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Oct 21, 2014

Reversible Garments -- YEA or NAY?



Friends, what are your thoughts about reversible garments?  Do you own any?  Have you ever made any -- and if so, was it worth the trouble?

I ask because my hunch is that most people rarely, if ever, reverse their reversible clothes; they prefer one side and stick with that.  (Also, doesn't one side get sweat stains?)  But I'm open to the possibility that I'm mistaken!

I've been thinking about reversible garments lately because I'm about to make a muslin of my 1930's men's jacket -- the one with the rib knit cuffs, collar, and waistband - and I'm thinking it might be a fun challenge to make it reversible, with wool plaid on one side and cotton/nylon on the other.

But would I ever reverse it? 

I found some very cool reversible jackets online that were just the kind of thing I'd been envisioning:











I'm not entirely sure how I'd construct such a jacket with all those knit edges -- I guess it would be like bagging a lining where you'd leave one seam open and pull everything right-side-out -- but I'm assuming I'd be able to figure it out.

Commercial sewing patterns for reversible garments have been around for decades.  They're usually relatively simple-to-construct garments: basic skirts, shell jackets, boleros, stuff like that.  Which makes sense, since you must to be able to turn them inside-out and have both sides look fully finished.











Cathy is no stranger to reversible clothes, owning both a reversible playsuit top and reversible bikini.  Actually, Cathy's a bit reversible herself...









In closing, readers, what's your take?

In these days of fast fashion, is there really any need for two-sided clothes when you can just as easily (and relatively cheaply) buy two entirely separate garments?

And isn't the whole reversible clothes thing based on a matchy-matchy outfit ideal that, by and large, has gone out of style?

Reversible garments -- YEA or NAY?

34 comments:

  1. They just reissued that Simplicity. I had it on my 'to buy' list. But, when I went to purchase thought, 'Am I really going to get wear out of a reversible dress?' and ended up not buying it.

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  2. I've had a reversible coat and almost the exact raincoat that you pictured in the 80's. My school uniform in high school had a reversible vest. I've always preferred one side or another and never wore them the other way. I can see the fun of the challenge to make something perfect inside and out that can be reversed.

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  3. I made a reversible winter coat for my step mother almost exactly like the Butterick coat except it was a McCall pattern. It was easy to make and my step mother thought it was fun to try and decide which side she would wear, she wore the coat for several years. Saf-T- Pockets patterns has several reversible patterns and I think they would be useful to have on a cruise holiday, you would appear to have a more extensive wardrobe with only a few reversible skirts, tops and capris.

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  4. For many years I wore a reversible Pendleton coat that had a wool plaid on one side and cotton canvas on the other. I always wore the canvas side out except for maybe once. I also have a reversible Eileen Fisher sweater that I always wear on one side. I will say both garments were nice to wear since they are finished in such a deluxe way. No seam bindings, interfacing, or ragged seams showing. I think it is worth the challenge of sewing it reversible. Good Luck!

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  5. In grade school I had a reversible sweater that I thought was really neat, it had a very different pattern on each side. I like the idea of a reversible garment that looks very different on each side (like some of those jackets) because then you really do get two different garments out of it. But when both sides are a solid, and the other color shows in facings, cuffs, etc. it just seems rather silly and redundant. I think you should go for it- sounds like a fun challenge indeed!

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  6. I like the idea of reversible clothes, just like I like the idea of convertible clothes. The reality is that I seldom use either to their full potential.
    However, if I was more dedicated to simplifying my wardrobe, I would want more of those sorts of pieces. I think that on a long vacation where I only wanted to take the minimum of luggage, reversible would be the way to go.
    I do like the way reversible jackets look, especially when you can see the "lining'.
    regards,
    Theresa

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    Replies
    1. I know, right? I'm obsessed with convertible clothing, but never wear it.

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  7. Should you sew something reversible, perhaps you AND Cathy can each model one side??

    Ya know, Cathy has been a bit scarce (ever since your out-of-town "hen in the rooster house" episode a few weeks ago) - hope Cathy is not miffed, (pause) or anything.

    Not certain which Cathy would bristle at more, the shacking up, or the shoe sharing.

    Understanding Cathy can be a bit of a powder keg where THAT gal pal of yours is concerned, I'll refrain from any and all pot stirring.

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  8. I think reversible clothes work for toddlers fairly well, anyone else not so much. But I do love seeing a beautiful fabric peeking out of a reversible, surprise! Same as pockets lined in something nice, or seams bound in something, or wonderful pleats that kick out into contrast. So, for me, the reversible is all about that that added extra fashion detail.

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  9. Once I had the most wonderful Max Mara coat, cashmere on one side, reversible to a rain shedding fabric on the other, perfect for this town. Amazingly useful.
    Jeannie in Seattle

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  10. I have few reversible clothing pieces... but I only prefer one side of them LOL so you got that right.

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  11. I have the exact raincoat at the top. I ALWAYS wear it green side out because the one side is rubber (green) and the other is fabric (navy). I don't want rubber against my skin or clothes. It's also not actually reversable as the snaps don't really work well the other way. Nor are there pockets.

    I find that most "reversible" clothing isnt' actually. One side gets preference for closings, pockets, seam finishing, etc.

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  12. I don't do reversible garments for myself, but for my little girls yes. I like to make a simple camise dress and then a couple of reversible pinafores to go with it. The girls think it's pretty fun.

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  13. I made a reversible jacket & skirt last year, and have another set planned. They started with the fabrics - I couldn't decide which side I like better. The one I already made I do wear both sides fairly equally. But then again, because they're color-blocked, there's not a whole lot of difference to the feel on each side (just difference in where each color goes). The one I'm going to make is black on one side & orange on the other. So that might give me totally different feel each side. Given how little closet space we get in London I love clothing that do multi-duty. So reversibles are great. So are separates (rather than dresses). And I'd do more convertibles if they work better!

