Tag Archives: tunics

California dreaming…

New tunic!

… on such a winter’s day…

Ok, not really winter. It was raining (again), which in these parts denotes NOT winter about as strongly as anything. Yay, liquid water!

But definitely not as summery as I’d like.

Still, I continue to sew hopefully, so today I plugged away with my gauze 70s tunic, trying not to mutter about how much I prefer nice, heavy coating fabrics. Cotton gauze and voile don’t rate too high on the scale of difficult fabrics, but you have to be so careful about the finishing, especially in white. Things I usually ignore, like how evenly I grade my seam allowances or whether my tail threads are getting eaten by the feed-dogs, stick out like a sore thumb.

McCall's 3838

Now, I was aiming for view C, the left-most on the pattern envelope. Since it was a sleeveless (essentially), un-fitted pattern (and I don’t know how McCall’s patterns fit me yet anyway), I omitted my usual swayback and petiting alterations. Instead, I opted for a square shoulder alteration, which I’ve been pondering on my last few tops.

Front view

And I’m quite happy with the results, although I should probably have lowered the neckline the same 1.5 cm I lowered the centre edge of the shoulders. I did that for the back neckline, but didn’t think to do it for the front. If I make this view again (which isn’t certain, as there’s lots of options) I’ll lower the whole neckline at least an inch, anyway.

After some consultation with mommy dearest, I did some seam-finishing experimentation and settled on the lazy stitcher’s French seams, which is where you serge the edge on your first pass, then press and encase the serged edge within the French seam for the second pass. Basically it adds the serger thread, but saves you the trimming stage. I pretty much blow at trimming seams evenly, so this let me get a much narrower French seam than otherwise, so despite the extra thread I end up with less bulk. Although my serger, despite being serviced just at Christmas, has tension issues when dealing with light-weight fabrics; there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between ultra-loose and loopy and too-tight-and-ruffling. I’ve discovered that if I leave extra-long tails I can usually work the thread in so the thing lies evenly afterwards, but it’s a bit of a pain nonetheless.

Back view

Yes, it’s time for a new serger. One with all the bells and whistles.


I was really, really scared of the sweetheart neckline. Mostly because I felt the fabrics were too light to interface or reinforce, other than stay-stitching. So I stay-stitched, and handled as little (and as carefully) as I could. It did wind out a smidge stretched out, but… decent. And mostly symmetrical, my other fear. Although I used the lining as my facing for the neckline, for the armscyes I bound with bias-tape made out of the voile, and pressed to the inside. I used my machine’s lone decorative topstitch (OK, the only one I like) to topstitch around the neck and the armscyes. Patty is making me very jealous with her decorative topstitching.

Aside from the shoulder alteration, the only other change I made was to add 13 cm (aka 5 inches, but I’m trying to be a good metric girl these days. The search for a metric gridded ruler continues, and I am consciously teaching my kids to sew in metric.), to the hem, bringing it from a blouse length to a tunic length. Somehow when I was thinking about this pattern, the outfit I conceived of was this tunic-almost-dress worn over cutoffs you almost can’t see are there. Voila. Although maybe for the full illusion I should’ve made the top a couple of inches longer still.

Side view

I’m quite satisfied with the fit—none of that bunching up behind my neck that I often get, so I presume the square-shoulder thing did its work. Other than that there’s not much to fit or not fit ;). Side-bust darts might improve the shape a bit, but aren’t actually necessary.

View C has a self-sash stitched in place at the centre front, and I even cut one out, but then I couldn’t resist trying it with my Japonesque fabric sash, and I love it, so I’m going to leave it changeable for now. We’ll see how it stays in place when I ever get a chance to actually wear it.

But all in all, super happy fun!

There’s a bit of the inevitable pregnant pouf that is going to accompany pretty much any take on this style, but this is a look I’m resigned to, as it’s pretty much my natural figure anyway.

This is “officially” my second piece for the Summer Essentials Sewalong. Now, excuse me while I go fantasize about hot, hot sun…*

*I think I should apologize about the amount I whine about the weather. I’m not sure if it’s human nature or a Canadian specialty, or just that I’m a wimp (I am a major weather wimp, especially about the cold). The weather we are getting right now is a kajillion times better than what I was complaining about in, say, March. So really I should STFU.



Filed under Sewing

Trial Tunic

Tunic and apple tree

Before I get into the tunic, I just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful comments on yesterday’s anniversary post. I’m proud of my husband and our family, and of the way we’ve dealdt with the struggles we’ve gone through to get where we are now (not that we are done with struggling, by any means). My favourite quote about love (though I couldn’t name the source) is that “Love isn’t something you feel, it’s something you do.”

Anyway. Tunics.

I have a bit of an ambivalent relationship with tunics. You may not know this, except, perhaps, by their total absence from my sewing so far. Basically, I have what can charitably be called a “boyish” figure, and I have generally figured that the purpose of clothing should be to emphasize what little I have in the way of curves, rather than skim over them. Also, I’m still recovering from a long-time perception that the tighter, shorter, and skankier an outfit was, the better it looked. So I’ve always tended to give tunics a pass.

But, in their massive popularity over the last few years (possibly in abatement now, but the trends can kiss my ass), I did wind up trying on a few here and there and, to my surprise, discovered that I really liked at least some of them. Who knew?

Anyway, one of my favourites has been a specimen with a wide hip-band, scooped, gathered neckline, flutter sleeves, and a keyhole opening in the upper back. And ever since I worked out my knit sloper over the course of last fall, I’ve been wanting to attempt to immitate it. How hard, after all, could it be?


This is not the ultimate version, by any means. Most egregiously, this version is about three inches too short, so that the hip band falls above my hips rather than at my widest point, especially after several minutes of wearing. I can blame this on nothing but myself, though, as I took the existing length of my knit sloper rather than actually measuring the original tunic. My keyhole opening in the back is quite a bit smaller than the original, too, for much the same reason, although this is less upsetting.

Neckline. Meh.

The hardest part of this entire project was binding the neckline. I have a really hard time producing nice bindings in thin, wriggly knits. I’ve sidestepped (or at least minimized) the issue in the past by using a lot of cowl-necked patterns or other alternative neck finishings for the thinner knits I’ve sewn up, but for this pattern I really needed to bind the gathered neckline. I achieved it, by dint of much fussing, cussing, and the flagrant application of both Steam-a-Seam and Wonder Tape, but it’s not especially pretty or professional-looking. Also keeping my gathering from squooshing under the machine foot was nearly impossible. It’s not perfectly even, but at this point I’m not going to complain. Sadly, I’m not sure I can do a lot better with the equipment at hand.

Back view

Other than that, and a bit of futzing with the back closure (between the neckline and the keyhole), I’d say it’s a reasonably successful first attempt, though. V. 2 should be much more satisfactory, or at least longer. The downside of taking your own photos with the timer is there’s no one to tell you your shirt is hiked up at the back. On the other hand there’s a pretty good chance this is the way it’d look most of the time when worn, anyway.

In Me-Made June news,


today I am wearing the 50s shrug (pattern here), blog post here

Cowl-neck shirt

skinny jeans.


As you may have guessed, it still isn’t really warm, although at least we’re in no (immediate) danger of snow. Still, I shan’t complain—sun and mid to upper teens (C) is decent enough.

It does appear that someone’s been working some arcane rituals in the back yard, however. Maybe that will be more effective in bringing on the nice weather than all my hopeful sewing.

Someone's up to something...


Filed under Sewing