I’m really excited to share this current project I’m working on with you guys! It’s a really beefy one and I’m using some amazing new fabric we have in stock so I thought a sort of ‘in progress’ post would be useful, given how involved it is, and how long its taking me to make!
You can check out my latest Vlog on Youtube video to see and hear even more details, but below is a summery of some of the main points!
First of all I want to show this amazing fabric! It’s British Millerain waxed cotton canvas. If you haven’t head of this company before, it’s (so they say) the original manufacturers of waxed fabrics and the family business has been handed down through the generations since the 1880’s!
They have lots of different types of fabrics and the range we have in stock is called Staywax™ Sahara. It’s 335g psm and I would describe it as a medium weight canvas. I have for sure felt and handled much firmer and stiffer canvas, but this one isn’t lightweight either and does hold its shape. It’s not saturated with wax, like some waxed fabric you can get, but hopefully this picture gives you an idea of what its like. It’s water repellent so when you splash it, you can see the beads of water just sort of sit on the surface.
We’ve got 5 gorgeous shades....
For my project I’ve chosen the Antique gold colour way, which I thought would go with lots of different things, but I actually LOVE them all and have to keep stopping myself from wanting to make a jacket in every shade! I don’t like the rain that much to warrant so many shower proof garments!
I’m making the Closet Case Patterns Kelly Anorak, which came out last year and since then I have seem some really beautiful versions! It’s an unlined classic simple anorak with a two piece cuffed sleeve, optional drawstring waist, gusseted flap pocket and a zipper placket with snap buttons and choice of hood or collar.
There are even more options to tailor it to your preferences. You can get a PDF lining expansion pack if you fancy lining it (link here) and there is also a tutorial on the Closet Case Patterns website for how to underline it – which is what I’m doing (link here).
Other options for this jacket are the Paper Cut patterns waver jacket, which is a lined and hooded raglan sleeve jacket, the Sewaholic Cypress cape and the Walden by Colette Patterns Albion duffle coat (version 2).
Sizing and fabric requirements
I’m making a straight up size 6 as that’s the size I always make in Closet Case patterns, its what I made my Clare Coat last year in and I know it always works for me.
The pattern recommends 2.3m of fabric for that size and I used just about every bit of that. I just used regular medium weight non-woven iron on interfacing in black.
I’m underling the hood, front yoke, front bodice and back bodice and I needed 1.5m of lining fabric. I used this gorgeous swooping swans cotton lawn with a navy background, which you can find it in shop in this link.
I quilted my lining fabric to some thinsulate fabric that I originally bought to use in my Clare coat. It’s a technical fabric know for its insulating properties and I bought it from Point North (link here). UPDATE to my video - I said that it was 1m wide and I bought 1.5m but it was the other way around! It's actually 1.5m wide and I bought 1m. I just managed to get my lining pieces onto it by cutting everything on a single layer and really squeezing it in.
I quilted it in a grid that’s on the bias, using a walking foot and this guide bar attachment to help me get even 1.5” squares. I bought mine form my local sewing machine shop called Frank Nutt in Kings Heath.
To help me get it straight I ironed two creases in the cotton lawn that were in a cross on the bias by folding the torn edge of the fabric to the selvedge. I then put the thinsulate onto the back of the fabric and smoothed it all out. One side of the thinsulate is kinda like cotton wool and really sticky and catching so it just gripped to the cotton lawn and I didn’t need to pin it much at all.
Following the creases I had pressed I quilted the two layers of fabric together and then using my first line of stitching as a guide, I lined that up with the attachment on the walking foot and quilted the while bit of fabric. I’ll warn you now…it took AGES! Way longer than I thought! But I think it’s worth it!
Once the fabric was quilted, I cut out my bodice and hood pieces and then hand tacked them to my main fabric around the edges within the seam allowance. After that you just treat it as one bit of fabric and continue the construction process.
I was initially thinking that the pins might leave unwanted blemishes in the fabric but they don’t at all. Even if a little hole is still a bit visible, with a little rub it quickly disappears.
When I cut out my pattern pieces, I pinned the tissue pattern paper to the fabric and tried to keep the pinning within the seam allowance, but in hindsight, I didn’t need to do that.
When it came to sewing the seams that involved the thick interlining I found these prym grips really useful. The pins were distorting the shape of all the layers of fabric, making it hard to get an accurate seam but the grips were great! We will be stocking these, they just haven't arrived yet!
Seams and threads
For my whole project I used regular gutermann sew all polyester thread. I did think about using a top stitching thread in parts but decided to leave it in the end.
I did use a fair bit of thread and for the quilted underlining I used about 1 and a half spools and that was using white thread in the bobbin! For the main jacket I also needed more than one spool.
The pattern gives the option of a flat fell or faux flat fell seam and I opted for the faux version. The bulkyness of all the layers with the underlining was just too much for any fiddly pressing under so I overlocked the raw edges and top stitched them down.
Pressing and ironing
It’s normal and natural for this fabric to get blemishes and creases in it. I think that add to the character of it. I wasn’t entirely sure how it would iron and press either but in the end, I didn’t really iron it. Normally before, and during the construction process I would often iron the fabric so it was all nice and smooth but I just used my hands to flatten out the fabric for this make.
I did press it as and when the pattern called for it and I kept the iron on a medium heat and if I was applying a lot of pressure I would use an off cut, wax side to wax side, in the same way you would use a pressing cloth.
Machine needles and feet
For most of my project I used a size 90 jeans needle but when I came to do some topstitching around the zip placket, I started to get a lot of skipped stitches that were driving me crazy! I tired a brand new needle in case it was due to bluntness but no luck there either so I tried a stretch needle. Stretch needles have a slightly higher eye in them, which means that when a stitch is formed the loop of the stitch is a bit bigger. This is great if your stitching is really going to stretch…or in this situation, your stitching has to travel though lots of layers. So that helped.
I tired sewing some of the seams with a regular foot but the walking foot did make a huge difference. It was much easier to get an accurate seam, especially with the thick interlining so if you did decide to do that, I would say investing in a walking foot is a must.
I’ve still got to put the zip in, insert the sleeves and attach the hood. We've got these beautiful YKK zips that match the fabrics perfectly so I’ll update you again soon with my finished anorak!