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  14. I actually love reversible clothes -- they're perfect for travel. I made a reversible sleeveless dress last year using this tutorial: http://crafterhoursblog.com/2011/02/all-in-one-facings-tutorial.html

    (FWIW, I wish more clothes were modular, too.)

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  15. I don't generally like reverse garments because they can be a bit bulky, and I love the feel of a nice smooth lining. However that last picture is stunning!!! Great combo of colors, but is it a robe or a raincoat? I think I'm changing my mind about reversibles!

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    1. I'm pretty sure it's a raincoat, Gloria.

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  16. It's a nay from me - I'm yet to see one that isn't a gimmick. I'd rather own two things that were perfect than one that was trying to do two things badly. Rachel ☺

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  17. Reversible saves room in the closet...do it!

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    1. My thought exactly. Even though I don't own any and don't think I've ever owned any, I keep it in mind as an idea precisely because of my rather limited room for anything.

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  18. Not a fan of reversible clothing, the button thing goes the wrong way on the other side, so you get stuck with zippers.

    The following coat from Vogue is very cool, and is reversible. Now I would make it, but it needs to have the right fabric.

    http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v8930-products-47557.php?page_id=265

    -corey

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  19. I've made two coats out of Butterick 4538 over the years. One had a plain twill side and a plushy fabric side (sort of like the pattern illustration), and one had a plain side and a plaid side. Almost always wore the plain sides out. The plush side on the inside made one of the coats difficult to slide on over other clothing. The plaid side of the other coat usually just seemed to much somehow. I suppose, especially for coats, both sides have to work with the clothes you'll be wearing under them.

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  20. I loved reversible skirts and vests when I was in school. My mother made reversible jackets for us, on the theory that there would not be chocolate stains on both sides at the same time. By the time I was in high school and sewing my own clothing, I made one reversible skirt and never reversed it.

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  21. Wow, that 70s Butterick with the hood is a version of a 40s Claire McCardell design that's in the Met Museum's collection, and there's a similar Vogue pattern in release now. I'm tempted to try it out. Whether or not you make your varsity-style jacket reversible, I know from my blog stats that people are looking for that kind of pattern...so I'm looking forward to seeing your version.

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  22. Years ago I made a reversible coat - quilted cotton velvet on the one side and waterproof nylon on the other (the cuffs and collar were velvet). It got reasonable wear (both ways) but I'm not sure that reversible is the best strategy for a garment that gets a lot of wear.

    I bought Simplicity 4738 Jiffy coat pattern with the intention of making a reversible evening coat for going to the opera/ballet. For a 'statement' garment that will get occasional wear I thought a 2-for-1 deal might be worthwhile. But the jury's still out on that one ...

    Spud.

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  23. I’ve had a reversible jacket for several years. I think the fact that it’s finished so well on both sides has made it last a long time. It’s also very cozy. But I do prefer one side out. I might have reversed it once in all these years.

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  24. I stand with Barbara on this one. I love a fabulous lining peeking out. Reversible, not so much. One side always gets worn more and pretty soon it molds to your shape and gets comfy and at that point, why reverse? Just my 2 cents.

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  25. Reversibles are eye-catching because they're intriguing. What does it look like outside-in/inside-out? But I agree with others: in order for me to consider a reversible a success, both sides have to be perfectly, convincingly constructed; both must look good on their own as well as complement one another; and both have to function independently (buttons, belts, other construction issues) as well as have some practicality. If neither side is demonstrably different from the other, why bother? If both sides are completely different, well, that's likely not going to work either. Tall order.

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  26. I've made a total of 2 reversible items...no wait, 3!. And nearly ALL the time I only wear them with my favorite side out. Occasionally I feel that I'm neglectful to the poor other side, so I will reverse it, but I know in my heart that it's not the favorite child.

    So my vote is a firm and unambiguous Nay/Yay.

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  27. I made a reversible Halloween vest a couple of years ago. One side was an orange Jack O'Lantern print, the other was purple with skeletons.
    I wanted the buttons to be right, regardless of how I wore it, so I put button holes on both sides and tied buttons back-to-back. The buttons were then completely removable, so they have to be taken out or be lost in the wash.
    I don't think I've ever worn it purple side out.

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  28. I made a Vogue couture reversible coat several years ago and it is very dramatic. It's a Koos coat and I carefully made it as much like the original as possible with all the quilting lines, couched around a huge leaf applique with yarn, etc. I've never actually worn it with the 'inside' out, but it's certainly a 'statement piece'. It also occupied my dining room table for a long time because it was as much work as two complex coats. I think you should go for it IF it is the right design with subtle colors to avoid looking 'too clever' with the reversible feature.

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  29. I have a reversible vest which I love but I only use one side. The other side automatically adds 10 pounds to my figure!

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  30. I don't necessarily have an opinion for or against reversible garments. I own one reversible skirt form Adidas from I think around 2000 (when mesh fabrics shortly got back in fashion) and I do wear it on both sides. But I think that is the only reversible garment I've ever owned.

    By the way, I fell in love with that Butterick 4538 wrap coat pattern, and I just purchased it! I really like that trench coat too. Hmm.. maybe I do like reversible garments..

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  31. I think the idea of it being reversible is really cool! I want to make a costume that on one side is a fox and the other is relatively normal so it is given the idea of being a shapeshifter!! I see what you mean that in every day wear two garments would be easier to make and not too different but I really enjoy the idea of it being reversible and in the cases of childrens clothes, it is really useful being two sided as when they accidentally put their coat on 'backwards' it doesn't matter! XD

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