Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sewing a tunic: gathering inspiration

I almost hesitate to post this because I'm not convinced I'm going to be able to pull this project off, BUT posting the process here puts pressure on me to actually follow through. I should preface this by saying the last piece of clothing I ever made was an embarrassing jumper back in 1991 in my 7th grade sewing class. I got a C-. My teacher was gracious.

Over Christmas I purchased a pile of heathered green jersey on clearance and figured it would be a cheap way for me to gain some experience working with jersey (edit: no, i wasn't thinking of old t-shirts in that moment, duh!). There are some other fabrics lying around that might get used, but this jersey is pushing me. So, I've got a hankering to make my own tunic top, or lightweight, long summer cardi. Here's what's got my wheels turning:


The Prudent Baby blog is basically amazing when it comes to a constant stream of tutorials. You don't need a child in your home to appreciate all the fantastic ideas posted! The freestyle hot mess mommy dress caught my eye, but I'm not sure about the pleats on the back or the not-much-going-on front. I like the length and overall idea, though. And, while I don't know what to think about shirring on me, I really like everything else about this most flattering shirt dress. The minus-5-minute tank top tunic has a lot going for it, but I'm not wild about the bum-flashing side slits and the need to have a good hip-slung belt to really make it work.

Still, the concepts are catching my eye! I feel like I need to take stock of how things are assembled, what my priorities are, and what I think will actually look good on me. It's complicated!


A plain front is, well, plain. I want some kind of detail to add a bit of interest (and distraction) to the front. Even the simple single gather on the top on the far left, from Asos, looks do-able. Of course, that side-pull ruching on the dress in the middle (from NY&Co) is really cool - this dress can be short or ankle-length thanks to that ruching! So the concept is pretty nifty, but the follow-through could break me. I like the simplicity on this summer flyaway vest from Forever21 (edit: check out this 30 second tutorial on how to make your own vest), and the shoulder detail on this top from Bonaparte. Hmmm....


But details in the front don't necessarily a great top make, right? If it's cut like a sack, it's going to hang like a sack and, unless you're a pencil, this generally doesn't do any body favors. So, the overall shape and structure of the piece is important. I like v-necks, or asymmetrical necklines, like the green top on the left by Etsy seller BE visable. The side gathers on the green top are cool, too, but overall it feels a little too over-the-top to be something I'd feel comfortable wearing. I love the droopy neckline of the gray dress by Kupra in the top right corner - in fact, I could see myself wearing this dress as it is (but then you'd need the belt!).

Another seller on Etsy, Galinesa, does a great job w/diagonal stripes and asymmetrical seams. Overall the dress and top are a tad too bold for me, but I like where she's going. This is either really complicated, or easier than it looks. I wish I had one of those dress forms to play around with!


And then I saw this dress by Etsy seller, Kupra, in Israel. I LOVE this dress! (no surprise, she also made that gray dress, above) It's clean and simple, but not basic or plain looking. The attached side-tie-sash is a subtle accent, as are the black buckles on the straps. I like how there's enough going on visually, and in an understated kind of way.

Even though the torso would have to be longer, I think something like this could look good on me if it the top/skirt connected at the right area. This is the part where I hate being both short-waisted and tall - nothing ever falls correctly on me! I'm tempted to try something like this dress' style sometime, probably playing with the concept in another Prudent Baby tutorial, called the 10-minute onesie dress - although obviously on a tank or T-shirt!

So, you see, I have a lot of ideas floating around in the back corner of my brain! I'm sort of scared to try sewing anything that could be called clothing, but I think if I don't try, I'll never know, right? And then there's that whole thing of: practice makes perfect, ha!

Have you ever sewn your own clothes? Did it turn out better than you thought, or did it fall in the 'epic fail' category?


Epp said...

Haha! I'm thinking of the same thing. Except that I would like a unicolour (preferably white!) bias-cut long-sleeved tunic made from thin cotton or silk facric (or their blend). I had one last summer and I literally wore it until it fell apart. :) I also have one old tunic with a perfect fit but from printed fabric which is so not my taste. I'm thinking maybe I could 'reproduce' it if I took it to pieces and used it to get the pattern. I have the same plan with a pair of worn-out linen summer pants... Anyway, this is the trick I'm going to use until I will finally do something about that sewing course I've been planning to attend.

Can't wait to see your FO! I finally received my Stool One so now I can use the kitchen counter for sewing. Can't wait to test it. First, however, I must finish a couple of pain-in-the-ass translation jobs! :)

Oh, look what time it is! Sweet dreams! :)

likeschocolate said...

I sewed a dress once. It turned out ok, but I never made another dress after that.

monika said...

I hope that you will be able to pull it off! These are great for inspiration, is especially love the dress with the sash belt. Good luck!

Katie @ makingthishome.com said...

Thanks for the link to Prudent Baby. I'm prepping myself to begin the sew-your-own-clothes journey. Here we go, Juliette!

Traveling Mama said...

I love all these! I got used to wearing tunics while we were in Morocco due to the "cover the tush policy" though I admit I like leggings better than heavy jeans for the spring and summer! I have bought patterns and fabric, but other than that cumberbund project I've mentioned before... nothing has ever actually been attempted. I'm a chicken... you go first! LOL!

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