No Sweat! Xanthea becomes a fleecy top

I’ve just whipped up a fleecy top using the new zero waste Xanthea t-shirt pattern. The pattern comes with a long sleeve option.

The Xanthea pattern is in my shop with 25% off for the next two weeks.

zero waste Xanthea fleecy top
I made a secret pocket in the seam using an invisible zip. The pocket makes use of the neck cutout.
Black fleecy fabric
The fabric is just your ordinary, everyday fleecy. I got it from the op shop and it’s left over from someone else’s sewing. It’s also the end of the roll.
I don’t know about you, but I find black difficult to sew these days, and almost impossible at nights!
Xanthea top cutting the armhole slit
I made a small change to the armholes: I cut out a teardrop about a scant 1.2cm (1/2″) wide at the bottom of the armhole slit. This made it quicker to put the sleeves in and spreads the stress at the underarms.
Xanthea armpit
Here’s what the underarm looks like after sewing. No need to stay-stitch!
Doing this means the whole top (except for the zip) can be put together fast on a 4-thread overlocker.

If you’re thinking of making a fleecy top from a Xanthea pattern, here’s the ribbing measurements based on this top:

  • Neck rib measurements are already in the pattern.
  • Cuff rib cut at 4.5″ wide and for sizes 8-10-12-14-16-18+ cut at 7.25″-7.5″-7.75″-8″-8.25″-8.5″ long. Cut the sleeves 2″ shorter to allow for the rib cuff.
  • Waist rib cut at 6.5″ wide and for sizes 8-10-12 cut at 38″-40″-42″ long. Keep adding 2″ for every size.

I cut a size according to the bust measurement, but I could have gone up a size or two and it would have still looked fine. I could also have cut a wider sleeve for a slouchier top.

zero waste Xanthea top

It would be easy to add a hood to this pattern instead of neck rib, for a hoodie.



  1. Michelle Cahill on August 2, 2021 at 2:46 am

    I really like this version. I wondered if bands could be added to the sleeves and hems.

    • lizhaywood on August 2, 2021 at 8:53 am

      I did too – wondered if it would be too short but the waist rib adds the extra length.

  2. Donna on August 7, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    I’ve just made up my muslin and really like this pattern – having the cuffs and band means it suits my shape really well. I will definitely make it again with some ‘good’ fabric. Great instructions, thank you! I made the smallest size, but feel I could go a bit smaller – could I just do this by making the body square 2 inches smaller then adding a wider bottom band, and the arms 2 inches less wide, but keep the length???

    • lizhaywood on August 8, 2021 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Donna, to go one size smaller (ie a size 6), cut the body square at 28 1/4″ or 71.8cm. Yes, it’s not quite 2″ smaller than an 8 but it will end up 2″ smaller in body circumference when it’s made (because it’s calculated on the bias). For the long sleeves, cut a size 6 at 15 1/4″ wide, but if you want to make them narrower than that according to your muslin, go right ahead. If you’re making short sleeves in size 6, keep the strip the same width as the body square.

      • Donna on August 13, 2021 at 4:58 pm

        Liz thanks so much for the measurements. Your maths is so much better than mine (hadn’t accounted for the bias!). Will definitely let you know how I get on! Need to find some nice fabric now. The good news is that in the smaller size I only need 1m. Yay! Xx

  3. Barkat on August 11, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Wonderful work. Really I like.

    • lizhaywood on August 11, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      Many thanks!

  4. Sara on August 19, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Liz, as I have said I love this pattern! I am pleased to see the small armhole modification – fitting the sleeve was my only difficulty, but of course it can be done. I am just up to the sleeve on my second top, so will give this tip a try. I lengthened my first Xanthea with an edging from a vintage tablecloth which had hardanger lace all around, and used the same for a trim to the sleeves to coordinate. This second one I am making out of a linen/cotton sheet, and am knitting a lace border to attach to the hem. I feel a little more comfortable with this extra length on my figure. But next will definitely be a fleecy top! And the rib will give that little bit of extra length. Such a comfortable garment.

    • lizhaywood on August 19, 2021 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks Sara for your lovely comment. All your tops sound great!

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