Kelly Anorak

HelenHelen's Makes46 Comments

Kelly Anorak

Is there anything more satisfying then conquering a new sewing challenge? I don’t know about you, but when I tackle a project that involves techniques or fabrics that I have never used before, I feel such an amazing sense of accomplishment when I finish! This is one (of many) reasons why I love Closet Case Patterns.  Their patterns challenge avid sewists like myself to question what we consider possible when it comes to home sewing.  Jeans? Swimwear? Coats? Jackets? It’s all within reach when you really push yourself.  I feel I cannot express in words how much I love my Kelly Anorak, but I will try.

Kelly AnorakKelly Anorak Kelly Anorak

As soon as this pattern dropped I was completely smitten.  I’m not the only one because I have seen many fantastic versions so far. I live in a climate where layering is essential, which is one of the reasons why this pattern really appealed to me.  It is unlined, so it makes a great top layer and comfortably fits a sweater underneath without being too warm. This casual style goes with my everyday wardrobe and also feels very stylish without being stuffy.

Kelly Anorak

I squeeeeezed this jacket out of 3 yards of 45” wide fabric, with literally none left in case of an error.  It was the end of the bolt at Metro Textiles in New York and it was the exact colour and weight I wanted so I decided it was worth the risk.  The fabric is a medium weight cotton and silk blend with a crisp feel. In some lights, the silk has a bit of sheen and gives this make a unique look.  It also holds its shape well, which helps the pockets stay structured.  The gusseted pockets were another first for me, and they are absolutely delightful for putting all my things (and my hands!) in.

Kelly Anorak Pockets
Kelly Anorak

I made a quick muslin of the Kelly – just the front, back, and sleeves to check the fit.  I needed a bit more room in the back, so I did a broad back adjustment using a simple method outlined below. What a difference!  I am going to start doing this on all my projects, because it makes the garment more comfortable overall.  I have much more room to move my arms around, particularly forward.  Previously, I would not be able to do this without hiking up the jacket or at least not without fabric cutting uncomfortably into my arms. As you can see, I can get my arms all the way forward now and there is still a little pulling at the back of the armscye, so I am glad I made the adjustment. This method of BBA is simple, so if you are like me and experience discomfort when moving your arms, you should try one!

Kelly Anorak

Using this method, you simply cut around the lower edge of the armscye and move it outward. I cut right along the printed lines because they were more or less in the right place.  Then, use paper to fill in the gaps and true up the pattern lines.  It is not recommended to add more than 3/4″ of an inch using this method.  The nice thing is, you don’t have to change the sleeve or front of the pattern when doing it this way, but don’t forget to change your back yoke to match if making the Kelly!

Broad Back Adjustment
Kelly Anorak

Overall, I think the fit of the Kelly is spot on.  I like that you can place the drawstring wherever it looks good on you, and it is easy to shorten and lengthen the pattern to adjust for height.  I am 5’10, and I didn’t lengthen the pattern at all. Mostly this was due to my lack of extra fabric, but I actually really like the length as is.  For a raincoat, I may want it longer, but for this version, I am very happy :)

Kelly Anorak Kelly Anorak

Of course, every first time sewing project has its issues, right?  I made a little mistake on my front placket because I did not read the instructions fully (doh!) and sewed BOTH ends of my placket closed before turning it out, rather than just the bottom end.  I could not for the life of me figure out where I went wrong and why my placket was too short.  Finally when the hood went on I had an ‘oooooohhhhhhh’ moment and realized that the top of the placket didn’t need to be finished because it is intended to be enclosed in the hood. Below is a picture, so you can see how it is a bit short.  Thankfully, unless you are down at crotch level, you won’t notice, so It’s all good :)

Kelly Anorak Kelly Anorak

If you need a little help finding all the little pieces for this jacket, you can buy hardware kits from Closet Case Files or a raincoat specific version from Thread Theory.  I sourced my own but got essentially the same things. You need snaps, toggles, a zipper, and grommets (optional). This was my first experience installing snaps and it was really fun!  I’m sure my neighbors were wondering what the heck I was doing because it was so loud. It wasn’t too challenging, but I did run to the hardware store to grab an awl after my first few snaps.  Cutting through the layers of fabric and making a nice hole was just too much work.  The awl makes it super easy, so it was worth the $10.

Kelly Anorak Snaps Kelly Anorak Cuffs Kelly Anorak Drawstring

I opted for a custom binding on the hem and the neck, and included a little hanging loop made from the binding as well.  I love hanging loops, don’t you?  I sewed this loop securely to the neck before putting on the binding, so it is nice and stable. Next time, I think using the same binding fabric for the drawstring casing would be a nice touch.

Kelly Anorak Kelly Anorak

If you take your time, all the seams in the Kelly anorak can be hidden away, so the lack of lining doesn’t mean messy insides.  I used flat felled seams throughout my make, with the exception of the armholes.  I didn’t want any topstitching showing from the outside here, so I serged the arm holes with matching serger thread.

Kelly Anorak

There are two views of the Kelly, one with a hood and one with a collar.  I went for the hood version because I love the way a hood looks when it is down.  I’m not a big hood wearer, but I still like the aesthetics of a good hood from the back.

