So I made a fleece garment, for myself. Quite frankly, I can't believe we're having this conversation. I've always associated fleece with hiking or children's wear only, and I am NOT generally a fan of it in any other guise. But I got fed up of feeling cold, and now I'm wearing fleece too, outside the house even. I've adopted such a mum style, I'm even wearing wellies.
This garment is the last of my nippy weather sewing plans. My aim was to make another version of my 1960's Breton top, as I wear that thing sooooo often. When I took out the fabric that I had lined up for my second version, I realised that it was way too thin to keep me very warm in nippy weather. I'll still make that version, but when the fleece came into my life, the project took on a different angle and the fabric and pattern kind of informed each other.
I decided that full length sleeves would be required, and that the drop shoulders of the original 1960's Breton top pattern (based on the pattern pictured above) probably wouldn't sit very well in the stiffer fleece fabric. It became clear that a mashup was being called for so I used the Tilly and the Buttons Coco pattern (pictured below) for the armholes and sleeve in a size larger than I would usually require, and I decided to incorporate the funnel neck option as well for maximum snugness. I basically used my original Breton pattern from the armpits down, omitting the bust darts.
I found approx. 1m of this stripy fleece in a reduced bin in a fabric shop/haberdashery called Thimbalinas in Bexhill. I was in there with Dolores and my mum a few weeks back (the latter was buying yarn to knit a cardi for the former). When I saw it I joked to myself 'I could make a fleece Breton!" Then I thought, 'Umm, actually I could make a fleece Breton...'. So I spent about £5.60 on the metre and took it home to ponder. I decided that a contrast shoulder panel in a solid cream would hopefully make it more evident that a Breton top was what I was trying to emulate. The solid cream fleece also came from the Hastings branch of Thimbalinas. Initially I had intended to cut the sleeves entirely from the stripy fleece only, but there wasn't enough to I had to use the cream fleece for the tops of the arms as well. I kind of dislike the slight difference of fleece textures that comprise the sleeves, but there wasn't really any other option. The garment seams where stitched using my (long-suffering) overlocker, and I used my regular sewing machine for hemming.
I'm in two minds about this garment. On the one hand I love it because it is now the cosiest garment I own, and it means that my only other two cold-weather tops can get a tiny break! On the other hand, I look at these pictures and I see a someone who belongs on an allotment. Which is a ridiculous thing to think because actually I would LOVE an allotment! Although I've been a mum for a couple of years now, and my barfly days have been largely left behind (two drink limit these days, amirite?), and I've long been committed to comfort in any clothing I make, I think this garment is a significant leap in that direction that I didn't quite see coming.
Stripy fleece: approx. £5.60
Cream fleece: approx. £8
Pattern: £0 (the vintage one has been in my stash forever, and I got the Coco one for free because I teach the Coco workshop, but it can be bought here for £12.50)
Total: approx. £13.60
I imagine I'll be using this fleece top for years and years. If it gets covered in paint or something, maybe it'll be relegated to the allotment!