A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gallery Tunic, finally

I've had this pattern in my stash for awhile, but I knew I'd need to do some work to make it large-bust friendly.  So it sat.  I spent most of the winter and spring sewing knits.  I don't know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to switch between sewing woven and knits.  I was definitely in knit mode for awhile.  But after sewing a couple of Bonn shirts, I felt up to the task.

I did not muslin.  I did do a bit of tissue fitting and a number of flat pattern adjustment before cutting my fabric.  The result is pretty good but could use a little more work.

The first order of business was an FBA.  I started with the size 8 (which corresponds with my 36" high bust) and did a large FBA to accommodate my 41.5" full bust. As the FBA widens the whole piece, I just made sure that I cut the side seams along the lines for the size 16 (including at the bottom of the armscye, which I had to widen anyway so that my adjusted sleeve would fit into it).  I graded the back to a 16 under the arms as well, keeping the size 8 shoulder.  Although I am used to choosing sizes based on high bust, I always pause while altering my pattern pieces, thinking "is that tiny size really going to fit my shoulders and upper chest?"  But it always does.  And in this case, once again, I am very pleased with the collar and shoulder fit.

I always require a forward shoulder adjustment, so I just pinned the pattern pieces at the shoulder and draped them over myself to figure out how far to adjust.  I settled on a 3/4" adjustment.  While I was adjusting the sleeve cap forward, I also did a 1.5" full bicep adjustment on the size 8 sleeve.   I pinned the sleeve seams together after I'd assembled the rest of the garment save for side seams, and based on that quick fitting, I sewed the whole sleeve with a 1/4" seam allowance instead of 1/2".  I still need a smidge of extra room - next time I will do a 2" full bicep adjustment.  I have to remember that I am adjusting a much smaller sleeve than would actually be my size - if I were using the size 16 sleeve I would only need a small adjustment.

Finally, after looking at many, many photos of completed tunics, I lengthened the placket by 1.5". I figured (correctly, as it turns out), that the placket as written would look comically short on my bust.  Even with the extra length, the pleat still starts too far up my bust and I am aware that this totally looks like a maternity top.  I can only imagine how much worse it would be, had I not lengthened the placket, but I clearly need to lengthen it at least another 1.5" - maybe 2" or 2.5".  I could get through two trimesters in it, no question.

That being said, I actually still really love the top. The fabric choice was key here - anything more substantial than this floaty voile would have been a disaster.  The voile works with the volume of the top.  I love the resulting shape and I will be wearing it a lot.

In an effort to remove a little volume at the back, I sewed the back pleat about an inch longer than called for in the pattern, though I didn't get any photos of it.  I think I'd prefer this pattern with a back yoke, though I don't have any plans to make that hack.

The sewing went smoothly, save for the serging accident suffered by my right sleeve.  I could have bought more fabric for a second sleeve but I decided just to patch it.  It's totally visible but it honestly does not bother me.  The sleeves also ended up wonky at the hem; I must have messed up while cutting them.  I had to shorten them a bit to straighten them before hemming.

I love the shape of the hem on this top.  Mine ended up a bit hi-lo, which I also really like.  I didn't find the hemming too difficult, but I can see that the hem is already getting flippy.  After three narrow curved hems on my Bonn shirts, I've tried a few different techniques, but my hems always end up flippy.  I've chosen to deal with it rather than get really frustrated and stop sewing woven tops.

The fabric is a poly voile I got for a steal - poly isn't usually my thing but it felt really nice, I loved the colors of the gingham, and it was $1.50/yard.  Problem is, it's totally see-through.  I do have a white cami to wear under it, so that's how it's going to have to be.

And here's one more photo of the top in its full smock-y maternity glory.

I'm not sure whether I will make this one again.  I'm tempted to try it again with a longer placket, in a heavier shirting for fall, but I also need to make a few woven tanks for summer and once I put the pattern away, it may take awhile for me to get it back out.  I am very momentum-driven.  Plus there are too many things to sew.  I've got my eye on that new Cashmerette Patterns Webster Top and am currently working on another tank Josephine to replace one that fell apart in the wash.

So thanks for reading, and see you next time!


  1. I'm sure no one but you will ever notice the serger issue on your sleeve. This top looks good - I love the fabric. Agree that the placket probably needs to be a bit longer, but otherwise a very nice top.

  2. I like it! I think lengthening the placket was a good idea, but I disagree that you should lengthen it more - if you do, the little pleat of fabric will be more on your stomach than over your breast, which might be more maternity-ish. But I'm curious to see the comparison if you do make another!

  3. Have you ever tried bias tape to finish a hem? (They are especially nice on curves). I use it whenever I can (and sometimes when it isn't even the best choice!) I love the clean finish I can get on it and the hem stays put!

  4. I like it!! I actually do not agree that it is maternity-ish, I think it's relaxed and looks really nice on you! I like the placket the way you've sewn it and the fit is really nice. Can't wait to see your new Josephine!

  5. It's lovely on you! I like where the placket ends. It's nice and airy!

  6. If you like the look, I highly recommend the Hey June Cheyenne tunic. I'm a similar size & shape and have made two of them so far. With a small FBA it fits perfectly, is super comfortable, and looks great.

  7. It's super! It has a nice flow but isn't baggy or saggy, I think it's terrific :-)

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