Hello all! Today I am very excited to present to you my tester version of Closet Case Files' latest pattern; the Kelly Anorak. I was over the moon when I got the email asking me to test because I've wanted to make a jacket like this for forever.
My original fabric choice was this super cool flour resist dyed cotton that I prepped last year, but when I got it out it was just too lightweight. More dress weight than coat weight. I remembered Carolyn mentioning something about shower curtains a while ago and so I had a look on Amazon and when I found this penguin shower curtain I knew it was the one.
I bought 2 of them so I could be sure that I would have enough, which worked out to about £17 for them both. When they arrived I realised that I would have a nightmare pattern matching the lines of penguins and decided to make the sleeves, zip plackets and the centre of the hood sans penguins. If I'd worked that out before I bought them I would have bought 1 penguin shower curtain and 1 white one which would have saved me a bit of money.
I am very happy with how the penguins are on the back, and less so with the front. The nature of the pockets meant they were impossible to match with the penguins underneath. The yoke and centre row of penguins work well though. I ordered the zip when I was still thinking of using the purple fabric, but I really like the pop of colour it gives. It was the most expensive zip I've ever bought, so it had better last forever. It cost £6 including postage!
I did mess up a bit when I cut out and so my zip is the men's way round instead of the woman's. Though, if you read the instructions before you cut, it is very clear. The construction of the zip is one of my favourite parts of this coat. It just looks so professional.
I must admit, working with a shower curtain as a main fabric was a bit of a disaster. I spent ages doing various things to get the creases out because ironing was not an option. None of my methods worked, but the creases aren't so noticeable in the end. I couldn't pin or unpick, which was a nightmare when it was time to sew the pockets on. Oh, and the pockets are my other favourite part of the pattern by the way. So good! I ended up using blue tack to stick the pockets down while I sewed them. It worked alright, but it wasn't great.
The other major issue I had with the fabric is that it has no give whatsoever, which was a bit of a disaster when it came to setting the sleeves in. One went in better than the other, but I had to settle with doing little pleats, just to get them to fit in each armhole. The fabric is quite see through, so instead of doing a facing I just turned the edge and topstitched. I did have to do a lot of clipping to get it to turn but it worked out alright in the end.
The saving grace of this fabric is that it doesn't fray. That meant that instead of doing flatfell seams I just sewed right sides together as usual and topstitched the SA down. I didn't fancy hammering grommets into this fabric so I opted instead for stick on Velcro. Worked a treat. I plonked it on the hood, cuffs and to keep the pocket flaps down and I might still add some to keep the zip placket down.
I think that this anorak is quite possibly one of my most favourite makes. I loved that it challenged me with new techniques like the pockets and the zip. It's one of the makes that no one quite believes that you've actually made. Sadly I'm not sure how much wear this fabric is going to withstand. The fabric is already a bit ripped along the pockets. I would love it to last forever though. I definitely want to make a red duffel winter coat version, sizing up to fit some more layers underneath, without the drawstring and with some nice toggles. I'd also like to make a floral version for spring.
Thank you so much for reading, to Heather Lou for asking me to test the pattern and to Lucy for taking the photos!