Pink Kelly

If late June seems like a weird time to share a midweight Kelly anorak: I do not disagree, but I have reasons! One is synchronicity, as I sewed this jacket in 2017 for a trip to England, and I considered making another version for my summer 2022 trip to England until I ran out of time (mostly I sew things; occasionally I go to England?). Another is preparation, since I’m also considering modifying this pattern to make a raglan-sleeved rain shell, and I wanted to get reacquainted with it first. Third is record-keeping, since I have at various times considered leaving this jacket outside a fire station in a basket. But actually I’ve been wearing it a lot lately.

Now take a trip back with me to 2017! Shimmer shimmer shimmer…wait, was 2017 awful?! Cripes almighty. Anyway, I made this coat, and it was the longest and most involved project I had made at the time. It took me 3 hours to assemble and cut the pattern, and 4 hours to cut the fabric (main and underlining). The outer is Kaufman Ventana twill in Coral, and the underlining is an old Cotton and Steel quilting cotton bought in a misguided flush of love with the vague idea of making curtains. Instead I quickly and comprehensively took against it, and then years later shoved it into this coat.

This was a mistake, as I continued disliking it, and it made the better butter bitter. Not that this Coral twill was best butter to begin with – I happened to be in New York before starting this project, and I combed through Mood looking for a non-stretch dark olive twill, but when I couldn’t find any I settled for this (it was the boom times for Millennial pink!).

So why then spend 3 hours prepping, 4 hours cutting, and a dozen hours sewing materials I didn’t like (22 ½ hours with today’s inflation)?? Because I wanted a raincoat to take to England.

And no, none of these materials is water-resistant.

And so yes, the flaws in the final product are my fault. I actually really like the pattern. It’s achievable without being dumbed-down, and owning nice dense patterns like this has inoculated me against buying some really simple ones (it’s hard to pay $16 for like a boxy shell top with 2 pattern pieces when I once paid $12 for a classic coat pattern with 19). I sewed a straight size 14, and while there’s nothing remarkable about the fit, there’s also nothing wrong or uncomfortable. The support materials are really strong and enabled the me with 5 fewer years of experience to sew a coat that nobody would blink at.

Unfortunately, that stops at the outside, because I really didn’t bring my A game to the innards.

I was sewing to a deadline, and to save a few hours I serged and topstitched the seams. It’s probably true that I couldn’t have flat-felled effectively with the added bulk of the underlining, but my messily-applied, inexpert-looking, mismatched-thread serging bums me out.

The fact that I’m still wearing this coat 5 years later really shows that it’s worth taking the time. Relative to its lifespan, it would have been trivial to add bias binding! Also cute! Again, this is a me-fault, not a pattern fault.  

My one complaint about the pattern re: pattern is the hood. It went in fine, but I just can’t use it. This might be true of every hood, but I wonder if a drawstring wouldn’t corral it a bit. Right now it blows off my head in windy weather and obfuscates it otherwise. I can pretty much only see my feet when I wear it, so if I put it up, I get hit by every car.

Separately, it feels like a lot of me-color right up around my face.

This biggest reason I am still wearing this coat is the hardware. This kit is the bomb. It makes the final product look completely legit. Even though my Kelly soaks through immediately and weighs a ton in a drizzle, even though the inside makes me wince with embarrassment, even though I don’t like the fabric and my hood is trying to murder me, I can’t quit those cord ends. Every time I’ve hesitated over keeping this coat, the quality of the hardware reels me back in.

And I’ve been having a Kelly renaissance lately due to another pattern: the True Bias Marlo. My apartment is always cold with a deep and abiding cold so I wear my long Marlos a lot. And if I want to dash out for an errand or a walk, and I need another layer, the Kelly anorak is the only jacket I have that covers a long Marlo (a foot and a half of sweater oozing out from under a cropped jacket is not a look).

Anyway, 5 years on and I still don’t have a raincoat! I saw a cute drawstring raincoat on a woman at a farmer’s market (I told her I liked it and she stared straight into my eyes and whispered “IT’S FROM ZARA”) that looked a lot like this pattern, but I feel like I could get there from the Kelly. Alternatively I could just sew another straightforward Kelly out of something water-resistant, since its proven usefulness is in the length. Or maybe I’ll make another cotton twill Kelly in a color I actually like, and just get wet.

Since I don’t have time to do this before my trip, I have plenty of time to think about it! We shall see!

Pattern: CC Kelly anorak

Pattern cost: $11.90

Size: 14

Supplies: 4 yards Kaufman Ventana twill in Coral, underlining from stash, $31.44; hardware kit, $34.50; thread, $3

Total time: 18.75 hours

Total cost: $80.84

14 thoughts on “Pink Kelly

  1. Have you considered waterproofing this pretty pink jacket? You’d want to carefully evaluate the chemicals in a waterproofing product, including waxing the cloth. Amazon reviews have lots of suggestions for how best to use such products.

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    1. I haven’t! I tried using Otter Wax once before on a bag, but I hadn’t thought of that as an option. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  2. I second the benefits of a good Nikwax application, even a dishtowel would get less soaked. But if you walk a lot in wet weather, let me sing the praises of softshell. Good one, like the stuff from Malden Mills, moderates the wind, keeps you warm without suffocation. And the Jalie city coat is perfect for it, the only pattern truly designed for pedestrians

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    1. Ooh, fascinating…first time I’ve heard of this category of fabrics! And hey!! Malden Mills is headquartered near me! Thanks for the tip!

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  3. I love your reviews so much. They make me laugh and occasionally snort out my breakfast. I have also been considering the Kelly recently so this post is especially appreciated. Thank you!

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    1. That’s too kind!! 😀 I have heard a vague rumor of people struggling with the armscye/shoulder fit, but I couldn’t chase it down (it might have originated on Instagram, which is an internet neighborhood I don’t go to). I was fine with it personally! Good luck with your coat project!

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  4. Thirding, fourthing or fifthing the waterproofing suggestion. I love the color and the lining! The shape of the hood looks good, so a drawstring would probably resolve the visiblity issue. And maybe some contrast trim there would alleviate your color concerns? Worth a try. You can still bin it (and by bin I mean donate to a lucky recipient) if that doesn’t work.

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  5. I love everything about your Kelly – the fabric, the color, the hardware, how it looks on you – everything!

    I really want to sew one, too. I’ve just been so listless lately. Hoping it will pass. I probably should just stop ingesting the daily news.
    Chris

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    1. Oof, I hope so too. I completely understand why. I’m having the opposite problem – when I’m overthinking projects and missing meals to sew, I’m definitely focusing too tightly in order to shut out everything else, and that’s where I’m at. Hopefully your mood, the news, and the world will begin improving soon. ❤️

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