snaps I tried my darndest to get one of my many tools to work on my original snaps for the left cuff. I got one half of the snap on before I gave up. Instead, I hand stitched the cuff closed. On the outside, it looks like a normal snap but it’s completely nonfunctional.

At this point, I didn’t care anymore.

Oh, and I didn’t think to fold the under facing of out of the way while attaching the snaps, and banging on the metal tools formed tiny holes in the fabric in that facing layer. Ugh. Welp, lesson learned.

I wore this jacket at some point on every day of my trip and I noticed a problem… My pocket stitching started to come undone along the top edge. I realize now I should have stitched these pockets like one stitches back pockets on jeans, with a little triangle of stitching at the opening to prevent this exact sort of thing from happening. I fixed it when I got home.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak(the moment I realized my pocket stitching snapped. I was not happy.)

Ok plans for my next Kelly *rubs hands together like a scheming villain*

  1. Lining – gonna buy the lining pack and make a warmer jacket. This add-on includes a new sleeve that is larger around which I hope will preclude my need for width adjustments. Does anyone know a good source for high-quality flannel? None of that cheap stuff from Joann.
  2. Breast pockets – the pattern has that yoke seam over the chest and is just begging for pockets. A pocket deep enough to hold my phone/keys would do well. I’m thinking interior pockets with an exterior flap as opposed to patch pockets on the outside.
  3. Do the snaps the right way! ‘Nuff said.
  4. Better, more secure stitching around those pockets.
  5. Shearling lined hood again – because I bought a yard of that stuff so I gotta use it up somehow.
  6. I think I’ll do the ripstop cotton again but in a different color. It looks cool up close, was easy to sew with, is a good width, and best of all, it’s cheap!
  7. Carry an actual torch while wearing it.

Closet Case Kelly Anorak

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

You guys — I looooooooovvvvveeee this jacket! The Lupin Jacket by French pattern company Deer and Doe is a cute cropped, fully lined jacket that is perfect for Texas’ not-quite-winters.

I love the princess seams in front, the epaulettes, the light gathers at the waistline and cuffs, the floppy lapels, everything! Yes, I’m gushing but this is a great jacket for me and my climate right now. 10/10 would sew again!

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

(does anyone else think of Harry Potter when you hear the word Lupin? It’s not a word you hear often in English.)

The shell fabric came from The Cloth Pocket (these photos were also taken at the awesome mural outside their new building!). I’d describe it as medium-lightweight. It’s light enough to make the lapels hang nicely by thick enough to supply some warmth.

What’s great about it is the gold sparkle comes from threads woven into the fabric rather than glitter stuck into the fibers or “glued” on top. That means the metallic can’t be washed out or ironed off (which I have experienced, much to my disappointment).

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

The lining is some plain black cotton voile, the source of which I can’t remember. Metal buttons from Joann.

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

Once I finally got everything cut out and organized, the jacket came together rather quickly.

I appreciate that the lining isn’t simply a copy of the shell, but slightly bigger in places to allow for movement. The assembly was different than what I would have expected but I liked the method they used — similar to the bag-lining technique but you finish by sewing the waistband rather than an interior sleeve lining seam.

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

My only change, I added a button and buttonhole at the waistband. I’ve seen this done on a few other people’s makes but it’s not included in the pattern. I wanted the option of closing the jacket if I needed to. Plus, these buttons came with 3 on a card.

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

I topstitched most seams in black thread but it’s only visible up close.

All in all, I’m quite pleased! As you can tell. I’ve sewn two other Deer and Doe patterns (and have one unfinished) but this is my first completed photoshoot. I’ve enjoyed using their patterns. I’m only surprised it took me this long to make them!

Class Update!

I’m going to be teaching a class next week at the Cloth Pocket in Austin on the Washi Dress! And the week after that is my Sewaholic Pacific Leggings Class. Click the links for more info!