Kelly Anorak Kelly Anorak Hood
Kelly Anorak
Kelly Anorak

Well, that is my Kelly Anorak rundown! I love love LOVE  this make so much, and I definitely see another Kelly in my future…perhaps a raincoat version?  As far as conquering new sewing skills, this make included my first gusseted pocket, my first snaps, and my first time constructing a placket using this method. Talk about leveling up!  

Sew Forth & Conquer, people!

Kelly Anorak


About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

46 Comments on “Kelly Anorak”

  1. Absolutely beautiful! My favourite Kelly yet. I have some practically identical tan coloured cupro silk, so I might wholesale rip you off. I wonder how the silk would hold up in rain, though?

    1. DO IT! I think this colour for a jacket is just so nice :) The silk soaks up water like crazy, lol, so I definitely avoid wearing it on wet days. It dries pretty quickly, though, and hasn’t stained. I will have to be careful with it, but I think it is worth it!

      1. Good to know! I wonder if any of that water-guard spray type stuff would help protect it, might be worth a test.

  2. I love your Kelly! It’s beautiful and you should be proud. WOW. The colour is gorgeous and what a brilliant idea to make it from a cotton/silk blend (one of my favourite fabrics!). If you are going to make it again as a raincoat you might want to check out Dinetex at Thread Theory (which is “gortex” but that’s a brand name). I’ve been eyeing that fabric for a hat – Morgan can hardly keep it on the shelf. She has “pumpkin” which made me think of it when I saw your Kelly. (I don’t have any connection to Thread Theory by the way – I just love her fabric and patterns) :)

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! Great tip about the Thread Theory dintex, it looks like she is ordering more tomorrow and you can pre-order it is you like! I am totally going to do this :D

  3. I LOVE this. Have been oogling the pattern, the hardware kit in Closet Case Files shop and fabrics online all day (and my bank account), hesitating whether I should go for it. But your post may have just convinced me! It looks so incredibly nice on you, and that smile kind of says it’s worth the investment :)

    1. Thanks, Ingrid! I think it was totally worth the investment, since RTW jackets can be pricey and this way you know you are getting a quality product :)

  4. SUCH a good feeling and I love “Sew Forth and Conquer”! Too cute! I’ve never made a rboad back adjustment before but now I’m thinking I might want to do just that on my next pair of Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas… hmmm…

    1. Thanks! I got it at my local fabric store here in Vancouver, Dressew. You can also buy kits online from Closet Case files :) Etsy is another great place to source hardware.

  5. All the Kelly’s I’ve seen are terrific – but yours is outstanding! Thks for all the pics and tips. And the fabric choice – I had not thought of using cotton/silk. But it’s beautiful, love the slight rumple it gets.

  6. Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing the Inside details, you have finished it with such expert details. Gorgeous!

  7. I love your coat! And thank you for showing pictures of the inside. I can’t say enough about the little touches, your binding and loop bring it up a notch. And that short placket, not only can you not tell if you aren’t looking close, it just looks like part of the design.

  8. Looks great! Thanks for sharing your broad upper back adjustment too, I have tried a couple of methods but it is always good to have more in the arsenal :)

  9. Helen this is fantastic!! The perfect colour – and the perfect fabric! I totally agree – this is one of those projects that makes you feel totally amazing when it’s all done. I wear my Kelly all the time. ;)

  10. Pingback: Mammoth Buffalo Archer Button-up – Helen's Closet

  11. Pingback: My Navy Kelly Anorak Jacket

  12. this was great to see!! …quick question about your muslin…did you feel like you had a good gauge on the overall fit without adding the plackets? I can’t quite tell how much extra room they would add…I’m debating if I need to add those as well to get a good sense of the fit… Thanks!!

  13. This BBA is so helpful thank you for sharing! I wondered if you could advise on how you measured the pattern vs your body to establish you needed it? I’m unsure whether I need a BBA or a Broad Shoulder Adjustment and not sure where to measure on the paper pattern and how I measure my body to compare them with. If you can advise or point me to some resources I’d be so grateful!

    1. Hi Bryony! I discovered I needed this adjustment from sewing a muslin first and finding it to be tight in the arms. I think if you want to measure, you would do so across the back at the shoulder blades and compare to the same spot on the pattern. A Broad Shoulder Adjustment is usually needed if you have drag lines radiating down from the shoulder and the sleeve seam is not sitting on your natural shoulder, but rather pulling in towards the neck.

  14. Thanks Helen! I’ve opted to do both… shoulders were a clear requirement I was a good 1cm off on both shoulders which was interesting (I’ve gone up 2 sizes since my last kelly too, lockdown weight!) and have opted for a small BBA too. I had difficulty working out the ease needed because I was measuring flat but 99% sure I needed it, so just let it out about 1cm. It now looks huge but I think that’s because I have a huge neck and shoulders very easy instructions and it was hugely gratifying to follow them, thank you.

  15. I love how you finished the inside of your jacket. So clean and tidy! However, I’m really here for the broad back adjustment. I’ve been scouring the internet for a method that might correct my issue and I think this is it. So many alterations mess with the shoulder seam, and I don’t need that. I have tightness at the armhole and when I bend my arms forward, so I hope this will work for the dress I’m working on currently. Thank you!

  16. Thank you so much for describing the easy broad back adjustment method! I need to do one but was dreading having to adjust all the pieces that connect to the back. Your Kelly is beautiful by the way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *