Thermal knits–a readers’ poll: under, outer, or only for kids?


We’ve had a pretty mild winter thus far.  There have only been a couple of days where a real sweater of any kind was really necessary.  This is great for me because it gives me the opportunity to explore warmer knits like thermal knits which seem to always be available in lighter colors (my annual struggle is to find warm sweaters and tops that aren’t only available in dark colors that swallow me and make me look ill).

So when I found this toile cream and green thermal knit at Denver Fabrics, I snapped it up.

Having previously made things with thermal knit, I knew I should stick to a simple garment with a relatively small neckhole (this stuff really grows as you wear it).  I opted for a v-neck variation of my beloved Jalie 2921.  I raised CF by 5/8″ (the scarf collar in the original pattern covers up this gap, so if I hadn’t raised it, it would be too low without an extra-wide binding such as the scarf collar provides) and cut a 2″ wide strip of some cotton knit to make a crossover v-neck binding (see episode 78 on Power Sewing or the technique is also in Power Sewing Toolbox vol 2).


The final garment is delightfully cozy and keeps this mild winter chill at bay, but I couldn’t help but ask, are thermal knits really appropriate for public clothing?  I mean, it’s long johns sort of fabric, right?  That’s underwear, people.  Even styled with scarf and boots and jeans (albeit saggy ones–between sizes is no fun), it just feels a little too lumberjack to me.

There’s certainly many options in RTW in thermal knits that would have you believe that it’s not underwear fabric.  I really like this Free People Peplum top @ Nordstroms:

Free People Thermal Peplum Top

And this Buckle top definitely has some fun details (though it ultimately looks a little Juniors)

BKE Boutique Foil Henley Top

As fabric shoppers, it seems like many of our options lean pretty juvenile in the thermal knits world.  I’m not sure a 31 year old with 3 kids should be trying to pull off this fantastic peach pony print (though I won’t lie, I’m mighty tempted).

Pony up Peach

So what say you readers?  Is thermal knit fabric legitimate as a public fabric, should it be kept for just the kids, or should we keep those long johns hidden?

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5 thoughts on “Thermal knits–a readers’ poll: under, outer, or only for kids?

  1. I think you’re right that the key is in the print and the shirt style. That peplum top is really cute and doesn’t look little kiddish at all! Neither does your top.

  2. Hey if you can show your bra and underwear in public, why not thermal knits? I’ve seen people wearing them out in public! Cute top! Linda

    Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2013 22:35:48 +0000 To:

  3. Well, I’d tend to say it’s for underwear, but you could definitely swing it in a grunge and lumberjack chic way. And you’re totally right about how good this color looks on you..

  4. This is so cute–love the coordinating neckline. I just find thermal fabric too hard to wear because of the growth factor. If it’s quality and doesn’t bag out by the end of the day, be toasty in it with pride!

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