It’s been a long time since I loved a tunic. The last one I remember having was sky blue with 3/4 length sleeves held up by epaulets, with pin-tucks and simple white embroidery on the front yoke. It had little straps to cinch the waist and a mandarin collar. I think it bought it at Burlington’s.
While that tunic is long gone, I still miss it. I tried other tunics but they weren’t the same. Too many of them have empire waists or weird, unnecessary details that turn me off.
So now that I have a custom sloper and a fitted shirt pattern, I decided to tackle making a tunic I can love again.
There were a few crucial elements this tunic needed to have:
- It must be blue.
- It must have 3/4 length sleeves with cuffs and an epaulet.
- It must cinch at the waist.
Thankfully I had already found my fabric – a light blue cotton with Jackson Pollock-esque white and silver splatter. It was begging me to become a tunic!
I made some sketches to get an idea of what I wanted and set to work.
The very first thing (every time) is making a copy! For this project, I intended to use my fitted shirt pattern as the base for the tunic pattern. I also gathered my DD Airelle and DD Arum patterns for reference, as they are pull-over tops. I measured the width of these 2 patterns to make sure my tunic could be pulled over my head, too.
Math is a beautiful thing. Minus the placket allowance and waist dart, the fitted shirt pattern was just the right size to fit over my head! Minimal adjustments necessary!
I decided to keep the bust darts for shaping but completely eliminated the front and back waist darts. I also removed the 1.5″ button placket allowance from the front.
Next was the neckline. I wanted clean-finished v-neckline (without a center front seam on the bodice). After some measuring, I marked a point on the shoulder seam and another on the center front line, connecting them with a ruler. I adjusted the back neckline on the shoulder seams to match. Using this new neckline, I traced facing pieces for the front and back, making them 1.5″ wide.
I attached the facings and understitched, meticulously clipping and layering the front “v” so it would turn out sharp and crisp. Then I hand tacked the facing to the shoulder seams to hold it in place.
For the sleeves, I used the same ones I drafted for the fitted shirt. I traced a facing for the sleeve cuff, hemmed one edge, and attached it so the cuff could be folded to the outside with its right side facing out.
I stitched the epaulet on by hand for the inside and attached it to the outside with a 9mm button. To finish, I slip stitched the cuff to the sleeve in a few strategic places.
That’s it….I love this new tunic. It turned out just as I wanted and I have already made a second one with a deeper neckline and short sleeves.