Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Closet Core Kelly Anorak (Unlined) in Moss Green Linen - double pockets and hood/collar mod


I found this pattern in my stash that I bought years ago in Nashville at a craft store. I've always wanted to sew it, so I decided to work on it.


Fabric4C22 MOSS Softened Linen (7.1 oz/yd2) 

Hardware and tools: 

Size: 8


  • double pockets: in the flap and out of the flap
  • shortened hem by 2"
  • sleeve lift alteration, following Sew Sew Live's method
  • hood and collar separation alteration
  • removed cuff placket and just sewed regular cuffs
  • shortened sleeves ~1"
  • flipped placket positioning (more about that later)

The good and the bad

There's a lot I don't like about this jacket, mostly because of how difficult the construction was (partially my fault). But first, the good:

  • love my two way separating zipper choice
  • double pockets
  • very useful jacket

And that's it lol. Well a useful jacket does make up for a lot. But as for the bad:

  • I bought the paper pattern, which is a pattern type I don't work with much anymore, and I HATE it. So I ended up cutting the size I needed and gluing all the pieces to thicker paper so that I wouldn't have to deal with tissue, also because I didn't want to trace onto new paper. That was a tedious process.
  • I sewed a muslin and the sleeves were very restrictive. It seems like they were drafted how a blazer's sleeve would be, so it would look nice when arm is at the side, but this makes it hard to lift the arm and move it freely. I bet a lot of people had this issue. An anorak is in the realm of active outerwear, so you want the arms to be able to move freely. Luckily, I was able to do a sleeve lift and fix the issue completely (linked above). I had to add 1.5" to the underarm and the sleeve, so a total of 3". Crazy! 
  • The interfacing I used was not ideal for this fabric. When folded and pressed, the fabric did not crease well at all. It was annoying to deal with. Will go back to my go-to interfacing in the future.
  • My pocket construction could've been changed to make it easier to sew and attach. 
  • The snaps were difficult to install correctly with my too lightweight 10 oz hammer. Going outside to set them on the concrete ground and also using my dad's much heavier hammer helped (gotta get me a heavier hammer now).
  • Flipping the placket was probably unnecessary, and made my brain hurt more than I needed, haha. Speaking of...

Flipped placket

So, I have a storebought anorak that I noticed the placket is sewn on the other side, flap on top of right side, as opposed to the pattern having the flap on top of the left side. I didn't buy a zipper with pull on left side as instructed, but my zipper matched the construction of my storebought anorak. So, I had to do the mentally taxing task of flipping the placket by reversing the wording on the pattern pieces and the instructions. Right side became wrong side, or right side became left side. I was able to do it successfully, but in the end I don't think it really mattered how the flap opens and which side the zipper pull is on. Sometimes I get obsessed with the small details in sewing, sigh. 

might want to redo the top 2 snaps

Double pockets

It shocked me that the pattern's pocket flap is just a fashion flap and isn't functional. I decided to change that by cutting a separate pattern piece with out the flap section and sewing it on top of the pocket, so that there would be a pocket using the flap and behind the flap. But the way I sewed it wasn't ideal and could've been changed. Next time, I'll either do that (let me know if you want to know what I did) or sew welt pockets. 

Separate hood and collar

I also didn't like that the collar is attached to the hood. I like a separate collar and hood. Thankfully, my storebought anorak has that, so I was able to follow the construction of that one. To remove the collar part from the hood, I just drew a line straight down from the top to the bottom where the hood attaches to the jacket. Also added a 1" drawstring placket for the hood. Instead of grommets, I used a straight buttonhole. 

