Tunic Top with a Twist – Creative Sewing FUN
To create this ‘Tunic Top with a Twist’ took some creative sewing and PERSISTENCE! Meaning….if it doesn’t work, find your favorite ‘Un-Sewing Tool’ and try, try, try AGAIN! That’s the story of the neckline and the sleeves on this top.
FRONT & BACK PATTERN CHANGES
I set out to simply make an interesting tunic top combining this great geometric ITY knit (short for Interlock Twist Yarn, usually a poly print jersey) and the great little black/white stripe as an accent. To cut my BASIC TERRIFIC KNIT TOP PATTERN (Printed version HERE, PDF version HERE) with some swing and length, see what I did as I cut it out in the photos below NOT hard!
I could lie here and tell you that for the Front as you see below, I purposely wanted more width as ‘design’ at the center front, but, honestly, I didn’t think that through well enough. Alas, it ended up to be a very cool design feature to cinch in that excess at the neckline and at the bustline with some gathers, while still maintaining the ‘swing’ that the extra width at the center front accomplished.
What you must remember as you change the angle and ‘line’ of the side seam, is that once you cut a new line for the side seam of either the Front or the Back, you must do the SAME angle for the other piece. Simple – just lay the first one you cut on top of the remaining piece and use as the ‘pattern’ for cutting.
- Fold Sleeve pattern in half and cut with a seam allowance for that half.
- Fold Sleeve pattern in half and cut the other side with a seam allowance for THAT half.
Try #1: I cut the stripe about 5″ wide, 2″ shorter than the neckline measured, and did the ‘Chico Twist’ off-set trick as in my Nifty Necklines pattern but
WHOOPS – TOO low – mainly, I determined, because of that extra width I added at the center front all the way up into the neckline – which made the neckline TOO low. DUH – I should have realized that would happen!
I carefully ripped that neckline off and started over.
Try #2: How about having it less long so the body neckline really had to e eased into it AND make it a bit narrower so it was just a wide band? By this time I also knew I would need to get rid of that excess width at the center front, so I added some gathering stitches for about 2″ either side of the center front.
Final Fix: By this time, I had taken out a full 5″ of length of this striped band. But, it was still gaping a bit at the center front. After a bit of playing with the excess – and remembering a neckline in my Sensational Shirring Pattern, I found that adding the loops of fabric at each side as you can see above, completely took care of the excess. YEAH!
Center Front & Back Detail
That fullness at the center front was also controlled by adding some shirring stitching between each bust at the empire style level. I braided 3 strips of the knit, added a knot at each end and then also took a band around the back to cinch it all in at that ’empire’ style line
I actually had stitched the sleeves down the center front for about 3″ from the armhole seam, but then decided that UN-Stitching created a better look. The seam allowances down the sleeve were stabilized, fused back, and topstitched. Dividing the length of the sleeve into 3 parts, tacking together at the 3rd markings, and adding a bow of the striped knit fabric at the tacking and a strip with a bow at the hemline finished them off nicely. Here’s another close-up look.
I always stabilize hemlines in knits with knit fusible interfacing the hem allowance depth. I also serged this edge, then twin needle stitched it – and TOO MUCH stuff going on – as it was waving like crazy! I took it all out, including the serging (which was 4 thread wide, and I usually just do a 3 thread serging IF I serge the hem allowance edge at all). The lesson is: the LESS done on a knit hem, the better!
Sewing teaches PERSISTENCE! Honestly, it feels like a conquering task sometimes to create a garment – especially when one is ‘flying by the seat of her creative soul’ as she sews. I guess I like it that way. This is bound to be a favorite among some new ‘in’ Tunic length tops. This one will stay in my TN wardrobe year-round.