Hi everyone! I have been sewing a lot but not blogging much. I’ve moved most of my social media presence to Instagram. There are pluses and minuses to Instagram, but the biggest plus outweighs all the minuses, which is that I don’t have much free time and I don’t want to spend the time I do have writing blog posts!
EDITED (August 4th, 2017):
I contacted Heather from Closet Case Patterns on July 24th with a link to this blog post to bring to her attention the issues I had with the pattern. She replied quickly later that day saying that she was going to re-issue the pattern and make changes. I didn’t reply to her at that point and decided to wait to see whether these changes were actually going to be made, and when. I received an email yesterday, August 3rd, saying that the instructions had been updated and that many/most of the issues had been fixed (no changes to the pattern, just updates to the instructions). A quick look through the instructions shows major improvements in the areas I had the most trouble. I’m really happy and impressed that she very quickly accepted the criticism that I, and others, had and changed the pattern. Obviously, I would have liked the errors to not have been there to begin with, but at least things have been improved for the next users. I should also note that she offered me a free pattern and I didn’t accept it until she made changes to the pattern.
But I recently made the Closet Case Patterns Kelly Anorak and thought it deserved a full blog post. I’ll start by saying I’m very happy with the finished jacket. I took my time with the sewing and topstitching and it shows (except for the collar, that’s not my best work). However, I do have some issues with the instructions which unfortunately left me finishing this garment a bit unsatisfied. I can’t think of any big issues with the pattern itself FYI, the pieces fit together well and I really like the way the jacket fits.
Let’s start from the beginning. For this jacket, I purchased the paper pattern, the lining expansion pack, and the hardware kit. I began tracing the pattern but found it very difficult because the size lines are very thick and challenging to trace the right size in areas where all the sizes converge. I ended up cutting out a size 12 directly from the paper pattern. For the lining, I printed the copy shop version from pdfplotting.com which was recently recommended on the Cashmerette blog. I highly recommend this company – it was cheap, fast, and the paper is thick and the ink doesn’t smear when ironed. I printed patterns from multiple companies and noticed again how thick the lines are for the Kelly Anorak pattern. This isn’t the end of the world, but cutting out the paper pattern shouldn’t be a mental challenge and it’s important to be accurate with your cutting if you want to sew with precision. The hardware kit contained all the necessary supplies, but I wish it had come with instructions on how to install the pieces and an inventory list of what is in the kit. At the very least, it should have something saying that instructions for installation are at www.website.come if you’re trying to get traffic to the blog.
Cutting out the pattern went fine although as others have noted, there are inaccuracies in the diagrams for cutting – specifically with regards to the facings which are directional. I discarded the instructions and cut out the fabric pieces according to the directions on the pattern pieces themselves and then used those pieces to cut out the interfacing correctly.
On to the sewing! The construction for the exterior and the lining went relatively smoothly. When sewing the side seams, take note that the bottom folded portion of the back flap does not need to reach the side seams and will be caught when sewing in the sleeves. A small thing, but I wish this was addressed in the pattern as I didn’t understand why it didn’t reach the side seam and went to Instagram for clarification.
The pockets came together nicely but I was confused by these two instructions. The first instruction tells you to sew only to the folded SA. But then in the diagram below when you trim the SA, there is stitching where it previously told you not to stitch! So I went to the blog post where she explains how to sew the pockets to check. What I found is below. I learned that indeed you’re only suppose to sew to the folded SA, but she herself did it wrong in the tutorial. If you get something wrong for a tutorial for your own pattern that you’re selling, then do it again and take new pictures!
I followed the instructions for installing the zipper, all of which tell you to use a 1/2″ SA. However, when you go to the blog post, it all says 5/8″. That’s annoying and I didn’t notice that there was a discrepancy until much later because I followed the instructions that were included with the pattern. I didn’t search online for changes and I shouldn’t have to! Someone wrote a very nice comment about the difference and how it affected her jacket (see below), Heather responded that she would address it, but that was 8 months ago and since I just bought this pattern I can tell you it wasn’t addressed.
Similar to the commenter above, my snaps had to go almost at the edge of the placket because there was no room next to the zipper for the bottom of the snaps. Below you can see I put them as close as I could and they are overlapping with the topstitching. It’s not the end of the world, but in my opinion the snaps look unbalanced way at the edge like that. I went back and looked at the samples and tester versions and all the snaps are similarly at the edge, so clearly I didn’t notice it before ordering the pattern.
Finally, others have noted that the pattern is written for a zipper with the pull on the left side and thus the front placket is on the right side. Since I bought the hardware kit with the correct zipper I didn’t have any issue, but most zippers have the pull on the right side. Keep this in mind when sewing since you probably don’t want the placket and pull on the same side and you’ll have to alter the zipper pieces during construction relative to the instructions.
After sewing the collar right sides together, the pattern never tells you to turn it right sides out. A minor issue, but it should be there. Also, I prefer numbered instructions, but that’s just a personal preference…
Installing the Lining
Ok, let’s get to where I had the most issues, attaching the lining. After you sew the lining and exterior front edges together right sides together, it tells you to press seam towards the side seam and understitch. This isn’t correct. You want to press the SA towards the zipper and understitch to the facings otherwise the raw edge will be exposed at the bottom of the facings when you try to press up the hem. The text might be right (unclear) but the diagram is not.The diagrams are wrong for finishing the bottom of the facings too. You can see in the diagrams below that the SA for the lining/facing seam is pressed the wrong way (should be towards the zipper/front middle of the jacket). Importantly, the SA for the entire vertical length L or M should be pressed toward the front, not the side seams, and the folded SA should be caught when sewing the bottom of L and M. If you do it as described in the instructions, when you turn everything right side out it is going to be a mess.
If you do it correctly, this is how it should look. You can see that the lining SA was understitched to the facing and that the facing SA is turned toward the zipper all the way to the bottom.
WHEW. Despite all this, the finished jacket is quite nice. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the pattern pieces per se, but the instructions need a healthy dose of editing, clarification, and consistency. I’m not writing this to be a hater, I just want to be honest about the experience I had with the pattern. All these small mistakes left me finishing this jacket really irritated and make me doubt the accuracy and precision of this pattern and other CC patterns (this is the only one I’ve sewn). I’m an advanced enough sewer that I could correct these issues, but I shouldn’t have to. A complicated garment like this should have clear instructions and should lead you smoothly through the enjoyable process of sewing. If you’re debating making this jacket, I say make it as long as you know what you’re getting into. My guess is that a lot of the instructions and images for the lining expansion pack were taken from the original instructions (for a unlined jacket) and not updated properly.
I’m really happy with the fit, specifically along the back of the neck. It fits up nice and tight and hugs my neck which is very comfortable. I’m sure that I will wear this jacket a lot.
A picture with the zipper all the way up. The collar could be a little taller, but I’ll probably wear it either unzipped or half-zipped most of the time.
I wish I finished such a nice piece with more satisfaction instead of being frustrated that I found so many inconsistencies and errors in the instructions. I purchased two of the hardware kits but it will take a while before I use the second kit.
I hope my comments here help prepare others to sew this anorak!