This outfit was inspired by a street style shot I saw on pinterest. It was a tunic with this sort of crossed neckline, paired with a pussy bow blouse. This outfit was not quick to make! It took me over a week to finish it. I used really nice fabrics, so I wanted to make everything perfect.
I used a wool ponte knit for the tunic, and a stretch silk chiffon for the blouse/dress. I got both fabrics from The Fabric Room (they sell designer Lida Baday’s overflow textiles). They were both really beautiful fabrics and a dream to work with. I’ve worked with the ponte knit before and already knew it was amazing, but the silk chiffon really blew me away. It didn’t shrink at all with the heat of the iron as some similar fabrics do. I feared the hem might stretch and go wavy as I passed it through the sewing machine, but I didnt even have to worry about it, it was amazing! I really wish I could get more of this fabric. That’s the thing with buying designer’s overflow textiles, you usually can’t get anymore once its gone.
I used a basic blouse pattern I already had (Simplicity 4112), and altered it form there. I love to design my own patterns, but usually if its just a garment for myself, I don’t start from scratch. I just look through my old patterns or Burda magazines and look for something with a similar basic shape of the design I want to achieve. This way half the work is done for me and all that is left to do is change up parts of the pattern and fit. For this blouse I replaced the collar with a long rectangle of fabric for the bow, I also took out the CF placket and just cut the front on the fold and added a slit down CF. I then lengthened the blouse into a dress length. I converted the sleeve pattern into one piece and added fullness to the bottom of it. I also shortened the sleeves and added a long, slim cuff. So much quicker than making the pattern from scratch! Plus I had made this blouse before so I knew it was a good fit on the bodice.
I made a bias cut slip to go under this, but after I had tights on and the tunic over it, it really didn’t need the slip. I suppose if I ever chose to wear the blouse alone as a dress I would wear the slip under it.
The neck tie opens up at centre front, then once I have it on, I cross the ties, wrapping them around to the back and tie them into a bow. I can also keep them in front and tie them into a bow as well. Before putting the tie on, I hemmed it all the way around except for exactly the seam allowance I needed to sew it onto the neck of the shirt. I have a tiny rolled hemming foot for my machine, and I’ve heard a lot of people have trouble with it. It really is a fidely foot, but worth the hassle because it makes such a tiny beautiful hem. On fabric that is thin and hard to control I spray the edges that I want to hem with some spray starch and iron them. It stiffens them up so its much easier to handle and get it through that rolled hemming foot nicely. Then before I put the tie on, I rinsed it out in water, just to get most of the spray starch out. After it air dried, all I had to do was sew it to the neck edge and voila!
I did all french seams on the blouse, except for the armhole seam. I trimmed it down to about a 1/4″ and did a fake serging stitch I have on my sewing machine.
I draped the tunic pattern on my dress form. I took a couple draping classes in university, but I never really practiced it much. So this was my first project since! It was simple so I figured it was a good place to start. I draped it in muslin first, because even though this fabric has stretch to it, it doesn’t really need it because of the design. Really I could make this tunic again in a woven and it would probably work out just as nice. I couldn’t seam to get around making a dart around the bust area on the tunic, but at last I tried just shifting the dart into the upper band to get rid of it and it worked beautifully!
This tunic doesn’t have side seams, I chose to leave them open. The sides are only tacked for 2″ (the width of the upper band). The rest is hemmed and left open. That is why I made the blouse into a dress, so when the tunic swings open theres no surprises!
I used a double needle to finish all the edges of the tunic. I wish I had a cover seamer! But I can fake it nicely enough. I slip stitches all the folds and edges to keep them closed and neat.
I dont do my own designs often enough! I usually tend to use a commercial pattern since its easier and there are so many great ones out there on my to do list. But I am really glad I decided to make this outfit. It was so much more work but totally worth it! I can’t help but love that its completely one of a kind.