time to bring home a tutorial i did earlier this month as part of color your summer, a superfun series put on by kojodesigns and delia creates. be sure to check out kojo’s roundup of all 50 color your summer posts – it’s a rainbow of delightful summery projects!
hello! i’m kristin and i’m so happy to be wrapping up color your summer at kojo! my project today was fully inspired by my fabric, a fabulous green circle eyelet that i picked up at britex during a recent trip to san francisco (where i met and shopped with one of delia’s wonderful color your summer guests, cherie!).
i decided to make a fancy coverup tunic for my little gal to wear over her swimsuit (she changes into her swimsuit first thing if she thinks there’s any chance of swimming that day), but it could be made in any lightweight fabric for an easy summer shirt.
this tunic is a remix of made by rae’s flashback skinny tee pattern, which is the perfect basic top pattern to adapt to many different things. it’s really a must buy if you ask me. in this tutorial, i’ll show you how to alter her pattern to make this not-so-skinny tunic with a keyhole neckline.
let’s get sewing!
- 1/2 – 3/4 yard eyelet, gauze, or other lightweight fabric (for a 3T)
- 1/2 yard contrast fabric for binding
- coordinating thread for both fabrics
- tracing or freezer paper to make your pattern
TO MAKE THE PATTERN
take the appropriately sized FBST pattern for your child and place it on your tracing/freezer paper (mine is a 3T). add 1″ to the length and draw the hemline out from the center seam, stopping 9.5″ from the center seam (fold). make a mark at 9″. extend out the armpit 1/2″ to give the armhole a bit more room, then (with pencil) connect that point to the 9″ mark at the hemline. from the 9.5″ mark at the bottom, draw a 2″ line .5″ away from the slanted side seam to later create the side vents. connect it back to the body of the pattern.
for the tunic sleeves, which are 3/4 length, you’ll shorten the sleeve pattern by 4.5″ (if your child is much larger/smaller than my example, use a long sleeved shirt they already own to judge where to cut a 3/4 sleeve). once you’ve marked either side of this, trace around the pattern’s shoulder line and the fold. mark the base of the sleeve out 2″ from where the FBST would be, and connect with a slanted line from the armpit. you can curve it slightly at the armpit to match the existing pattern’s shape.
trim the front neckline just a bit deeper (barely any).
cut a teardrop shape out about 2.75″ tall for your keyhole pattern.
now you have your pattern pieces! mark the fold lines and the size/name of your pattern for future use.
TIP: since you’re making major alterations to an existing pattern, i recommend making a quick muslin and trying it on your child to be sure it fits like you want – the muslin goes together really quickly, i promise. i only added one sleeve on my muslin. better to check now than not have it fit later, especially if your real fabric is as expensive as mine was!
CONSTRUCT THE TUNIC
the construction is largely the same as the FBST, with a few modifications. i’ll talk about the modifications here.
all seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise noted.
align and cut two sleeves and two main pieces (a front and a back), all on the fold. if you have a repeating eyelet like mine, be sure to keep your shapes lined up symmetrically.
sew your shoulder seams right sides together. then sew each side seam, stopping about 1/4″ above the side vent bump out. trim all seams to 1/4″ and zigzag finish together with matching thread. press.
set in both sleeves (sorry no photo! tutorial here if you need one). trim seam allowances to 1/4″, finish, press.
cut out a keyhole by using your pattern piece along the back of the fabric (i first thought the keyhole would be in the back but like it better in the front). center the keyhole, mark, and cut it out. freezer paper works well here – fuse it to your fabric and cut around it.
make 2 yards of double fold bias binding, cutting your strips 1.5″ wide and following dana’s tutorial if needed.
bind the keyhole first by opening up about 12″ of the bias tape and pinning a raw edge to the right side of the keyhole, letting a little extra overhang the edge. sew along the fold line (about 3/8″ seam). finger press away from the garment, and trim into the seam allowance all along the curve. fold the bias tape around to the back and pin, enclosing the raw edge and overlapping your previous stitch line. stitch close to the edge, catching both sides of the bias tape as you sew. trim the ends to match the shirt.
to bind the neckline, cut a length of bias tape 34″ long. find the center, and find the center of the back of your shirt (not the keyhole side). pin and attach the bias binding the same way you just did for the keyhole. if you’d like, you can fold the ends in 1/4″ and then refold your bias tape, though if you leave it raw and knot the ends, i think it looks cute. it’s bias cut, so it shouldn’t fray much. start to sew at one free end of the tape and continue around the neckline, finishing at the opposite end.
to bind the sleeves, measure your already sewn sleeve’s width on the fold (mine was 5″). double and then add 1″ to that, resulting in two 11″ cuts of bias tape for my sleeve bindings. take one and sew the short ends together, press open, and open up one side of the tape. slide it over the raw edge of the sleeve right sides together, pin, and finish as you did the keyhole and neckline, enclosing the raw edges.
to finish the side vents and hem, fold in once 1/2″ then again 1/2″, press, and pin. then fold up the bottom hem 1/2″ twice, and sew at 1/2″ all the way around, stopping about 3/8″ away from the vent. pivot and sew up, across the top, and down the other side of the vent, then pivot again and continue sewing to finish the hem.
you’re done! your little gal can now throw on a swimsuit, some knot shorts, and her breezy new tunic, and you can do whatever you need to do before going swimming. she won’t LOOK like she’s about to hit the pool, but she is ready. oh man is she ever ready!
thanks so much for having me, kirstin and jordan, and i hope everyone has a wonderful rest of their summer!
(PS – i took these photos during our recent hawaiian vacation and i already wish i could go back! we swam every day!)