Snap setting tips

The kit I bought contained the snap setting tools and a hole punch. The snap setters worked well, but the hole punch was basically defective. Luckily I had another stronger hole punch and used that instead. They say a hole punch isn't completely necessary (you could use an awl or cut with scissors very carefully), but having one makes the job a lot easier. 
  • Definitely use at least a 16 oz hammer to set the snaps, unless you have strong arms. 
  • Hole punch one side of the snaps, then line it up where the other side will be, mark it and hole punch it. This is the easiest way to align all the snaps as perfectly as you can.
  • Unless you have a very big anvil, set the snaps outside on some concrete, instead of your table. The concrete is a much stiffer surface and won't "give" when you hammer, so you'll be able to hit it less. Also you don't want to crack/break your table after all. 
Future mods

For all the work I put into this jacket, I think I should sew it again. I probably have all the flipped placket instructions written out enough, but I would like to shorten the jacket a bit more, maybe 2 more inches. I'd also change the pocket construction again. The jacket is a bit wide at the bust though, I might sew a smaller size. I already cut it out to size, but I can probably grade it down a cheat way by just removing width vertically from the shoulder to the hem. It is broad at the shoulder anyway, so it should be fine. I would use a molded plastic zipper next time, because the metal zipper is too heavy and drags the hood down, so the drawstrings don't stay scrunched to tighten the hood. 

always enjoy my custom labels though!

Grainline Cortland Trench in Light Gray Linen

Been on a coat/jacket sewing kick lately. Living in Los Angeles, it doesn't get too cold, so this Grainline Cortland Trench is perfect for the weather. 


Fabric: 4C22 SILVER GRAY Softened linen for the outer. Cotton+Steel quilting cotton from my stash for the binding (leftovers from a dress I made a very long time ago, always loved this fabric)

Size: 0 (smallest size)

Mods: none at all! Made a muslin - sleeves fit great, length was good. 

This pattern is an unlined A-line shaped trench coat, with bias bound seams. For some reason, there aren't many FOs of this pattern out there. I'm not really sure why but maybe I can speculate: the design is a little plain for some people; not many need a short unlined coat, more like a jacket anyway; bias bound seams scare a lot of people; released during the height of the pandemic so it slipped under the radar of a lot of people; smallest size finished bust measurement is 41" which is quite high. 

Pros and cons

Whatever the reason, it's a shame because this is a great pattern. It's very well drafted; all my seams lined up well. The collar pieces were "a dream" to sew up. It was my first time sewing a bias cut under collar and that actually worked really well. I would like to incorporate it into other patterns. Also love how nicely the collar stands up. Probably one of my favorite collars I've sewn thus far, haha. 

I did make the smallest size, which as mentioned ends up being a 41" bust, which is 9" of bust ease for me. If it were storebought, it almost looks like a medium on me. Especially with the A line shape where it gets even wider at the hip at 45.5", also 9" of hip ease. I would love if it were more like a 39" bust, which would skim over my handknit sweaters well. I thought about grading it down manually, or scaling it down on the computer, but I'm worried that would introduce other problems. The most I might do is to remove the A-line shape at the hip. 

handstitched collar stand was actually very quick and looks very nice!

A hybrid of seam finishes

So I didn't love that all the seams in this coat are bias bound (HK seam method). I much prefer flat felled seams, so that's what I opted for on the seams. The facing and the pocket edge pieces are bias bound. Unfortunately, the seam allowances on this pattern are only 1/2", which is not typically used for flat felled seams. But I made it work anyway. For the most part, it was alright, doable. It's a good thing my fabric is not too thick but if it were thicker, 5/8" seam allowances would definitely be required. I had trouble for the seam up the side and the sleeve, which is always a difficult seam but made harder with the narrow allowance. I'll definitely alter the pattern to have 5/8" seam allowances if I make it again.

Different welt pocket construction

The pocket construction confounded me before I finally understood that it was sewn in a cheat way: the welt is sewn by itself first. Then it is placed on the pocket opening and a rectangle is sewn around the finished welt, then it is cut open. Usually, the welt is created as a result of the rectangle sewn. The pattern's way is quite clever, but you need to stitch the short edges of the welt down at the end, which could end up looking unprofessional if not done carefully. Handstitching would probably be best. 

Instead of this way, I opted to follow how it's done in this Thread Theory tutorial. For each pocket, I had 4 pieces: 2x welt facings, 2x pocket linings. For the welt facing, I used bottom pocket bag at half length; for the pocket lining, I used the top pocket bag. Then I serged them together (the only time I used the serger for this project), so you have 2 identical pieces of fabric for each welt pocket. If I had enough linen, I would've cut the facing and lining together. It was still quite easy and ends up looking very professional thankfully. I still bias bound the pocket edges per instruction.

my pretty sewing label :)

I think this "coat" will serve me well in the mild climate I live in. If I can figure out how to remove the A-line shape at the hip (surprisingly harder than I thought), I would sew this again. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Paola Workwear Jacket in Wool Tweed


This is my third Paola Workwear Jacket and this time I made it in wool!

It was my first time sewing with woven wool fabric. I've sewn with merino wool fabric plenty of times, I've just been holding off sewing with woven wool because I really dislike having to dry clean, which is usually what you're supposed to do with wool garments. 


Pattern: Paola Workwear Jacket from https://fabrics-store.com/

Fabric: Wool Blend Tweed Coating (90/10 wool/nylon, 369gsm or 10oz) from The Fabric Store Online. 1.5 yards. mystery pink-purple cotton poplin in stash for Hong Kong seams. 

Size: 0/2 (their smallest size)

Mods - many that I added in previous iterations  + some new ones this time around: 

  • 21.5" body length
  • 1" longer sleeves
  • deeper body hem
  • hem sewn the way Helen's Closet's Pona Jacket is
  • Hong Kong (HK) seam finishing
  • Top pocket piece as bottom pockets, 1 inner top pocket scaled down to 86% (with original hem allowance)
inner upper pocket, if you can see it

How I washed the wool

I really wanted a wool jacket, so I decided to buy some. And I got to wondering, if I can handwash my handknit wool sweaters, why can't I do the same with sewn wool garments? I started researching about it and read some conversations on various forums and it seems like handwashing wool is something that people do, as long as you are careful with it. I think clothing stores just tell you to dry clean because it is the easiest, though more expensive, way to handle wool. 

So I tried to be careful washing this wool tweed: soak in a bucket with my typical Kookaburra wool wash that I use for knits. Then squeezed out as much water as I could. Then put the fabric in a mesh laundry bag and spin in washing machine for a couple minutes. I stopped the spin early, to reduce agitation as much as possible. It seemed to have come out okay! It is a loose tweed so it is definitely more delicate than something like wool melton. You can try it as well, but just be careful. I'm not liable for any damages, haha. 

Pattern quality

I've made a lot of changes and added a lot of features to this pattern over time. It is a pretty good FREE pattern, but the instructions are a bit sparse and vague. I noticed a drafting issue on the shoulder seams once, which I've since corrected. The front/back shoulder seam was 3/4" longer than the other, which is pretty egregious to me. However, I think it's something most people don't even notice, especially since this pattern is so popular. I didn't even notice for my first iteration until after when I was wondering why my plaid didn't match up. Fabric can stretch and ease, which is why some wouldn't even notice. 

On sleeves (gets very technical)

I will give them high praise for drafting a great sleeve though. Some patterns have sleeves that are very hard to move around in - restrictive when you try to lift or move your arms. This has always worried me when I sewed sleeved woven garments in the past and I thought I was shaped weird and just didn't know how to fix a problem like that. After sewing this pattern, I realized that this sleeve issue isn't a problem at all because the sleeve cap height is fairly short. For my size, it's 4 3/4" tall, which worked great for me. Some other patterns have the height at 6" or more. Here is some photos explaining what I'm talking about. A taller sleeve cap is typically used for garments like coats and blazers, where as it states, "movement is not a priority". That phrase sounds so ridiculous to me. I don't know when I would ever be in a situation where I would prioritize style over movement. Arm movement is ALWAYS important to me. 

