I really think that as far as jackets go, the Kelly Anorak is a totally approachable project even for a more beginner sewer. The only part I think might be a little confusing is our zipper placket. Since the coat is unlined, the placket doesn’t just offer an attractive way to conceal the zipper; it also helps create a professional, neat finish on the inside. There are a few steps to this process and I think it’s worth explaining more deeply in a blog post for those of you who are feeling a little apprehensive about it.
Before you get started, your front and back should be fully assembled. At this stage I suggest trying the jacket body on and determining where you want the drawstring to go (if you’re installing one). This time around I even went so far as to glue baste my drawstring casing on just to make sure it hit where I wanted. For this version I lowered my casing by about 1/2″ – I wanted the back to blouse out just a touch more.
Of course your drawstring grommet or buttonhole must be done before stitching your casing down. It’s easiest to add your drawstring after sewing the first line of casing topstitching but before sewing the second. You won’t have to feed it through with a safety pin later.
If you do happen to wait until the end and are using our hardware kits, I suggest using a small safety pin; a normal sized one won’t fit through the hole. I forgot to put my drawstring in earlier so I taped the edge of it to the safety pin so it was easier to push through.
Once your drawstring casing is sewn, it’s time to get cracking on that zipper placket. To get started, let’s assemble the placket itself. Ensure the exterior side of the placket is interfaced.
With right sides together, stitch along the bottom edge. Trim the seam so when you turn it inside out it creates a nice sharp 90 degree corner. Press.
In the first image below you can see how it will be attached to the coat.
Line it up with the right side of the coat, raw edges together. The top should align with the neckline, the finished bottom edge of the placket should align with the bottom notch along center front.
Sew the placket to the coat along the seam allowance.
Now open your zipper. Pin the left side of the zipper to the side of the top right facing as shown below (when I say the left side of the zipper I mean as you are looking it; technically it is the right side of the zipper since it’s being sewn to the right side of the coat if that makes any sense). The zipper teeth should start just below the 5/8″ seam allowance so it is not caught in the stitching when you finish the neckline. It’s okay if the zipper doesn’t span the entire length of the facing – just ensure the zipper stops at least 5/8″ from the bottom, again so it’s not caught in a seam line.
You’re sewing at a 5/8″ seam allowance here; I set the zipper tape in 1/8″ from the raw edge and sewed closed to the teeth to get the correct seam width. The bottom right facing should be folded in 1/4″ twice along the side with the higher corner.
Stitch the zipper to the facing using a zipper foot.
Topstitch the folded edge of the bottom right facing.
Right sides together, align the long unfinished edge of the bottom facing with the top facing along the zipper side. Stitch together using a zipper foot. Fold wrong sides together and press flat, so the zipper is sandwiched in between.
Now to stitch the facing to the coat… open the facing and pin the unfinished edge to the right coat front.
It will now look like this when unfolded.
Grade the seams to reduce bulk – this means trimming them so they step gradually down and you don’t have one big bulky seam. The graded or trimmed seams are the ones not touching the main body fabric, or the side that will face out towards the world.
Now fold the facing right sides together along the zipper seam. Starting at the notch 5/8″ from the edge of the coat hem, you are going to sew a straight line across the length of zipper facing, at a ninety degree angle from the center front seam Make sure you are not catching the zipper placket in your stitching.
Trim the corner down so when you flip it right side out it creates a nice crisp corner.
Before we stitch the facing and placket down, you’ll want to finish the hem since it will shortly be encased in the seam. Use a serged stitch or bias bound finish (I did a Hong Kong finish here – see this post on how to sew these finishes). Press the hem up 1.5″ at this point. The folded hem should align with the finished placket edge.
Now, to lock everything down securely, topstitch along the length of the zipper facing, 1/8″ away from the zipper teeth. Then press the placket flat and topstitch along the length of the placket, anchoring it through all the layers below. You can topstitch along the placket itself or just next to it; depends on what you prefer.
Here is what it looks like from the wrong side once it’s fully topstitched.
Now to the left side! This facing is a little different – since we’re sewing the zipper straight to the center front seam, the facing is in one piece instead of two. Finish the slightly higher side by folding in 1/4″ two times and topstitching. Make sure the center front jacket seam is interfaced – the zipper will be applied here and if it’s not interfaced you’ll get a wavy seam.
Pin the other half of the zipper into place along the left coat seam. Make sure it matches up with the zipper half on the right side of the coat.
Stitch to the coat using zipper foot. Then fold the facing in half right sides together along the first set of notches and press.
With right sides together, unfold the facing and line up the raw edge with the center front coat seam.
Stitch together using a zipper foot, as close as possible to your original stitch line when you attached the zipper. When you open up the facing it will look like this:
Now fold the facing right sides together along the folded edge and sew across, 5/8″ from the bottom edge of the facing, just like you did on the right side of the coat. The stitch line should line up with the folded edge of the hem.
Trim the corner down so it can be crisply turned right side out.
Grade the seam, press everything flat again and then topstitch that zipper to the facing along its entire length, anchoring it through all the layers.
Now topstitch your hem down. I stop the hem topstitching where it meets the placket on the right side, and the zipper on the left side.
Whew! Hopefully this walks you through this stage! It’s quite a few steps (especially when I break it down this much!) but I think it’s so worth it. The inside ends up looking as pretty and polished as the outside, doesn’t it?
Now you may be wondering about the pretty flannel lining in this red Kelly – next week I’ll share the finished project and tell you how to add warmth to your own anorak with a cozy interlining.