Layering for Winter in Arizona

Desert living really has it benefits in the winter. We do get our cold storms, but on a typical day I can start out wearing cool weather clothes, transition into tanks and even shorts, and end up back in the cool weather clothing by evening. Because of this and my circulation problems, I really love wearing pants, tanks, and cardigans. I have found myself grabbing that combo from my closet, more and more, so I decided to make myself a new set.

I recently discovered a fabric base called Oakley. I love it for cardigans! It is soft and squishy, and has a slight brushed feel. BUT, it doesn’t grow like some sweater knits, it’s easy to sew, and it is available in some really fun prints. This print in particular caught my eye and I just couldn’t pass it up.

Then came the coordinating tank fabric. I really wanted something I could wear into spring and summer, but wanted something a little “dressier” than a modal or rayon spandex. I particularly like ITY (interlock twist yarn) for dresses and tops, because it has great drape, and can keep me cool in the heat, so I started looking there. I came across this solid navy ITY and took a chance it would match the Oakley print, and ordered. The fabric matched !!

I knew before ordering, exactly which patterns I intended to use for this combo. For the tank I used the Catalina tank from So Sew English Fabrics. I liked the look when it released, but didn’t get a chance to try it out, and now was the perfect time. Since I prefer to wear my regular bra, I decided to omit the elastic for the included shelf bra, and treat it as a liner. Because of my height and my side waist length, I added an inch in the length of the bodice, and also added an inch to the “shelf bra” length.

A few things to note: I am 5’9″ with a side waist length of 9″. Most patterns are designed for a height of 5’5″, and an 8″ side waist length. I have found that adjusting my 1″ for side waist length difference, is usually enough for tops, based on where I carry my height. However, in this case, I would have needed to add 2″ to both the shelf bra and the bodice, versus the 1″ I did, if I had made the pattern as drafted and used the elastic, and hemmed the bodice (which I didn’t do, for the look I wanted). The Catalina is drafted for a height of 5’5″. If I had used a heavier fabric or one that grew, I could have left it with just adding 1″.

Since the “lining” was designed to be a shelf bra, it comes in to your body and has more negative ease. I found that this helped keep the “lining” in place and gave me a really clean silhouette, with no visible lines.

I particularly like the extra strappy look I got on the back, wearing it with my regular bra.

For the cardigan, I chose the Patterns for Pirates, Cocoon Cardi. I had a happy accident the last time I made the pattern and ended up with 10″ bands versus the 5″ or 13″ options in the pattern. I also sized it up one, from my measured size, and the combo was love. For this cardigan, I did the same.

These two have been on wear, wash, repeat since making, and I foresee the tank being worn with shorts, into summer.

ombre leopard print Oakley patterns for pirates cocoon cardigan and Navy ITY So sew English Fabrics cocoon cardigan

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