I don't think you will have this issue with this pattern, but since I'm already talking about it, if you do find yourself needing an adjustment like this, Sew Sew Live has a video about when she adjusted it for her Kelly Anorak. The link will take you to the exact timestamp when she starts talking about it.

Here is me being silly and incidentally shows you me moving my arms freely. 

If I had a carousel plugin on this blog, you could switch back and forth quickly and see me dance.

On HK seams

HK seams was also new to me. Since it's an unlined jacket and too thick to do flat felled seams, I had to do HK seams. The process was quite long but it wasn't too difficult. Sometimes I wasn't able to catch the binding on the second line of stitching, so I'll need to work on my technique a bit more. 1 1/4" binding width was a good choice though.

Some project grievances

The pattern calls for 6" buttons but since I shortened it, I did 5 and positioned the way it is in this Pendleton jacket. Is it just me or are these buttons comically large? They are 1" buttons as called for in the pattern, but I think a 3/4" button would look better. I did some research and that's typically the size used for blazers and coats. I might buy the smaller size and redo all the buttons. And I guess sew up one edge of the buttonhole a bit so that they don't open up. 

Also, these patch pockets seem to make the jacket look not as polished as it could be. I'm thinking I could change them to welt pockets in the future. Though that's a bigger undertaking than changing buttons. 

Sewing with wool

Thankfully, since this wool is so thick and loopy, a lot of seam lines are semi-hidden, so wonky seam lines aren't as pronounced so I won't feel as obsessed about fixing them, which is great for me. It was also very satisfying to press. Which helped with this snowman-shaped craft wood I bought at Target to use as a makeshift clapper for only $1.50, originally $5 but on sale after the holidays. Score!

I can't wait to sew with wool again. I already bought several wool fabrics after. A 4th Paola could be in my future. Possibly with a bust dart added in, to make it more feminine. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Delicious Linen Joggers

I have a pair of Athleta joggers that I wear all the time. They are comfy, stylish, and fit well around my bigger than average calves lol. Which also means they are easier to take off or pull up around my calves. This is all due to the vertical panel along the inseam made of knit fabric, while the rest of the pants are made on woven non-stretch nylon. The only issue with them is that because they are made of nylon, they can get kinda sweaty and sticky over time. So, I wanted to make a more breathable pair. I saw that Athleta has linen joggers, but none that are just like this with the vertical stretch panel. So, I set out to make my own pair. 

stretch inseam panel
stretchy goodness

After calculating the minimum amount of fabric I would need, I bought 3/4 meter ZQ Merino in Acorn for $25.50, 1 1/4 Vintage Finish Linen in Acorn for $20.00, both from https://weare.thefabricstoreonline.com. Even though they have the same color name, they don't actually completely match, which I wanted, because I don't want the panel to be in a contrast color, as that isn't the look I'm going for. They still work together, but I do wish the shop would stock their linen and merino lines in matching colorways. Just saying. I actually have a ton of the merino left over. Since the inseam panel needs horizontal stretch, and the fabric only has selvedge to selvedge stretch (as it has no spandex content), I had to buy that amount to cover the full length of my inseam. With the leftovers, I could probably eek out a tank top or some accessories. However, next time, I might consider buying a shorter length and piecing the panels together. No one but me is really looking at my inseam anyway.

somewhat frumpy bum in linen heh

Also, I still have about 14 inches left over for the linen. I was probably going to add more pockets, but decided on only side pockets (which I used mostly a cotton fabric for), thus the extra amount. Wonder what I can make with the rest (dish cloths? contrast pockets for other pants?).

