What Works/What Doesn’t: The Anorak

Readers,

The anorak analysis is in.

The anorak analysis is in.

Remember the anorak I finished a while back?  I’ve been wearing it on neighborhood walks for a few weeks.

I modeled it recently in a photo shoot in Cynthia’s studio.

And last week I brought it to a gathering of sewing friends.

This anorak has been worn in the wind and rain, stuffed into suitcases, tied around my waist, styled for photographs, and held up to the scrutiny of three discriminating and frank sewing experts.

The drawstring waist needs to be repositioned.

The drawstring waist needs to be repositioned.

I’ve been asking myself the what works/what doesn’t questions I described in my previous post.

What are my findings?

All the categories in the Context column were Works with one exception.

  • Occasions.  This is everyday wear. Works.
  • Activities.  Urban outdoor walking, errand-running, travel.  Works. But keeping the contents of the pockets safe: Doesn’t work.
    Pickpockets' paradise.

    Pickpockets’ paradise.


  • Roles. Runner of errands, walker of neighborhoods, watcher of birds, traveler. Works.
  • Physical conditions. It keeps me dry in a shower. It’s not waterproof, but that’s okay. Works.
  • Mood of the occasion. Everyday activities are pretty mood-neutral. Works.

    This back would be too roomy for Quasimodo.

    This back would be too roomy for Quasimodo.

  • Other wardrobe items. This goes great with a lot of my casual clothes. Works.
  • Other fabrics, patterns and buttons.  Plenty of fabrics and some patterns in my stashes go with the anorak for future coordinates. Works.
  • What I’m moving into. I foresee more everyday activities in my future for which the anorak will be handy. Works.

The Context column was nearly a clean sweep. The Individual column was a mixed bag:

  • Personality.  No personality clash here. Works.
  • Style. I suppose in the world of anoraks this is my style.  (I really must replace that white cording, though.) Works.

    The back is big, true, but the hood is just right.

    The back is big, true, but the hood is just right.

  • Fit. The hood, sleeve length and circumference are fine. There’s too much blousing in the front and especially the back. A big Doesn’t work.
  • Silhouette. The waist definition is a big improvement over my old boxy windbreaker. But seen from the side, the waist has got to be resituated. And the excessive blousing is also unflattering. Doesn’t work.
  • Color. I bought the fabric for the yellowish-green cast, an interesting neutral that works well with my coloring and clothes. Works.

    With my body double.

  • Physical characteristics. I created this category to remind me about my range of motion, extremities that get cold easily, feet that need arch support–things like that. The anorak gets a passing grade. Works.
  • What I’m growing into. Whatever psychological thresholds I may cross, the anorak should be fine. Works.
Between shots in Cynthia's studio.

Between shots in Cynthia’s studio.

The anorak has two glaring problems.

The front and back have way too much design ease and the drawstring waist is angled when it should be parallel with the floor.

And–my mistake–I misread the pattern directions and microscopic illustrations, and sewed the flaps onto the pockets when they should have been attached to the fronts in such a way as to keep the pockets closed. This is hugely annoying.

But–these problems just might be fixable. Yes!

Instead of wearing this anorak only at night or relegating it to the back of the closet overcome with guilt and peevishness, I may be able to salvage this.

Next time, I'll do the pockets the right way!

Next time, I’ll do the pockets the right way!

Edith asked me, “Do you have more of this fabric? You could save the hood, sleeves and pockets and cut new altered fronts and a back.”

I got to thinking, it’s worth a try. I’ve already invested a lot of effort (not much money–the fabric was $1.49 a yard) in this garment. Perhaps for some more effort I’d have a garment that would work in all categories.

Plus, I’d have an altered pattern ready for sewing another well-fitting anorak someday.

It was a big advance for me, seeing, with Edith’s help, how I might make this garment right, rather than writing it off. Now I’m taking a second look at other projects, defining the good points and the problems and asking myself, “How could I make this right?” I might not be able to save the garment, but I might correct the pattern, at least, and be very happy with it.

So, readers, I’m going to try taking this jacket apart, having Edith coach me through the pattern alterations, and reassembling the pieces.

Whatever the results, you’ll see them here. They’re all part of the hero’s journey of getting things sewn.

This way to a better anorak!

This way to a better anorak!

(All photographs are by Cynthia DeGrand.)

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