It’s always nice to be back with a blog for Felicity Fabrics. When our blogger group got a sneak peek of some fabrics due to come out, there was one that really caught my eye. It was this floral softshell fabric. Navy floral on the right side and a delightful bubblegum pink fleece on the underside. As soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for a Closet Core Kelly Anorak.
As it is a softshell Felicity Fabrics recommended not pre washing this fabric. It is best to just spot clean. To freshen it up I could hang it outside on the washing line. I’ve never used a softshell before in sewing and when this one arrived it felt so soft on the inside, it is really good quality.
In preparation for sewing my Kelly Anorak, I read as many blogs and videos that I could find online. I was mostly looking for any advice around the pattern and tips for sewing with a softshell. I found a couple of Guthie and Ghani videos that helped a lot. I also follow #kellyanorak on Instagram for lots of inspiration.
Before cutting the fabric I studied the sizing carefully to pick the best size for me. Since I wasn’t lining it I knew I wanted a nice fit on this jacket. Going by my measurements and previous experience with other Closet Core Patterns I chose a size 10. As a result this size worked out really well. Though if I make a lined jacket next time, I would make a 12 perhaps to allow extra wiggle room.
I have wanted to make this pattern for so long but never braved it until now. I had it on my make 9 for 2020 but still kept putting it off. I think by committing myself to making a blog with it spurred me on and I didn’t want to back out.
The Kelly Anorak is described as a classic shape with a modern cut. It can be made either lined or unlined. For this one I chose unlined since my softshell was fleecy on the inside and I wanted the fleece to be seen. It features a 2 piece cuffed sleeve, optional drawstring waist, gusseted flap pockets and a zipper placket with snap buttons. You can also choose between a collar and hood. So many new skills for me to learn and I was super excited to make it.
In terms of needles for sewing this softshell fabric, I have mixed feelings about this. I tried microtex, universal 80 and stretch 80. I found the stretch 80 to be the best one throughout sewing, though I did get a few skipped stitches so when I did I just sewed back over those again. So test a few needles on a scrap piece of fabric and see what works for the fabric and your machine best. Just watch out for any bulky seams as it risks breaking the needle. I used standard navy thread for my jacket, though I do wish I used a pink bobbin thread to match the fleece, so I would recommend this!
When I was pressing this fabric throughout my project I was cautious with the heat. At first I used a pressing cloth but actually found with low-medium heat it coped okay. I would say always test a piece of fabric with your iron to see how it copes. Every iron can be different.
Some other tips I have for sewing with softshell are:
Use clips, avoid pins in case they leave marks in the fabric. Click here for clips sold on Felicity Fabrics. When you are cutting this fabric use pattern weights rather than pins too. I used cans of soup!
Seams can be bouncy and since you can’t use pins I highly recommend using Wondertape.
Use ribbon to conceal the hem edge, hood and neckline seam. This creates a nice tidy finish, I also hand stitched the ribbon down.
Just put your foot down and go and hope for the best.
I found the Wondertape to be a lifesaver throughout making this jacket.I used Wondertape to stick the pockets down, the drawstring casing, the hem, hood facing and for any flat felled seams. I used a whole roll of Wondertape!
Once I had all my pattern pieces prepared with notches and interfacing I got started making my jacket. I started off using the booklet of instructions as I have the paper pattern. Although as I started to get into the more complex steps such as the pockets and from that point onwards I turned to the Kelly Anorak Sew Along. Click here for the sew along I used. I think without the sew along I would have found it more difficult just using the booklet. The sew along breaks it all down into easy understandable steps. There are also very clear real life photographs for you to refer to and compare.
I was a little nervous about sewing gusseted pockets and was tempted to just do patch pockets. Having said that I was determined to give them a go and actually taking it step by step I got there. Anything I wasn’t sure about I probably read the instruction about 3 times!
One of the parts of the jacket I was dreading was the zip and zipper placket. Looking at the jacket I couldn’t comprehend how it all went together. But going along with the sew along instructions I zipped my way through it no problem.
Constructing the hood was quite easy and straightforward. Although rather than topstitching the facing to my hood I chose to hand sew it for a neater finish since it would be very exposed.
The sleeves are constructed from two pieces and then cuffs added. For my sleeves I decided to just overlock the inside seams and not do any flat felled seams here. I did bias bind the armholes for a neat finish with bubblegum pink bias binding to match the fleece. Next time I would actually omit the cuff and cut the sleeve pieces a bit longer so it is a boxy sleeve style.
The final step of the jacket was adding the poppers. Since the rest of my hardware was silver, I put silver poppers on my jacket. Usually adding poppers doesn’t take too long for me. Although I did take so much more time doing these poppers. I think because I had already invested so many hours into this jacket so far, I wasn’t about to fall at the last hurdle.
I paid careful attention where I placed my poppers to ensure they closed over the zip placket ok. The softshell was quite hard to pierce a hole through with my stitch ripper so I made a teeny hole with my LDH snips. They are super sharp and perfect for the job. Taking my time with each one I made it to the end.
It’s safe to say this is by far my most favourite and probably impressive garment I have made in all the 5 years I have been sewing. I learnt new skills, used a new type of fabric and it fits perfectly. Best of all I feel fabulous in it!
With this pattern, preparation is key. Make sure you have everything you need ready. Take your time with every step, as the saying goes measure twice cut once. I love a quick sewing project but with this one I took my time, I didn’t overload myself with too much in each sewing session. Then after a number of evenings it was finished. Ta da!
I definitely think it is something a confident beginner could take on now that I have done it. While this softshell was a little tricky to work with at times it was so worth it and isn’t it gorgeous.
I’ve worn my anorak out already and on quite a windy evening, safe to say I was super cosy and it kept the wind out.
Other garments you could make with this fabric are the Tilly and the Buttons Eden Coat or Jalie 2679. If you get this fabric I would love to see what you make, tag me SewNo65 on Instagram.
Thanks Caroline and Fliss for this stunning fabric, I just love it!
If you like this fabric or anything else on Felicity Fabrics, why not treat yourself and use my discount code Rebekah10 for 10% off your order.
Thanks for reading,