Monday, April 19, 2021

Just In Time For Spring - Kelly Anorak Jacket - Part II


Good morning everyone,

It's a beautiful day in the Chicago area.  The sun is shining, the grass is green and lush with the temperatures in the 50's.  It's a great day.  Yesterday was pretty much the same as today, just a little warmer.  

Today I want to give you the deets on my new Kelly Anorak jacket.  It took about five sessions averaging five and half hours.  This was a new pattern to me.  But I've seen several dozen makes on Instagram and other social media outlets.  I think it's a jacket worth making.  

Yesterday I did my little photo shoot in a little park not too far from my home.  Sorry I forgot the name of it.  Anyway, we were able to get a few good shots of me wearing my first Kelly Anorak jacket.

Here is the description straight from their website:  Style meets function with the Kelly Anorak; a classic shape with a modern cut, this simple coat is the perfect choice for transitional weather.

Lightweight and unlined, it features a two-piece cuffed sleeve, optional drawstring waist, gusseted flap pocket and a zipper placket with snap buttons.  View A will keep you warm and dry with a roomy three-piece hood, while View B features a classic stand-up collar.

Kelly is just right made up in light to medium-weight woven fabric such as twill, gabardine, and linen, and will make the ultimate rain coat when sewn with a waterproof fabric like ripstop or Goretex.

I purchased the online PDF version, which comes in sizing 0 to 20.  I used size 16 and made the unlined version.

My jacket does look like the photographs and the drawings.  In looking at my photos I did notice that my sleeves have more wearing/style ease in them.  It could be because of the sizing.  Note: the sleeve cap also has quite a bit of ease in it. 

Closet Core did an excellent job of providing information on the construction of the jacket.  A few years ago, they hosted a sew-a-long and posted multiple blogs on how to best construct the jacket.  The pattern instructions were very good too. 

There is so much to like about the jacket.  My likes are:
  • The style of it.  I've wanted an anorak fashioned jacket for a while,  But hesitated on making it, thinking it was too labor intensive for a basic jacket.  Since making my first one, I think it is a great sewing projects. 
  • The construction is loaded with different sewing techniques to practice.  Top-stitching, flat fell seams, installing a zipper, installing snaps and grommets.
  • The hood.  It is great for keeping my hands free if it rains while I'm out shopping.
  • The length of the jacket.  Perfect for getting in and out of the car multiple times while running errands.
  • The pockets.  Love them: the style and construction.

There is one dislike for my first jacket.  And that is, I didn't do a FBA.  I should have.  There is enough room across the front of my jacket.  But in the bust area, there isn't enough length to keep the drawstring completely parallel to the floor.  That's a minor flaw that I can easily correct.  Closet Core has a tutorial on how to make a FBA without a dart.  
The fabric that I used is a Stretch Cotton Twill that I purchased from Mood fabrics a few years ago.  This fabric is no longer available.  But they have a huge selection of twills in stock if you are interested.   

Along with the pattern I purchased the Kelly Anorak Hardware Kit. I loved having the kit.  It made tackling the snap and grommet installation easy.  No extra trips to the store to find the right size or style.  Also, there is a tutorial to help with installing them.  I didn't use the zipper or the drawstring due to the color of my jacket.  I'll just save it for another project down the road.

The only thing that I altered was the length of the sleeves. Now, they fall about an inch past my wrist bone.  So they are a little on the long side.  But that's okay.

I enjoyed making this jacket.  I'm so glad that Rhonda and I decided to go ahead with our mini sew-a-long.  It encouraged me to get it done in time for the spring/winter/summer weather in Chicago. Lol

I will make the jacket again.  At least once more for myself.  I want a jacket with a quilted lining, and I'll do the FBA next time.  My DD loved my jacket.  So I have to make one for her too. ;-)  This is a great sewing project for other sewists.  Especially if your are wanting to try some of the sewing techniques mentioned above.  You'll have a great looking jacket.  One to be proud of ;-)

Parting Shot:  My silly out take.  We always try to have a little fun during the photo shoot. 

Happiness in the Sewing Studio!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Kelly Anorak Jacket -Part1

My work in process is the Kelly Anorak jacket. This is certainly the season for it.  The weather is typical midwest Chicago.  One day it's 75 degrees and the next day it's 37 degrees. 

Rhonda and I are doing our mini challenge and hoped that others will join us.  We had so much fun with our cargo pants challenge we are doing another one.

Anyway, I'm about half way finished with my jacket and here are a few of the progress pictures.

