As a runner, I am very concerned that I be as highly visible as possible to drivers of vehicles on the road. I am ever vigilant about watching for oncoming traffic and trying to determine if they see me. While it is sometimes necessary to step into the slick gravel and weeds, there is not always room to do that. Also, running with my dog means there are two of us that have to scoot over, which is often more than a one step process.
Most of the roads around my house are country roads, without sidewalks. There is not heavy traffic most times of day, and there are a few other pedestrians and bikers at various times of day. However, there are not enough of us for the drivers to really be expecting to share the road or expect to see a lone figure. Warm weather running attire seems to come in more visible colors than winter wear, so I decided to make myself a bright polar fleece, pull-over running vest.
I was not sure how thick my winter running layers would end up being, so I chose a simple, loose fitted tank top pattern. I used Simplicity 7517, which is apparently from 1997, so the pattern company has since used the number for other patterns… I’m sure any relaxed fit tank or t-shirt pattern would do. The polar fleece is NOT as stretchy as what these patterns are made for, either. It typically stretches more one way than another, so it is best to cut your pieces so that the most stretch is going around you horizontally. The garment will be more stable this way, too.
The finished product is short, a classic vest length. This makes me look kind of like an elf, but ’tis the season. Hopefully, I won’t confuse any small children who happen to be driving by. 😉 I was concerned that it would be too loose, but I wore it for the TD5K run last Thursday and it was perfect over my insulated running shirt. If it was any longer, I might risk getting too warm in it or feeling weighted down. A closer fit could mean more trouble over-heating during the run. However, the vest did serve as that perfect little bit of warmth for our run on the desert trails on Sunday (report pending); and I was able to easily pull it off over my head after a few miles.
If I make another, I might take advantage of the properties of polar fleece and not go to the trouble of facing the armholes or finishing the necklines so meticulously. This would also make it easier to put a simple zipper in the front and leave more fabric to make a matching ear warmer. I should be able to whip out a couple more to accommodate various moods and laundry cycles. I’ll let you know how it goes –