So, the first mission was to construct some well fitting pants, which I thus far have not accomplished. I tried a few years ago, but it was a struggle, and just didn't think about it again until now. Most will probably agree with me. Since I've been getting into drafting my own patterns (drafted a hoodie recently which was pretty fun), I decided I would draft my own for these. I did try to find a pattern with the exactly features of my Athleta joggers (vertical inseam panel, optional cargo pockets, woven joggers, knit waistband instead of casing), but there weren't any that had all of these features. 

girl in linen joggers posing cool
Having fun with posing 😎

I followed a tutorial online to create my first pair, using my own measurements and of the Athleta joggers. They were pretty bad. So, I followed another tutorial and incorporated some of the info from the first tutorial to create muslin #2. They ended up better but didn't fit like the Athleta's. 

Finally, I decided to do a rub off of the Athleta. Wasn't a true rub off, as I didn't have a surface I could pin in to, so I chalked a lot of lines and measured a lot to draft what I thought it would look like if deconstructed. Turns out, it was a success! However, NOW I realize that even though there is enough crotch depth, the butt did not look good, kinda made me look like I had a pancake butt, when my butt is actually very well toned thankyouverymuch. I didn't mess up on the rub off, it's just that I just realized how weird my butt looks in the Athleta's and now that was shown in muslin #3. Since I had been looking at my butt so much for the past week ( weeks? I think muslin #3 was created the week after I started on this project) and since I was already 3 muslins deep, I wanted to get the fit right. I checked the my pattern alterations book and assessed all my fit issues, along with more blog posts I found. I won't go in the nitty gritty of what I did exactly, because I didn't photograph the drafting process or any nice photos of me in the muslins, but I mostly fixed the fit issues. However, due to the nature of linen fabric, having quite fluid drape, my butt doesn't look that great in these, but they are better than the Athleta pair, trust me!

girl posing very cool
I know I look super cool posing next to cute and cuddly stuffed animals

After all the muslins (which was more like 3.5, since I reused one muslin and drafted new back pieces + all the additional changes I did to existing muslins), I was finally able to add the additional features, like side pockets and the vertical inseam panel. I also really wanted back pockets. I almost never use them, but half the purpose of back pockets are to make your butt look good. But alas, I was running out of steam drafting new pieces. Plus figuring out back patch pocket placement and size is kind of a headache in and of itself. I could do welt pockets instead, but ack, I haven't done those in forever, and I don't want to create a hideous welt pocket that can't be undone. Also didn't add the cargo pockets like the Athleta's. I use those quite often, but I decided these would be an at-home pair, where I won't need to be carrying so much stuff (I rarely use a purse or handbag, so I love "stylish" cargo pants for going in public).

side seam pocket
cotton lawn in pocket. ack!

Speaking of pockets, the side pockets are made of cotton lawn from my stash. Lawn may have been a bad idea though. I didn't want bulk in the pockets, but after finishing the pants, I read that lawn is not recommended for pockets, and that the pockets will develop holes before the pants will. Whoops. We'll see how they hold up over time. Next time, I'll probably use quilting cotton, or self fabric (depending on the pocket type, I don't want pocket fabric to be noticeable if my pockets gape open, like when sitting).

I also added interfacing to the waistband, using knit tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. In hindsight, this was not a good interfacing to use for this application. When the waistband is stretched, it creates weird wrinkles on the outer fabric. This is probably because the interfacing is being stretched to the point the adhesive dots get separated too much. Next time, I think I'll try a different interfacing, or elastic encased in the waistband.

This was also my first time drafting without seam allowances and adding them in when cutting. I was initially resistant about it, but it actually makes the fitting process and fit transfers to paper much easier. Plus, adding seam allowances on the fabric was not as difficult or annoying as I thought it would be, and you can add different amount of seam allowances each time you make the pattern, which is nice if you are a bit short on fabric, etc. So I highly recommend drafting/fixing sewing patterns without seam allowances! 

Despite all the potential issues, I'm loving my pants that I'm wearing right now. They look professional and fit better than the Athleta's. Kinda itching to make more now, with the other features I want.