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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sewing a reversible unit to wear on top of leggings

Reversible vest unit (fake suede side out) over Costco leggings and a stand alone cowl made out of a scrap I got in sort of a grab bag bin at a sale.

As all of you in the American South know already it has been a cold winter. Not Nova Scotia cold, nowhere near it, but relatively speaking cooler than anticipated.

The trip down here, we left in January down the roads from the frozen North, was also pretty cold and I have been wearing my fleece lined leggings (thank you Mr. Costco 2 for $20) a lot.

A lot.

The thing is that I am not usually much of a legging wearer generally.

I worry that I am past appropriate legging wearing age. And have wondered if I would look like so many of my students who have been wearing them as pants substitutes with tiny tops and so often look like there must be part of the outfit left at home.

As a consequence I don't have a lot of warm tops that are legging long enough, to cover the areas I have been working hard on with my husband's wonderful dinners and the appetite of a 14 year-old-boy that is one of my trademarks.

So in fit of utility sewing (I nearly never make something practical just because I need it) I decided to jump off a cliff and make something that I would not normally wear at all - a pullover vest unit thing.

I already had this Vogue pattern I had originally bought for the jacket (yet unrealized). 

Since it was a set it also included this top and I thought well why not? It would cover the wide parts encased by leggings and would let me to use a variety of random turtlenecks and tops underneath for warmth:

The fabric I used was a weird knit that was grey single knit jersey fused to some fake black suede. I got it  by the pound bin at G Street Fabrics in DC when I was there for a wedding in the fall. I actually ran out fabric shopping in one of those lulls you get in weddings while everyone takes pictures.

I had no idea what I was going to make from it at the time, but since there aren't any washing machines in state parks and because I struggle to stick to a carry-on when I fly, I got the great idea to make a reversible vest.

Nothing fancy of course. 

I loaded up the serger on the picnic table with black thread and 4 thread serged up the shoulders and side seams, grey sides together. This gave me neat seams on the grey vest and I just straight stitched the serged seam allowances down on the black side.

Looks OK.

For the raw edges of the hem, armholes, and neckline I serge finished them and then folded the black to the grey side and topstitched them all down.

Note the original pattern called for an attached cowl but I wanted to keep such a multi-use garment versatile. As a result I left that off and just made a cowl like ring to put around my neck from a remnant I found in another bin in another location.

Surprisingly I kind of like how this turned out. 

I have cut out another one in red fleece for cold weather - I am aware we are going back up North again at some point.

And here we go. 

The dress code in Texas state parks is not that defined and anything fits right in:


Susan R said...

Great tops and what a beautiful setting for taking pictures. I love those comfy tops like that, you did a great job on them.

Anonymous said...

Barb, I love Costco leggings and I have that pattern. Bought for the same coverup reasons. Again thanks for the tutorial.

I am still making Marie Claudes and I have a question. Can knits ever be cut on the diagonal? I am using a knit that requires matching horizontal lines and I've done a pretty good job, even where the raglan sleeve meets the body. Can you tell how pleased I am with myself:-)) I was thinking about cutting the collar pieces on the diagonal.

Donna E

Barbara said...

Donna if you cut a knit on the diagonal you will loose some of the stretch but with the small collar piece it will probably work - I would baste it and make sure it fits over your head first though.

Kay said...

You look so fashionable! I especially like it styled with the stand alone cowl.

I can vouch for the jacket pattern. I made it up in a rather firm paisley corduroy that I wasn't sure would be appropriate for anything, so no great loss if I didn't like the jacket. To my surprise, it is one of my favorite makes this year. I even made a second version out of a very heavy wool fleece knit in a hounds-tooth pattern (now that I think about it, I mail-ordered both of those fabrics at the same time. Live and learn). The fleece jacket looks completely different, but it is flattering and comfortable too. I decided to skip the collar on the fleece jacket and just make a stand-alone cowl from a ribbed sweater knit. Then I decided I didn't like the knit with the jacket, so yesterday I cut the over-top from the ribbed knit. I was a little leery about how it would look, but I love yours!

I feel like we are living parallel lives through this pattern. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Barb. I will give it a try.

Eileensews said...

Looks great! You are definitely the best dressed person at the state park!

SewRuthie said...

I like it, a clever but simple solution (my favourite sort).

Patricia Gardner said...

That looks really good.

Anonymous said...

As a person who goes back and forth to yoga classes, I have been looking for something that comes mid-thigh; my hope that I am somehow invisible in my black knit pants is not doing me any favors, I suspect. Both the pull over and the jacket look perfect for this.....


Catherine said...

Great top! I have this pattern on my wishlist for the yoga pants but may have try that top as well. Love how you've done it.

Debbie Cook said...

You are not past appropriate leggings wearing age. Your long, lean legs look great in leggings.

Keep heading south ... it's been 80 F here in Tampa all week. :-)

Anonymous said...

I really like this look on you! I have this pattern, too. I want to make the vest you made but I want to make it in a non- stretch fleece. How much ease would you say the pattern has?

Vancouver Barbara said...

You look great. Love the top and will probably make one myself and possibly more than one.

Laceflower said...

I'm feeling left out; I'm practically the only one who doesn't own this pattern!! You are not past wearing leggings, just make sure the tops are long enough and the leggings are not beige.

Charlotte McCaig said...

You look amazing! I got Costco leggings a few weeks ago...I didn't think they would fit since I'm 6'2" tall but they were 2/$12! They fit! Not enough thickness to wear even with a tunic for me(I certainly don't have your great legs) but maybe under a dress. I've been using them as pajamas. Perfect because they stay in place and keep your legs warm.