Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Having fun with muslin part 2: Embroidered tunic

This is the second installment of my muslin adventures. If you wish to see the maxi dress featured in the first post click here.
At the risk of sounding like shameless bragging, let me tell you something about myself. I have a gift of quickly and accurately assessing if a certain piece of clothing or even a pattern will fit and look good on somebody. A skill that makes me the perfect shopping companion.
In all the years that I've been sewing I've always been able to pick out the right patterns for my figure. Occasionally I would come across a pattern that I knew was wrong for me and made the garment anyway.

This isn't one of those vain attempt to look like a cover girl. But sometimes I soooo yearn to make the shapeless balloon dress or an elaborate tunic knowing full well my body demands well cut and fitted tops. Being an H shape and large breasted, anything shapeless or flowy isn't going to work.
And then I found this pattern in an Italian patterns magazine. All sorts of wrong for me but the gathered back piece proved to be irresistible and I made it anyway.

Continuing with the seaside colour scheme I decided to embroider sea creatures on the tunic top using  metal thread I bought ages ago in my favourite colour palette: teal, turquoise and cerulean.

I dug out an old issue of Burda magazine and traced an octopus and a fish onto the pattern pieces.

Using a simple backstitch I embroidered the octopus on the front piece

and the fish on the back. I have intended on doing a tutorial on the backstich but there are far better and more comprehensive tutorials on the Internet. Just Google backstitch for a myriad of tutorials.

The neckline was way too low and as with the maxi dress, I inserted a triangular pattern piece for modesty.
I omitted the draw strings, finished the neckline with a bias binding and didn't gather the sleeves. I prefer the slight bell shape for easy wearing.

The back pieces were finished using the french seam. For easy ironing.

After I first tried the tunic it was a disaster. I looked like a pregnant dwarf! As predicted the pattern wasn't working. I left the unfinished tunic in my projects stash. I took it out a couple of weeks later, took apart the side seams and cut away about 8 cm of excess fabric on both sides transforming the pattern pieces from trapeze shaped to a rectangle.

And it worked! Now the tunic is part of my leisure, casual, at home wardrobe. It's comfortable and very cool.


  1. That is soooo cute! When I was thin I could wear tops like the big tunic, now that I'm not thin I just look pregnant! I love what you did with it and the material is perfect

  2. You are not bragging just being realistic which is the secret of good dressing....knowing what works for the figure....

    I am 5ft 7" pear shaped,long body short legs teee heee sounds weird.Constant battle with the hips as I've aged. That's my secrets out of the bag!!Ida

  3. You're so talented! I wish I had that skill of knowing when a garment will look good or not, but I'm getting better at it.

    I love the seaside colour scheme and your embroidery work. Very nice!

    My shape is H as well, it's a difficult shape to work with.

  4. Mandy: Thanks! I have no idea who came up with the "oh tunics look great on everyone!" It's false. Tunics are very difficult to pull off.

    ida: not one of us is a Barbie. We all have kinks and bumps. I think dressing should be fun. Yes there are times when we need to look our best and I've learned that at times like that, quality high end classic items can do wonders in concealing and smoothing over problem areas. The rest of the times I've come to terms with the slight muffin top.

    Susan: It comes with practice. I've had a seamstress since I was 9, so most of my life. I was surrounded by fabric and patterns and was eager to learn as much about it as possible.
    Yes H shape is difficult. I'm learning to embrace it.

  5. Where on earth do you find the time to do all these time consuming projects, which end up so nice?
    I liked the part of the pregnant dwarf, heh. Maybe you should have saved it for your pregnant months ;)!

  6. Mette: I don't have a job, only a small one bedroom apartment to clean, no kids just one cat. I have to do something to keep busy otherwise I'd go bonkers ;-)
    Yeah, the pregnant dwarf was a funny one.