I chose to do the unlined version with the hood.  This version requires a lot of flat fell seams and some Hong Kong seam finishings.  Great ways to finish up an unlined jacket. 

I hope to finish my jacket early next week. Please stay tune for the next post.

Thank you and happy sewing!


Monday, April 12, 2021

A Little Bag For A Very Special Lady - Kwik Sew KS4381

During my lifetime, I have met so many wonderful people. And it has been such a blessing to know them and to hear about their life's journey.  About a decade ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Samantha Helgerson. She was a student at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education.  At one time in her life, she was able to walk with assistance.  But because of her unique health challenges, she is now unable to walk.  I won't go into further detail on how she got to this point.  What I will talk about is her courage and perseverance.  

Sam is a winner!  She is one of the most positive individuals I've ever met.  When you meet her, she always has a smile on her face and she has nothing but positive things to say.  She doesn't allow anything to get in her way of achieving her goals or having a great time.  She lives on her own with her cat named Maya.  Sure she needs daily assistance, but that is only to help her get from point A to point B.

Sam enjoys all types of music.  She has a catalog of CDs that rivals any DJ's.  One of her favorite artists is Tyrese Gibson.  A few years ago, she went to see him in concert and had the pleasure of meeting him afterwards.

Sam is a college graduate, who is continuing her education online due to the pandemic.  When asked why she continues to further her education, her response is always, "Why not?  I want to complete my dream."

Her glowing personality and attitude makes me smile every time I think of her.  So, when she tells my DD that she would love to have some greens and cornbread, I make it for her.  And when my DD told me that Sam decided to continue her education after recently graduating, I decided to make her a bag to carry her things in.

I used Kwik Sew K4381 to make it.  This pattern was used to help me with the design aspect of the bag.  It was not large enough and the design of the straps were not long enough to go over the handles of her wheel chair.  So I had to make them longer and added adjustable slide buckles so the straps could be adjusted once over the handles of her chair.

In keeping with following some pattern review protocols:

The pattern description.  It was vague. Bag.  I'll add, wheel chair bag with extended flap with velcro closure.  Adjustable straps for chair handles.  Large roomy bag with zipper pocket on the inside.

The size of the bag was too small to carry a notebook and a text book.  I expanded the size: width, depth, and length.  The bag looks like the bag pictured, only much larger.

This was a very simple bag to make.  Nothing in the original instructions was confusing or difficult to follow.  I was able to finish it in a few hours.

I purchased the canvas fabric from JoAnn's Home Dec Department.  Sam's favorite color is light blue.  I used a quilter's cotton for the lining.  I thought it was a fun print.

I liked how the bag turned out.  It was easy to make.  My only dislike is that it's original size was too small.  I searched and searched for a bag pattern that would work without the enlargements that I made and couldn't find anything.

It was a pleasure to make Sam happy.  I don't know if I'd make the bag again.  I guess if Sam asked for another, I would make it with no hesitation.

I do recommend it to others who need a bag of this design.  It could be adapted to fit a standard wheel chair or a motorized one,

Happy Sewing!

Parting Shots:  Photo 1 -  Sam at her college graduation.  Photo 2 - Sam meeting Tyrese Gibson at his concert.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Is All That Top Stitching Worth It?- V9304

Is all that top stitching worth it?  Of course it is.   There are so many functional and decorative reasons to add topstitching to a garment.  For this particular pair of pants, it is mostly used as a decorative design element.   Just looking at the pattern envelope, the eye is drawn to two things:  The topstitching and the pockets.  In this case, it is a beautiful way to showcase the design lines of this "cargo" pants.

For sewists, we know that topstitching has many functional benefits too.  It helps keep edges flat creating a crisp edge around the pockets, necklines, cuffs and other areas of a garment.  Topstitching also makes seams strong and holds fabric layers together.  Quite a bit of all of these benefits are in these pants due to the enormous amount of topstitching.

There are two things needed in doing all of this topstitching:  time and patience.  It probably took me three times as long to make these pants because of it.  Every seam has one or two rows of topstitching.  

Making good stitching for me is a matter of taking my time and patience.  I have at least two sewing machine feet designed to help make the stitches.  But I never use them.  I rely on the edge of the Satin foot and the placement of the needle position, I guess I could start using the other feet more, but it's easy for me to use the same ole method I've used for decades.  So in the end, I just take my time and guide the fabric with the same amount of pressure to produce nice, even stitching. It is a nice design element.  

