Final top version
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!
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!
Uhmmm – a tad too revealing for me!
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.