Sunday, October 14, 2012

Schoolhouse Tunic

I finished another dress, but let's talk about what really got me excited this past week:  the Schoolhouse Tunic.  Which apparently everyone in the blog world has made since 2009 but me.  I was completely unaware of this great pattern until last week and I not only bought the pattern, which was pretty pricey, but I bought the "kit" that consisted of fabric to make the tunic.  Here's the pattern:

I received the pattern and fabric on Thursday; the fabric was 3 yards of double gauze which I had never heard of before.  One of the reasons that I ordered the fabric was that I wanted to branch out and work with fabrics I normally would never choose. 

This fabric was 14 kinds of awesome.  It is so soft it feels like something babies wear.  And it was wonderful to work with.  I can't wait to buy more and make a dress to wear next summer - it is so cool and soft, I want to make everything out of it - nightgowns, dresses, tunics, you name it.

None of this was cheap; the pattern, the fabric, and the shipping cost me $ 82.00.  So it was an expensive tunic, but worth every penny because I so enjoyed sewing it.

I cut it out Friday night and finished it up Saturday afternoon.  I got the Carpenter to take photos:

Based on the pattern sizing, it appeared that size 8 was the closest to my measurements; the pattern itself has sizes for 2/4, 6/8, 10/12, etc.  I cut out the 6/8.  I didn't bother tracing the pattern, even though it cost $ 15; I was just too excited to get started. Fortunately, it all worked out.  I tried on the bodice before attaching the skirt and I was concerned it would be too tight.  I altered the side seams from 5/8 inch to 1/4 of an inch, to give myself an extra 3/4 inch around.  In hindsight, this probably wasn't necessary, but I wanted to make sure that I could get it over my head and bust.  Since I only received three yards of fabric with my order, there was no room for error, no opportunity to re-cut some pattern piece. 

Let's talk about the awesomeness of this pattern:  it is simple, it is comfortable, and it lends itself to all kinds of ideas for embellishment and fancy alterations.  I love that the front tucks were placed right where the facings are top-stitched to the bodice.  This pattern would be great for a beginner sewer because there are no buttons or zippers to contend with.  Even the sleeves are easy to install.  The instructions tell you to do the double row of gathering stitches thing, but trust me, this isn't necessary.  The sleeve cap is so shallow that you can just pin it to the bodice and sew it on:

I think the single most important element to success with this pattern is choosing fabric was some drape.  I've seen some renditions on the internet that were made from quilting cotton, but I think most quilting cotton is a little too stiff for this project and a beginning sewer will be more pleased with the end result if she selects voile, double gauze, lawn, rayon blend, or some drapey linen, if possible.

I added more edge stitching than the pattern called for.  The instructions have you top stitch 1/4 inch around the neckline and bodice front, but I edge stitched instead and I like it better:

I also edge stitched the sleeves as well.  The instructions have you press the sleeve seam towards the sleeves; I edge stiched them to keep this seam allowance in place:

I also edge stitched the waist seam; the seam was pressed down (so it wouldn't show through the bodice opening), so the edge stitching keeps the seam allowance in place and re-inforces the bodice opening.  I also ended up making the waist seam 1/2 inch instead of 5/8, just to give me 1/4 inch of length in the bodice, which I think was necessary to make sure the waistline was under the bust and wouldn't creep up on me.

The only problem I had with the instructions was step three where the bias binding was applied to the back neck seam.  This fantastic tutorial helped emormously.  Muchas gracias, Ana!

When it was all done, I wanted to make 6 more so I would have one for every day of the week.  But I'm practicing restraint, I already have the next pattern picked out!

Parting Shot:  Nature's pumpkin carving. We bought this pumpkin several weeks ago and little by little, a squirrel is eating the outside rind, effectively carving it for us!  Come Halloween, we will probably hollow it out put in a candle:


Vicki W said...

Cute tunic and I love the pumpkin!

Anne said...

Awesome tunic and so glad you are back to blogging. My world is round again! I may just order the pattern!

gwensews said...

That's a terrific tunic. What's more-you know the type/weight of fabric that will work when you want to make it again. Good going!

glenp14 said...

How bout a new shirt?

Audrey said...

I hadn't seen that pattern line before. It is a cute tunic. Beautiful fabric, love that shade of blue. The only place I have seen or bought double guaze fabric is from japanese fabric vendors. It is wonderfully soft, but still has some weight. Glad your squirrels are eating their vegetables! Mine prefer tomatos to pumpkins.

Anderson Gallagher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ana @ Don't Fear the Ripper said...

So glad my tutorial helped you! The tunic turned out very pretty. Yay! :)