This jacket was both a long time coming and an impulse make. I have been watching just about everyone make a Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns. I initially thought that I didn’t have time to sew one, and, when I first looked at the pattern, thought it was exclusively available as an unlined jacket (which is essentially useless in Ottawa).
On a recent fabric shopping trip to Montreal, I told myself I would “keep an eye out” for fabrics and hardware that might be suitable for an eventual Kelly. Obviously, I found awesome fabric and obviously I had to power-sew it before I would need it. It also became evident that I would need something cozy and dry to tuck the baby into on the rainy, cold days – it’s hard to push a stroller and hold an umbrella.
I got the fabric and lining at Tonitex for a steal and this might be the first time ever I actually saved money making my own clothes. The outer fabric is a waterproof-coated canvas in burgundy and the lining is a pre-quilted lining with a layer of polyester batting and the cotton black and white (blue and white?) check. I also bought snaps and drawstring pulls, but opted to buy the hardware kit offered by Closet Case as they were prettier than the ones I bought and I thought it would make following the sew-along easier.
I absolutely hate working with PDF patterns, but the lining expansion is available exclusively electronically, so I decided to buy both online. When I called about the paper pattern’s availability at my local shop, the woman I spoke to suggested I look into getting it printed for me, so I could avoid the cut-and-paste agony of assembling a PDF pattern. I’ve got a post dedicated to this entirely and, spoiler alert, it’s totally worth paying to have this done.
I made a muslin to check the fit as always and was pretty happy with the way it looked. I cut a size 14 for the hood, arms and bust and graded to an 18 for the hips. I shortened the sleeves by only an inch (my standard is two), but I ended up taking another inch off once the coat partly was made and I tried it on. Otherwise, the fit is good, with the exception of the arms. The jacket is a bit inhibiting around the biceps, but I suspect this is due to the stiff fabric and the thick lining. If you make this with a quilted lining, add room for your upper arms.
I followed the paper instructions pretty closely and consulted the sew-along when it was available. Unlike others I’ve done in the past, the Kelly sew-along only covers certain parts. If you are a fairly accomplished sewist, it’s only the parts that you really need. If you are lining your Kelly, be very careful following the sew-along for the zipper and plackets as there are steps you need to skip. I made several mistakes and ended up foregoing the blog posts in favour of the paper directions.
The pattern gives the option of flat-felling or faux-felling seams. I opted to flat-fell after my research revealed this would increase the impermeability of my coat. Honestly, it’s not hard or time-consuming at all and looks super nice. The pattern directions recommend faux-felling the second sleeve seam and only top-stitching as far as possible since it can be really hard to jam through all that fabric. I am here to tell you it is totally possible to flat-fell that sucker all the way down. Be prepared for it to be difficult, is all.
Due to the stiffness and waterproof properties of my outer fabric, it did not taking pressing at all. As a result, I top-stitched pretty much everything to make sure it lay nice and flat.
I also varied from the pattern a bit on the hood. I decided I needed a drawstring on my hood. Fall in Ottawa is cold, wet and windy, and a hood that you can secure around your face is 100 per cent necessary. I placed the opening for my drawstring just below the notch at the front of the hood and centered it withing the 1-inch top-stitching I planned to use as the casing for the drawstring. I chose to sew 1 inch from the edge to that I would have just enough room to get my presser foot past the grommet when sewing by.
You’ll see that I didn’t top-stitch all the way to the edge of the hood. I did this to make it easier to attach the hood later. I also thought it looked pretty neat. I used masking tape to mark where to turn as my chalk pen doesn’t rub off this canvas completely and I didn’t want little blue marks on the outside of my hood.
The second way I customized my Kelly was adding a cuff. I find it really awkward to wear a heavy coat without mittens, (This might be as a result of always too-long RTW sleeves…), so I added a ribbed cuff. This is possibly the easiest hack ever and literally takes one extra seam on each arm. I prepared my cuff with a thumbhole cuff out of an 8 x 8″ square of ribbing scrap I had on hand.
Next, I basted it to the sleeve lining with right sides together using a straight stitch since the lining does not stretch. It is easiest if you stretch the cuff (inside out) over the the sleeve lining (right side out) and stretch the cuff to fit the sleeve. The cuff gets sandwiched between the lining and the outer fabric when you bag the lining and so when you turn it right side out, your cuff will pop out!
The last thing I did was spray the seams with tent sealer. I couldn’t find seam sealant at my fabric store, so the woman I was speaking to suggested spraying it instead. I’ve worn it out in the rain once (it was drizzling) and stayed nice and dry.
Stay tuned for next week when I post a full tutorial on how to make a reversible babywearing/maternity insert for your Kelly (or any RTW jacket).