Two years ago, I made an anorak and it is definitely the most worn handmade item in my wardrobe. It’s such a simple jacket to throw on and goes with so much in my closet. After that make, I swore up and down to myself that I would make another – actually I wanted to make one in every color. Since the construction of the jacket took longer than your average project, the need for 10 – 15 more went away. As I’ve done more traveling, and as I’ve packed the same handmade pieces into my suitcase time after time, the realization that I did, in fact, need another anorak crept up again.
In August, I put “grey anorak” on my sewing list. I was trying to think of the next color I wanted to make and olive crossed my mind as well as navy. I felt olive was too accessible (although I will probably make one, one day) and I was just given a navy pea coat from my sister’s hand-me-downs. After thinking about your typical staple colors, I decided grey was the next best option to have in my wardrobe.
This whole conversation with myself was just a thought, no concrete plan, but I was hoping for it to be done in the near future. At this time, I was busy planning out my active wear wardrobe and buying a ton of fabric for that collection.
I was buying fabric from fabric.com when I got the email. The email that threw all my plans out the window and had me ordering the fabric and pattern that same night. The Kelly Anorak. The jacket of my dreams just landed in my inbox. The absolute best part of this new pattern? IT HAS A HOOD. I have this thing with hoods. I believe all jackets should have them, and not enough patterns have the option to add them. Clearly I was sold, and since it was already October, I had to make it ASAP to get to enjoy it.
I gathered my supplies within a weekend. No joke, the fabric arrived and the next day I had bought the zipper, snaps and cording.
This jacket would have come together faster if I had a place to hammer in my apartment. I had to beg my dad to find me a small table for my sewing room that I wouldn’t ruin with a hammer. So there’s a new table in my sewing space and I am a pro at inserting snaps. Seriously, there are 12 of them on this jacket.
There was one MAJOR alteration I made. I shortened it by about 3″. I cut and made the size two. What I love is that each pattern piece has the “lengthen or shorten” lines but I don’t think the pattern was thought about having that much being taken out of it. I sewed on the pockets and was getting ready to add the cording when I realized there wasn’t enough room in the body between the top of the pockets and where the cording needed to go.
I wound up ripping out the pockets and lowering them to add the cording at my waist point. If you plan on shortening this coat, be sure to triple check the location of the pockets and see where the cording will fall. You don’t want to sew them too close because the gathered waist could bunch the pocket. Another tip if you plan on shortening, shorten and measure before you buy your zipper.
Since I bought my supplies before even printing out and assembling the pattern, I didn’t know I would be shortening the coat that much. But since 3″ were taken out, I had to shorten my zipper to fit. Which meant taking out teeth, which meant the top had no stopper. Really this isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just an extra step that can honestly be avoided. If you want to figure out how long this jacket will be on you, hold the back piece up to your body. Imagine it a little shorter because of seam allowances but you’ll begin to see just how long this might be on a petite body.
Other thoughts about the pattern: Instructions were good! I did have a few issues that I think were due to exhaustion but I still want to point them out. When doing the right zipper facing, I got so confused with the wording of part (1) because I had yet to cut down my zipper and my measurements were all over the place. I wound up reading those instructions like, 20 times. I didn’t have any other problems until sewing the hood on and the section where you wrap the hood facing around the neckline seam. I know to most of you reading, this will not make sense, but if you make the jacket I just wanted to point out my problem areas. I read this step over and over, and finagled with the fabric so much I almost cried (it had been a really long day). I still haven’t figured this step out and just made it up. No matter what I did, the project in front of me did not look like the picture.
After that mess up, the rest of the jacket was a breeze. I did not use grommets, and instead sewed button holes for the casing. I do want to get stoppers for the drawstring because after seeing all the tester versions, the stoppers added such a professional look.
I cannot explain how happy I am with this jacket. It is so perfect and I think it’s a mix of both the pattern and the fabric, because yes I could have made this out of a grey solid, but this print is just what I needed. It’s a fun neutral and I can’t wait to show it off. I’m praying for a mild winter so I get to wear it more this year!
I do plan on making another, and would love to make one with a lining. I will size up depending on the fabric for my next one. The size two fits perfectly, but if I add a heavy sweater underneath this one, it would be a little snug.
Whew! This was a long post, but I had quite a few opinions to share about this pattern. Guys, I totally recommend it. I do think it is for the advanced seamstress but with all the tutorials Heather has coming out, you’ll be fine to sew this up having never made a coat.
Pattern: Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Files
Fabric: Snowy Grey Twill from fabric.com (Click the link below!)
Cording, Snaps & Zipper: JoAnn Fabrics
Have a great weekend!