That being said, here is more on the review of the pattern, Vogue V9304, designed by Kathryn Brenne.

The pattern description is:  Misses pants semi-fitted, pull-on pants have elasticized waist, drawstring, yokes, and pocket variations.  Fabric to be used should be two-way stretch knits (50% cross grain) like double knits, ponte.

The pattern is available in sizes 6 to 22.  I used 16 with a few modifications.

My pants look like the drawing and photos of the pants. I made view A.  I wanted to really test making them before I tried the back pockets and the little stitched slashes at the back of the knee.  Pockets are one of the design elements that I am focusing on this year.   

Often I stray away from following instructions to the letter.  But for these pants, I did.  Particularly the instructions for the pockets.  I wanted to make sure they turned out right.  The instructions seemed a little weird.  It was like making the pockets wrong side out. literally.  The finished pockets do show raw edges on the outside of the pants.  

My likes:
  • All of that time and patience to topstitch.  The nerd in me thinks this is so fun. 
  • The seaming of the pants.
  • The method for forming the pockets.
  • The yoke and elastic casing.
  • Really, my dislike is on me.  I needed to adjust the crotch seam.  The front is a little too long (1") and the back crotch seam a little too short (1.5").  I was so busy thinking and working on all the rest, I fail to make these small adjustments.  They are not a deal breaker for the pants.  These adjustments would provide slightly better look and comfort.

The fabric that I used is a ponte knit from So Sew Fabrics.  It's of the same quality as the ponte knit that I've purchased from Mood.  So both are good sources for ponte knit.

My two little adjustments are:  lengthen the pant legs and use a slightly deeper seam allowance at the center front seam below the yoke.

I like how these pants turned out.  I will make at least one more pair, view B.  I do recommend this pattern to other sewists.  I was surprised to see not many people tried this pattern yet. The copyright is 2018.  Maybe is because of all that top stitching or the construction of the pockets.  All you need is a little time and patience,  And it's done.

Anyway, I do recommend the pattern.  You'll have a unique pair of pants that are comfortable and stylish,

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Custom Made Sneakers!

Finally today I'm able to take some time to blog about the shoemaking workshop that I took in March.  There is always so much going on.  And I'm forced to choose between blogging and sewing.  You know which one wins.  ;-)  Instagram has me spoiled.  I can snap a picture, write a brief description, and post in a matter of minutes.  Blogging takes a little more effort.  

Anyway, back to my shoemaking experience.  At first, I was very skeptical about taking it online. This workshop was offered through the Haute Couture Club of Chicago.  In the past, the Chicago School of Shoemaking has given presentations on making all types of leather goods.  At these presentations, we learned about the school, courses and all types of wonderful things to make. I was intrigued by the possibility of me, little ole me, being able to make my own shoes one day.

And, that day came on March 27, 2021.

Again, my course was online.  My sneaker kit could be mailed to me or I could pick it up.  I picked up my kit a few days before the class.  The school workroom is fabulous.  When I entered the front door, I knew I would be back.  Back to take another class in person.  There were all types of sewing machines, workstations, tools, projects and leather all about the room.  I was in a "crafting" candy store.

My course was the beginner's sneakers class, taught by Yohance Lacour.  Mr. Lacour presented to the club members March 2020, right before the pandemic.  He makes beautifully custom made sneakers and handbags.  He is an excellent instructor.  He is very thorough and patient.  No student is left behind.  He makes sure of that.  Additionally, he explains each step to make sure the students understand the methodology of the shoemaking process.

Before the course, we received an email with the zoom meeting link along with some preliminary instructions that needed to be completed before the workshop.  They were cutting out the pattern, shoes, and marking and punching out holes for sewing and eyelets.

All of the sewing is done by hand.  Waxed thread and needle are included in the kit as well as shoe soles, shoe strings, your choice of leather, and pattern.  I purchased a large hole puncher with multiple sizes.

The length of the class is 3.5 hours.  I was able to complete one shoe during that time.  After the class I finished the second shoe.  The eyelets that I had at home did not completely curl to the wrong side of the leather.  So I went to JoAnn's Fabrics to purchase larger eyelets which were perfect.

I thoroughly enjoyed the shoemaking process and hope to make a more detailed pair when I feel comfortable going to the school for instructions.  The school does offer more virtual sneaker courses if you are interested and are unable to travel to the school.  Check out their website.  There maybe a course that you'd like to take.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience.  It was so fun.

Happy Sewing!



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