Sunday, March 18, 2018

CCF Kelly Anorak: Crossing the Finish Line

Hey there! It's been a while hasn't it? I started this Kelly Anorak, which is part of my Make Nine (not that I'm taking that list all that seriously), on January 20 and only finished it last weekend. I think it could have gone a lot faster, especially since it's not lined, but I didn't work on it every single weekend. Also, I hit a bit of a snag when I met my old nemesis—sleeves. After basting the sleeves on 5+ times, I finally muddled through and could not be happier with my final project. Right after I finished it last Sunday, it rained all the following week. I don't think I've ever been so excited about rain!

This isn't the kind of project one makes multiples of—maybe some would, I suppose, but I don't need more than one anorak—so I tried to be more thoughtful in my approach. I had been imagining an olive twill that looks so good on so many skin and body types and is so versatile, but ultimately I decided I should have at least one waterproof jacket, so I went with a poly/nylon blend in stone gray from Britex. I like that it doesn't look or feel plastic-y and doesn't make a lot of swooshing sounds, but it's still legit waterproof, handling its first deluge last week with flying colors.

I like many of the details like finishing the hem and hood seam with bias tape. I purchased the Kelly Anorak hardware kit with the tools so that everything would match. I made a TON of little mistakes and, as mentioned previously, I struggled with the sleeves, but overall I'm happy. The only thing I would do differently is omit the hood. I wear my bag cross body, which means I have to pull the hood up and over every single time. The biggest bummer so far is that my placket snaps don't snap. I put them in the same way as my cuff and pocket snaps, so it's a mystery.  

I ambushed my husband on the way to the bus stop and had him take a few quick phone snaps.  Posting modeling pics is still not my favorite part of the process, but I think it's helpful for folks to see what the pattern looks like on a curvy/plus size (whatever you want to call me) who also happens to be short. 

I'll probably wear it open more often than not, so I don't want to dwell too much on the front snaps. 

Here are my final construction notes in case you're interested in making this pattern:
  • Shortened bodice by 1" and sleeves by 3/4 sleeves. I'm so pleased with the length for both.
  • Shortening the zipper means removing zipper teeth at the top with pliers.  I thought I would need to order a zipper stop, but then I found a tutorial that instructs sewing across the top several times. If you don't provide some sort of barrier, the zipper just goes off the rails. 
  • The water repellent fabric was super challenging to work with. It didn't hold a press very well and, obviously, I couldn't do a lot of shaping with a hot iron and steam. I ended up melting a hole in one cuff and had to recut a new one. Great tip: To remove sticky stuff (like melted nylon and polyester) from your iron, sprinkle salt onto a piece of paper and pass your iron over it several times. Worked like a charm!
  • Originally traced a size 18 bodice and FBA'd, but because of my waist measurements and the close-fitting sleeves, I ultimately decided to go with the size 20 and no FBA. 
  • Did a lot of research about sleeves when I was having trouble and found this video of an interesting technique called finger gathering. It didn't really work with my fabric, but it's something to keep in my mind for future projects. Switching from a denim needle to a finer needle might have also helped as it wasn't pulling as much. 

Even though I stumbled here and there, it was a very satisfying project, and I'm proud that I challenged myself a bit. The tutorials and instruction helped a lot and served as a reminder to not be overwhelmed and just break things down into small steps. At the risk of sounding trite, that approach could be applied to most anything in life, right? I hope to post again within the week because I found myself needing a quick project halfway through this, so I've got a new pattern to post about. 

Have a fantastic week and thanks so much for reading!