A colourful life

Friday, 22 May 2020

wardrobe essentials 2020 - the Kelly anorak

This post is long overdue, I finished the Kelly anorak two weeks ago, at least.

If you are a long term reader of this blog, you'll know that this is not my first jacket. Many moons ago, I made a duffle coat from the finest Harris Tweed in a Paddington bear blue shade with wooden toggles and all. I lined it with the softest dark grey herringbone patterned flannel. I love this duffle coat but if I am entirely honest, it is not the most practical of coats for our climate. For starters, it never actually gets terribly cold here. It is also often wet but the Harris Tweed is not. So, the poor old coat mostly lives in my wardrobe, hopefully undiscovered by wool moths (note to self, add moth repellent to shopping list).

I am not normally drawn to complex garment sewing, mostly because I am a bit lazy and also because I am a bit impatient. Fitting becomes a bit more challenging when there is lots of pattern pieces and quite frankly, my life is too just now to spend time with full bust adjustments and other pattern fitting challenges. But every now and then though I need a bit of a challenge, or at least something that keeps my mind occupied for a while. Back in March I think I noticed that Guthrie & Ghani put together a kit for the Kelly anorak by Closet File Patterns. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss. Getting all the individual bits and bobs for a jacket can be time consuming and for someone like me who can't easily decide on the colour of a button, let alone the type of fabric, gathering all the bits and pieces for a jacket could take months.

The kit came with everything needed to sew the jacket: pattern, fabric, lining fabric, snaps, zips, thread, sewing needles, all. Also included was access to mini tutorials for sewing the jacket. The tutorials are authored by Lauren of Guthrie & Ghani. The kit was not cheap, £102 pounds I think (give or take) but it seems a fair price considering what came with it. Blue is a good colour for coats, isn't it? There were other colours to choose from but the blue was the only one that called out to me. The outer fabric is a cotton twill fabric, sturdy and and easy to sew with. The lining fabric is a Liberty fabric with small cute hearts.

I spent some time mulling over wether to toile or not. I decided not to because the pattern is not fitted and the finished garment measurements seemed generous enough. I also decided to cut into the paper pattern, rather than trace it. This can be a bit risky but a little risk is ok, right?

Sewing was straight forward but some steps were a bit fiddly. I did what I always do when things get a bit difficult, I followed the instructions one line at the time. Sometimes reading ahead is more confusing than doing one baby step at the time. There is a sew-along on the Closet File Pattern website, which was useful for when I couldn't visualise a step easily. Lauren's tips and tricks videos were also really useful. She has a lovely Scottish accent.

I only lined the hood so I thought it was important to have a neat finish on the inside of the jacket. I made flat felled seams throughout, which was difficult on the second seam of the sleeves (it is a two part sleeve). Not much room to manoeuvre. After setting in the sleeves, I finished this seam off with bias binding that I made from the lining fabric. I also used a strip of lining to embellish the hem. The hood is fully lined and I also finished the seam where hood and jacket meet with lining fabric. There are no exposed seams, which pleases my perfectionist personality. I added a sturdy hanging loop made with lining fabric.

The one thing I found difficult was putting the snap buttons in. It goes against my nature to make holes in a garment but that's what you have to do so I did. It is not the same as a button hole, which is a very controlled and neat way to create an opening in the fabric. For the snaps, it involved a hammer and a sharp metal piece to pierce a hole. Richard did the first two to show me because I couldn't make sense of the instructions that came in the snap box. It was not a success but lets not talk about it again, they are in, not as good as they could be but functional.

What do you think? Do you like my anorak? I do and I think it looks good on me. Mind, I was debating with myself if I should subject you to my lock-down looks.... I am really looking forward to a hair cut but it will be a while yet. I listened to our First Minister's parliamentary statement explaining the phased exit from strict lock-down. It was good, Mrs Sturgeon's message was clear and concise. We now know that schools will re-open in mid-August, using a blended model and that preparations for safe re-opening will start in June. I liked how she stoped and spoke to children and teenagers personally (she did acknowledge that probably not many children listened to a parliament broadcast). From May 28, we will be allowed to meet family and friends outside on walks etc, with appropriate distancing. I look forward to resuming my Saturday dog walk with one friend. I feel we are in good hands on the whole.

Anyway, I have a feeling that my new anorak will languish in my wardrobe, next to the duffle coat. Although maybe I just missed the tail end of anorak season and once we move into autumn, it will get some good outings. I do have some yellow rain coat fabric that I bought years and years ago. I wonder if I should make a water proof version?

Thanks for visiting. I hope you are all doing just fine. You'll be pleased to hear that I didn't succumb to the lurgy and I am feeling ok. See you soon!