Time to show you some unselfish sewing - although modeled by me. I made a tunic top for my mom using a fabric I designed via myfabricdesigns.com. I think this is my most successful fabric yet, with the caveat that I have two more waiting to be sewn up that are also really great.
The floral might be a bit too much for some, but I was going for a Hawaiian style fabric based on my starting point, which was a photo I took of one of my hibiscus plant blooms.
We took these photos around 7:00 in the evening, so the colors might not be as bright as in full daylight. But you get the idea!
I have made so many tunic tops using this self-made pattern. I created the pattern by copying a tunic top that my mom has which she bought at Macy's a few years ago. I will put links to the other tunic tops below.
Here's a look at it on the dress form.
I found the contrast linen fabric at Stone Mountain fabrics in Berkeley. I like to use linen for the contrast placket and sleeve bands on these tops even though I don't ordinarily like linen, but in this instance it gives such a nice crisp finish.
Have you wanted to design your own fabric? I find it a bit challenging as I am not much of an artist but once I got the idea to manipulate photographs then it was more fun. FYI: My Fabric Designs offered me an opportunity to try their fabrics so this fabric was provided to me at no charge.
They have a design tool on their website, but I find it easier to create something in Photoshop and then upload the jpeg. I thought you might like to see some of the versions I went through in order to get this final fabric, so I made a collage of the various files that I had played around with until I got a final version.
I started with a photo of a single hibiscus bloom, which I extracted from the background. Then I played around with the pattern repeat, and tried some of the various filters like colored pencil or cartoon, to manipulate the flower. I thought about extracting the shapes and then coloring it in but that seemed quite difficult. It seemed to need more to the pattern so I added the same flower in different sizes and layers. Once I had a layout of the various flowers I liked then I used the mosaic filter. That looked Ok but seemed to need a different background. So I tried different backgrounds and thought the royal blue was pretty against the pinks of the flowers. Adding back the mosaic filter I then changed the pattern repeat orientation and had my final jpeg to upload to their site.
Here is the fabric before cutting. This is their cotton sateen - which is quite lightweight. Most cotton sateens I buy are much heavier, I find that this fabric is much more similar to a cotton voile. As I mentioned in one of my prior posts about My Fabric Designs, if you are interested I strongly suggest you order the swatch book which is $ 5.00 and has good size swatches of all their fabrics so you can actually see what the fabric feels like and how the colors print on the various fibers.
A closer look at the linen placket. I really love the colors in this fabric. When I first ordered it I only ordered one yard - as I was still figuring out how to use the site, and my mother saw it and said "oh I would love a top in that fabric!". So I ordered more, this time 2 yards so that I would have enough to make the top. The second piece of yardage is the exact same print as the first so that is a nice result. I can use the remainder from her top and then the original 1 yard to make something for myself :)
I have a piece of silk fabric that I ordered and the more I look at it the more I like it - consequently I am unable to decide how to use it, other than a top. I have 2 yards so plenty for a summer top, or even a long sleeve blouse. Pattern paralysis. Although it is kind of a summery color. I was at Nordstroms yesterday and took a spin around the designer department - I love to do that, inspecting all the high end stuff. In particular petting the Armani Collezioni. Yummy fabrics and soft tailoring. But I say a couple of Rebecca Taylor tops, very similar to the Vogue patterns of her designs, so I'm leaning that way.
As for this fabric - I might just make another tunic top for myself!
Here are links to the other items I have made using fabric from My Fabric Designs.
Cotton Poplin summer dress
Cotton knit skirt and top
and here are links to a lot of different tunic tops.
Cotton voile tunic top
Garment clone tunic top - this is the first one I did.
Rayon fabric from Girl Charlee tunic top - scroll to middle of post.
Quilting cotton tunic top
and there are others but those are the ones made from this basic pattern. I wasn't that big of a fan of the tunic top style - I always thought it looked a bit 70's caftan, and not in a good way. But safe to say I am now a convert, in the right fabric it is a really great wardrobe addition.
More tops coming up on the blog next, as I am trying to make separates after my recent run of dresses. Not that a dress didn't sneak in there - which is a Vogue designer pattern repeat too! I will leave you guessing as to which one.
Stay cool - I think there is a heat wave just about everywhere in the US. And to prove that the SF Bay Area has a zillion different climate zones, plus further proof that tourists should always pack a jacket I give you my iPhone screen caps from last night at 6pm. My house vs. SF downtown. And I could be there in about 25 minutes so it is not very far (with no traffic - I calculate all distances using the no traffic baseline. Which might explain why I am often late. We are getting like LA around here, the traffic is madness!)
Yes, 102˚F at 6pm. and now today is supposed to be hotter! After all we console ourselves with the time worn phrase "at least there's no humidity." Hey, I wish for summer so I can't complain. The tomatoes are ripe and my basil is growing like crazy. Last night I made some crispy pizza with basil, yellow tomatoes and goat cheese and then sliced it up and put it in the freezer. Perfect for a quick appetizer one of these warm evenings.
Happy summer sewing, Beth