Monday, January 17, 2011

Free Spirit Tunic Tutorial

I've been wanting to make a tunic for a while. 

I browsed around online at Free People and found this for inspiration. 
It's $298.00
So on Friday I went to the fabric store and spent $ 17.00 on a yard of Anna Maria Horner's gorgeous voile - the perfect thing to make a flowy tunic (or to snuggle with on the floor).

Here's my step by step process - it's not the most precise tutorial, because I was kind of just free-style sewing it -  but I did my best to document it for you in case you would like to make one.  I would also like you to know that I really made it goofy the first time.  Here's your comic relief for the morning.
Bad.  Too blousy - not enough shape. 
So I ripped and ripped and basically started over. 

Here's what you will need:
1 yard of voile - 56" wide
3/8" wide elastic
sewing machine/thread
measuring tape

Step 1:  Lay the fabric out folded in half.

Then fold it in half again.  Determine the size of your neckline - I cut a triangle 3"x2".

Cut all the layers.  This is the back neckline. 
Now split the top layer along the fold -about 5"down. 

Cut a straight line from the bottom of that slit to the top at the 3"mark (only cut ONE layer).  Flip the fabric over and repeat on the other side.

Step 2:  Hem all of the sides and the neckline.  Turn each edge over once and then again and press. Pin it well and topstitch the hem.

Step 3:  Now it's time to give it some shape (the step I skipped the first time :)
Measure your waist at your bellybutton.  Mine was 31".
Now take half of that measurement and add it to the original measurement.  Mine was 31+15 1/2" = 46 1/2"  Now divide that by 2.  46"/2 = 23" - we'll call this measurement C 
Fold the tunic in half.  Along the fold, measure 9" up from the hem.  Then measure your C measurement out from the 9" mark.  At the corner edge of the tunic draw a line to the 23" marking.

Step 4:  Now measure your armhole.  From the top right edge measure down 8".  (or more if you think you might need it).   From that 8" marking, draw a line to the 23" mark.  It will look kinda like this once you cut it.

Are you still with me? :)

Step 5:  Cut along those lines through all layers.  Open up your tunic and turn it right sides together.  Now we are going to add the elastic.

Step 6:  Find the center of the front of the tunic.  Measure up 9" and place a pin.  Starting at the edge, 5" up from the hem, draw a curved line up to the 9" measurement and then back down to the other 5" marking. 

Pin the elastic to one edge and sew it on - pulling it tight towards you as you go (this will make it gather).

Step 7:  Still right sides together, lay the tunic down back side facing you.  Draw a line 5" up from the hem straight across the tunic back.  Pin the elastic to one edge and sew it on using the same method as before.

Step 8:  You're almost done!!  From the 8" mark (at the bottom of the armhole) sew the side seams,right sides together, using a 1/2" seam.  Stop at the 5" mark before the hem - so that you will have the slits on the sides.

Step 9:  Sleeve detail.  Find the center top of the sleeve.  Sew a basting stitch about 7-8" along the center of the sleeve.  Gather it - more towards the edge of the sleeve - when you are happy with it - secure it with a regular topstitch.

Wow - so if you made it through all that and even remotely understood what I was talking about -BRAVO!!  Load a pic up to the Flickr Pool so I can see! and remember - it's the last day to leave a comment for a chance to win the "kick up your heels" apron!

Happy sewing,


  1. I just found your blog. I love it!! I wish I would have found it a couple of years ago when I lived in Manchester, TN back when it had fabric at the Wal-mart. Do you know about Sir's Fabric in Fayetteville? I can't wait to read more.

  2. Pretty tunic! You make it seem easy. That's a lovely bag too.

  3. Cute! You know what grandma always says, "you can't be a good seamstress until you're a good ripper":)

  4. LOVE this!!! It would actually probably look really gorgeous in a chiffon with a tank top under it... and I happen to have about 4 meters kicking around with no projects in sight. Thanks for the inspiration! :)


Thanks so much for commenting! If you have a question, make sure your email is in your profile or leave it in a comment so I can answer you. Otherwise email me at jessica(at)sewhomegrown(dot)com - Have a lovely day!

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