Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Tunic That Became A Dress

I try not to love them, but tunics are just so...easy. Comfortable. And they never expose the area around the midsection to cold drafts.

Inspired by Vogue 8691, I adapted another princess-seamed Vogue tunic pattern, 8699.

Looking at the line drawing again, I see a couple of things I missed before: the ruffles overlap at the points on the hem and the back ruffle is gathered.

No matter: I enjoyed and learned from the exercise of drafting/altering my own version of this pattern, though it turned out so long I decided to make the ruffle deeper and call it a dress.

The body fabric is a polyester jersey kinda thing from the sale section at Hancock's. I was so drawn to the print, but unsure about how to use the fabric, since I hate polyester in summer (too sweaty and sticky) and in fall and winter (so cold!). A commenter here on the blog suggested lining knits to make them beefier--brilliant idea. I had some modal-spandex knit from FabricMart. Actually, the solid sleeves and cowl and hem are that same modal knit. I also bought five yards in white. While the white is soft and drapey and wonderfully comfortable, it's a strange, sad-looking white. Bad for the outside of garments, but perfect for a lining. I made a complete lining for the body of the dress and attached the outer fabric to the lining at the neck and armholes.

The cowl is twisted. This is easy to do: sew the center back seam of the cowl as usual. Fold wrong sides together, but instead of matching the center back seam on each edge, offset it by about 1 1/2 inches. Mark the center back between the two points of the seam, then mark the center front and the two sides. It helps to baste the raw edges together. Mark the center front, center back and sides (not the shoulder seams!) of the neckline and attach cowl by matching the the marks.

The sleeve cuffs are gathered to the fuller upper sleeve. I can wear them folded up as shown for a bracelet-length sleeve, or unfolded for a full long sleeve.

The body hem is left raw, as is the hem edge. I used 1/2" Steam-A-Seam 2 to fuse the ruffle into place before topstitching with a zigzag stitch. Very easy and looks nice.

The print is so modern, but the handkerchief hem gives me a bit of the feeling of wearing a twenties-era dress. Whatever its period, this dress is the height of comfort, with its roomy shape and heavenly-soft lining!


  1. I love the print, and the brown tones it down just enough. Lining a knit is smart--I'm going to have to try to find suitable knits for lining.

  2. I love this- I have the pattern, but always thought the tuckus ruffles would be too much- this is the perfect antidote to tufted tuckusness!

  3. Turning a tunic into a dress or a dress into a top is one of the joys of sewing! You can absolutely love a pattern and know that the design is completely wrong for your body or lifestyle, but if you tweak this, adjust that, add or subtract a bit of length...

    Voila! You have the perfect piece to add to your wardrobe!

    Nice job!