Monday, December 1, 2014

The Goldilocks top - a self designed Tunic top in cotton voile

For the longest time I have wanted a lightweight tunic top in my wardrobe, but somehow never got around to making one. Like Goldilocks every fabric was too heavy, too thin, the wrong color or some other issue. Also I am not a fan of woven tops, I have a few button front shirts but otherwise mostly wear knit top or t-shirts when I am dressing in separates. But there is something about the classic tunic top that appeals to me, very beachy and relaxed.

It just needed the perfect fabric which I found on Gorgeous Fabrics earlier this year. (to my surprise it appears they still have some). It is a cotton voile from Milly, which is one of my favorite NY designers. Someone recently said to me that all the items that I sew are "so you". Which is a little bit indefinable but I know what they were getting at. I think that is a big part of sewing success, at least for me. Sticking to things that I know appeal to me in either color, shape or fabrication means a better chance of liking the finished garment.

Here is my finished tunic top which I made by adapting a basic shirt pattern into the tunic shape and then designing the placket. There was a slight ulterior motive in this as I wanted to write a post for Craftsy on designing and sewing a tunic top using a basic shirt pattern.

TUnic top on form

I am sure for some this fabric might seem a bit wild but I love it, the color combination is definitely "so me". And it is the lightest, most comfortable cotton voile which feels lovely to wear.

Sorry this picture is a bit blurry, my camera is driving me crazy and getting my family to take blog pics when on vacation is not high on their agenda :)  Also overexposed? or the light was fading a bit so the color of the top is off. The view above on the dress form is more accurate.

Tunic top on me2

The placket is a lightweight 100% linen, with some fusible knit interfacing to give it a bit of shape at the seams. I played around with it a bit and then decided it need the punctuation of white piping against the turquoise placket. I didn't have any piping so just used some white bias tape which works well as piping on something like this. 

Tunic top close up

The post on Craftsy has what I think is my ultimate tip on pressing and shaping the neckline placket - so take a look over there for lots of details! I would post the construction details here but I am swamped with projects so for the sake of time will just refer to that Craftsy post. Also there will be a part 2 so I will edit here to include that link. The Part 2 post has my method for creating the clean finish neckline with no facings which is certainly not original but hopefully a good explanation.
Edit 12/1/14:  Here is the link to the Part 2 post on sewing the top.

Tunic top inside sleeve

Tunic top back

Oh how I love this fabric. That makes 2 items sewn with cotton voile this year that have turned out to be favorites, the other one was this Vogue 1353. There is something about cotton voile that is just so breezy and floaty, it feels delicious but you have to choose the right style to take advantage of its qualities. 

I am in serious sewing mode trying to finish a bunch of things that need to get done here in early December. I finished a dress I mentioned in my last post, the Burda 11/2013 #113B dress with the interesting diagonal darts and that dress is a WINNER! Fantastic pattern and I will give you a look plus some details on a few adjustments including adding another bust dart for shaping. 

Whew I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. In between other stuff this weekend I did plenty of on-line holiday gift shopping. Hoping to do it all that way but not likely. And it is just as difficult to avoid the "one for them and something for me" syndrome when shopping on-line as it is in the stores!

Happy December Sewing, Beth

Here is the hydrangea in the back corner of the garden, where I take most of my photos in the summertime. By now it has faded to a lovely autumn shade of purple, to complement the grape leaves turning gold that trail behind it and up the fence.

autumn hydrangea


  1. Beautiful! The fabric, placket, and piping are gorgeous together.

  2. Nothing nicer than a tunic in wild colors. I prefer wearing them when pinning hems as I can reach forward and not have something grab or expose my parts. Have always liked facings flipped to the right side and piped and the white just sets off the solid color so well. I'm looking forward to seeing all your other goodies in the pipeline, Beth!

  3. Beautiful tunic. I love the details at the neckline. I have a tunic that made it to my back burner this summer. I think it's supposed to be navy blue with cream starts with a pink neck inset. You're making me want to sew it up!

  4. Gosh that looks perfect! I was thinking about getting a simpliciry tunic pattern. You've given me lots of ideas!

  5. This is such a beautiful tunic. You look so pretty in it. I can totally understand why you love it. You almost made me order the fabric :) I think I bought it if it wasn't winter here. Beautiful fabric!

  6. So beautiful! I just love that fabric. It reminds me of the tropics and the colors look great on you.

  7. It looks very pretty, and when you compare the price of making one to what Tory Burch is getting, it's a steal.

  8. Oh, the fabric is divine! and yes, it is very "you" somehow. You look amazing in it. I really like the yoke with white edging too. Very nice!

  9. A very nice work and with the white skirt, it is just so beautiful.
    Bravo !