How to Sew a Reversible Garment

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How do you make a garment reversible? Can any pattern be done this way?

Not all garments can be made reversible, but most with simple design lines are naturals for getting a two-fer-one. Reversible garments are perfect for travel as they create multiple looks with less luggage. (Now, if only shoes could be made reversible somehow!)

To make a reversible garment, select a design with minimal details–collarless, faced jackets are a natural, as are elastic-waist skirts and tank tops.

Begin by selecting two compatible fabrics. Watch for colors and structures that are opaque, so the second layer doesn’t show through. The fabrics should also be lightweight so they don’t appear bulky when doubled. And, of course, they should have similar care instructions.

You’ll need to make some pattern modifications such as eliminating neckline and armhole facings, waistbands and any other detail that isn’t compatible with reversibility. Essentially, you’ll be cutting two whole garments minus these finishing details.

Construct the garments separately, including any applied or in-seam pockets, then join them right sides together at the neckline/armholes/sleeve hems and/or waistline, depending on the style. Clip seams, grade seam allowances and turn right side out. Topstitching the joined edges helps to keep each layer on its respective side and keep the edges flat.

For elastic-waist skirts, create the casing between the two layers, without an additional fold-over at the upper edge.

Most skirts do best if the layers are hemmed separately. Frequently, reversible skirts are hemmed at different lengths to avoid accidental underlayer visibility. If that’s the case, finish seams accordingly to hide raw edges on the layer that shows.

Choose travel accessories that will work with both sides of your reversible wardrobe and you’re good to go with just a carry-on bag!