Spring Soft Shell Kelly Jacket
For those of you following along with many of my makes, you know I like to push the envelope a little bit when it comes to fabric choices. Whether it is a faux suede Farrow Dress or knit Carolyn pajamas, I like to take a strong base pattern and see how I can transform it with fabric!
In prepping for our spring collection this January and trying to plan out samples for Sew Expo, I knew we found something special when we stumbled across an amazing group of designer soft shell coatings. This unique fabric has a soft nylon woven on the outside and a thin layer of cozy fleece on the inside. Combined these layers create a fabric that is still quite thin, has some nice drape and is just calling to be sewn into a spring/fall jacket.
In my mind this jacket was the Closet Case Kelly Anorak, there were no other options. Funny how that happens sometimes, you just know what a fabric should become. I decided to mix and match the two versions and go WITH the hood and WITHOUT the drawstring. Simple, clean lines, perfect for a light spring rain coat! For the color I kicked things up another notch and chose the refreshing aqua soft shell with the charcoal fleece. A fun color is never a bad idea in springtime!
With one Kelly already under my belt cutting for this coat was pretty straight forward, but here are some helpful tips I learned along the way.
- Buy the printed pattern—the PDF has like a million pages which you will end up tracing anyway because you will never want to reprint and retape this one. So… why not just trace the printed pattern and be done!
- Pay close attention the piece/fabric orientation, ie. fabric right side up or down—There is a distinct right and left to the coat and you want to make sure you cut the pieces the right way.
- Follow the cutting guide—I went rogue on my first jacket and regretted it! History did not repeat itself on this one and I was much happier. No extra fabric required!
- Don’t be scare! This pattern looks far more intimidating that it actually is. Closet Case has done a great job at breaking it down into manageable steps that set you up for great success!
I cut a straight size 12, one size larger than my previous version to get a little extra room in the shoulders and to have a bit more space for layering underneath. Due to the weight of the fabric, I also decided to forgo all of the interfacing. It just wasn’t needed and as a plus it saved me a bit of time! I didn’t make any other changes in the cutting or fitting. Note: if you are going to include the drawstring, check the placement before you cut and sew. Mine was a bit too high on my first version.
Now for the sewing! I stitched everything together using my favorite Dual Duty poly thread and finished all of my seams on my serger for a nice clean finish on the inside. I didn’t worry about waterproofing seams since I was going for a jacket that would get me thru a light shower, not a Southern downpour! Everything was pretty straight forward except for the pressing. This fabric DOES NOT press, like at all… With loads of steam and some heat I could get it to press a bit but then it would just relax again. To help counter some of the loft I top stitched almost every seam to help keep them nice and flat. I probably could have even done more but I rather like the look. You can most clearly see what I mean by “loft” on the pockets—they just have a bit of extra loft and body. Totally not a bad thing but something different you might not have expected.
The most difficult step with stitching this jacket is the pockets. Their unique 3D shape takes a bit to wrap your head around how to create out of a flat piece of fabric. The thickness of the fabric added a bit of extra difficulty but I approached them slowly and methodically and they turned out great!
One other change I made along the way was flipping the hood facing pieces so that the fleece side became the right side. This made the edge of the hood and pieces that go right up under your chin extra soft and warm! Definitely a must do! I also took the time to finish the neckline with twill tape and the hem with coordinating bias tape.
When I got to the thicker areas around the neck I did have a bit of trouble with skipped stitches. This likely would have been rectified with a Sharp or Microtex needle but I was on an Expo deadline and had to push thru with my Universal. I would recommend trying a few different needle type and sizes with your machine and see how it handles the different thicknesses.
Start to finish, my jacket was completed over the course of a weekend (just in time for Sew Expo!) and I love how it turned out! Totally different than any other jacket in my wardrobe I love that this one combines a light weight layer with just a bit of extra warmth. Perfect for those unpredictable weather days, aka most of the year here in the PNW. Best of all, it is like I have a fully lined coat without any of the extra pieces, time or work! Win, Win! The fit is pretty spot on too and this fabric does have a bit of give to it for even more comfort. It might be an unconventional but it ended up being a great choice to pair with the Kelly!
P.S. Looking for other spring jacket inspiration? Check out our spring tulip trench coat and nylon twill hooded jacket for two more great options. We also put together a Spring Outerwear collection with great fabric, patterns and trims to pair together when creating your own look.