My neighbour Diane just turned 76 this year, on 22nd August. She’s a lovely lady, widowed 2 years ago when her husband, Ray, passed away from cancer. Ray was a top bloke, always cheery and positive. Diane and I got to know each other after Ray’s passing, and I sometimes ferry her to the shops, the clinic and the Library. We also have coffee and lunch together, or I’ll nip over for a chat some days. We’re as thick as two thieves, we are 😉.
Anyway, Diane and I both share a love for the layered look in fashion (Lagenlook). She has some lovely pieces, in pastel shades, with flounces, lace, roses, ties and ribbons, asymmetrical hemlines and what not.
After playing with my sewing machine for a couple of months (I’ve been sewing all sorts of things since I was a kid, but sewing machines are still relatively new to me), and after finally mustering up enough Dutch courage to follow a dress pattern through without my eyes glazing over, I did it! I actually sewed a tunic top in Diane’s size (18-20), and it fits too!
This is the front of the tunic. It comes down to just skim Diane’s knees. It’s even got darts. I’d never sewn proper darts before. The bias binding part sure was fiddly, and my binding came out somewhat thicker than anticipated, but I’m sure after some pressing it’ll smoothen out. I’m not one for much ironing 😄.
This is the back. It originally started out as one back piece and one front piece. Diane tried on the muslin/voile (prototype) that I did, and said she wanted the neckline wider and the chest widened by 2 inches. Which I did, however when she tried it on, it was way too big at the back, so we agreed to chop off the extra 2 inches by cutting the back piece in half and trimming the extra off the edges, then rejoining the pieces. Which was a bit of a pain to do, as it then left me with a bias bound neck part that looked bulky.
My solution to the bulky neckline bias binding was to trim it as close to the stitching as possible, then sew over a placket, so it would be comfortable on Diane’s back. This would be where a label could go, I guess. And yes, the wonky zigzag stitching is my attempt at checking the fraying of the open edges. I had to get some Fray Check to stop the fabric from fraying even more.
It doesn’t look too bad from the back, either. I’m pleased with my first effort, and I’m sure with practice I’ll only get better. This whole exercise took me over 2 days to complete, hopefully as I go on I’ll get faster.
Not too shabby for a first effort, eh?
My only gripe is the fitting of the bias binding. Making it was fun, I used the Continuous Bias Binding method, link here. And I used a Bias Tape Maker and a hot iron, to make the actual bias tape. Sewing the bias tape to the neckline and armholes was the fiddliest part – I think I’ll be quite happy doing that by hand while watching TV.
Photo of a bias tape maker in action, courtesy of Google Images: