Adjusting a Pattern For a Reversible Knit Fabric (CSews)

February 15, 2017 by Chuleenan of CSews 1 comment(s)



For a long time, I've been intrigued with the idea of making something reversible. I got the opportunity with this wonderful reversible ponte knit fabric at Britex Fabrics. It has a really nice weight and drape. This lovely heathered red is a warm black on the reverse. Sometimes the black seems dark brown to me and other times it seems black, depending on the lighting.



I decided to make a reversible Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater. Version 1 of this pattern has raglan sleeves, a neck band, cuffs and a band at the bottom with this Reversible Black & Cardinal Red Rayon Knit Fabric.


I chose this pattern because it's pretty simple and the bands make it easy to convert to reversible pieces. To keep it simple, I decided I wanted to make one side all red and the other side all black. The cuffs are rather wide and I didn't know if I would like them color blocked, for example, making the cuffs black and everything else red.

When you cut your pattern pieces, you need to think about the following:

  • Adjustments to pattern pieces, such as adding seam allowances to pieces cut on the fold
  • Finishing seams so they look good on both sides
  • Sequence of construction - when do you sew which piece, the order may need to be different from the pattern instructions so you can make the pieces reversible

Pattern adjustments

For the Toaster Sweater, the pattern pieces for the cuffs, neck band, and bottom band all fold in half. To make them reversible, you need to add a seam allowance to the fold before you cut the piece. Here's the cuff. The pencil is pointing to the side where the fold would be. Rather than cutting one pattern piece for one cuff, I cut two pieces, adding a seam to the side closest to my wrist.


Here's the finished cuff with one side black and the other side red.


For the neck band and the bottom band, I didn't add seam allowance because I wanted them to be thinner.

Sewing and Finishing seams

I used a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine instead of a serger because I wanted to cover my raw seam allowances. Then I had to consider how I would finish the seams on the "wrong" side.


I decided to trim one side...


... and made a variation on a felled seam by folding it over the shorter side and sewing it down.


But instead of cutting one seam allowance exactly in half, I cut the other side close to the seam because ponte knit is a little thick and I'd rather sew through three layers instead of four. (To make a flat felled seam, you cut one side of the seam allowance in half and then you fold the other side over the shorter side and sew it down.)

Here's what one finished seam of the raglan sleeve looks like on the red side...


... and on the black side - with the raw edge tucked under.



The pattern instructions have you attach the front to the back at the underarms and side seams and sew on long seam. But I decided to sew the sleeve seam at the underarm first so I would have enough room to finish the seam on the black side of the fabric. Because the side seam is left open, you have more room to maneuver.

Finishing the sleeve seams on the black side was a little tricky. However, a raglan sleeve is a bit roomy at the top, so you can actually pin and sew about 3/4 of the sleeve seam before you run out of room because the sleeve fabric gets all bunched up.

Then you cut your threads, turn the sleeve around, pick up where you left off and sew down to the wrist.

For the cuffs, neck and bottom band, I pinned one side of the piece, same colors facing each other, to the body and stitched it in place. The other side is open so you can hide the raw edges.

Here's the neck band with the red side sewn to the body. The black side with the raw seam allowances has been folded and pinned it in place. I was experimenting and stitched in the ditch. But it didn't look so great because it was hard to stay in the ditch.


Here's the bottom band before folding the black side and stitching in place over the seam allowance.


For the bottom band, I decided to topstitch instead of stitching in the ditch. I folded the raw edge so the fold lined up exactly with the 5/8 seam. Then I stitched 1/4 inch from the folded edge - similar to the other topstitching.

Seam allowances on the cuffs and bands are thick where all the seams meet. So you need to trim them down so they are slightly more manageable. This is the inside of the neck band.


And here's the finished Toaster Sweater!


You can see the black peeking out of the neck band. I like that.





1 Response to Adjusting a Pattern For a Reversible Knit Fabric (CSews)

  • marney says:

    Thank you for posting this in detail. The sweater looks great on both sides and the explanation really helped me understand what changes you made.

    May 12, 2018 at 4:31 am