Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Simplicity 3786 Pintucked tunic for Autumn

Autumn in Florida! And I am inspired to sew tops with long(er) sleeves as our cooler weather moves in. Yes - cooler! Yesterday our high was 73 - and the humidity was only 31%. Lovely blue sky day...

Moving on to this cute pattern. I did a muslin in the sleeveless pintucked version in cotton lawn way back in June and really disliked it! Just felt skimpy. (Part of the problem is the fabric...too light and see-through and affected my judgment).

But it is such a versatile pattern, with loads of versions and great lines. There had to be something here for me!

Finding the perfect fabric at JoAnns inspired me to work with this pattern again. I am in love with this orange and gold batik. It's not gold foil but has the illusion of foil, and it has random splashes of a warm fuschia. The colors are deeply saturated after prewashing.  

A little aside: Batiks are so intriguing and the range has become incredible - quilters know them well. JoAnns has some but Fabric.com has a wonderful collection, as does Hancocks of Paducah. The base fabric is usually a fairly tightly woven cotton - between a quilting cotton and a calico. They sew beautifully and are very fresh and comfortable for blouses, tunics, and dresses. Yes, they give up some color - but good quality batiks are pretty stable. 

I sewed version D, the long sleeve view, but used only the upper part of the sleeve. Of course I had to modify something! The sleeves are now a longer elbow length, with bottom gathers and a plain band - a very trendy look this fall, but also a very comfortable length. No cuffs in my coffee!

The sleeve construction was done separately from the tunic, before I stitched the underarm seam or inserted the sleeve:
  • I cut the upper sleeve pieces 2.5" longer than the original pattern, based on measurements from my shoulder to my elbow. I wanted the sleeve to drop softly to the bend of my elbow.
  •  Also based on my measurements, this time the width of my arm at my elbow, I cut 4 band pieces, 1 3/4" x 13". For the width, I was after a bit of the 'open' sleeve look. Most importantly, I did not want the band to grab at my elbow when I bent my arm! Practiced with the measuring tape until it felt right...
  • The sleeve bottom was gathered with long machine stitches a bit less than 3/8" from the raw edge.

  • Two band pieces  were sewn with a 3/8" seam, right sides together, along the long edge to form each sleeve band.
  • The bands were attached to the gathered edge with a 3/8" seam, again right sides together.

New sleeve on the inside...

and on the outside...

Yes, the band could be cut in one piece rather than two - but I like the weight of the additional seam in the lower edge of the band. I did not interface the band, so the seam adds stabilization as well.

Based on my muslin, I added 5/8" to the lower edge of the tunic pieces. And sewed a 5/8" narrow hem. Nice length.

This was a fun project! Just a few more sewing notes...

I sewed the sleeves into the tunic before running up the side seams, then stitched the tunic from sleeve band to tunic hem in one go. The tunic was machine hemmed, but I slipstitched the sleeve and collar bands on the inside by hand. There is no topstitching on this tunic, almost a first for me!

The collar was attached to turn to the inside instead of to the outside. Makes for a much nicer outside finish to have the machine seam on the outside. What was Simplicity thinking! 

I only keep black and white thread in stock for my serger, so I used the overcasting foot and stitch on my sewing machine to finish my seams. This is the first time I've used this foot, aka an overlocking foot. I was inspired by Amanda, who uses hers all the time instead of a serger. I trimmed the seams to a bit more than 1/4" first - love the finish and am pleased as punch to have an alternative when I need to color match! 

I will be wearing this on the weekend - I'm visiting my grandson, son, daughter-in-law, daughter, and her companion in Orlando! And my sister, niece, nephew,  and grandnephew are coming! Very excited, this is a big gathering for us.

My thoughts are with everyone impacted by storm Sandy. 

Bye for now! Coco


  1. Cute tunic and the color looks great on you! Thanks for the reminder about the overcast stitch. I get in such a sewing routine that I forget there are other options.

    1. Thank you, Jan. And me too - I have a straight stitch foot that I had forgotten about because it came with another machine. I love it for topstitching because it is 1/4" to the edge of the foot! remembered it last week, yea! and put it with my 'go to' feet.

  2. Terrific color, and looks so pretty with white pants. I have that pattern, yet unmade. Seeing yours makes me want to get out the pattern and sew it!

  3. That's a really warm and enticing fabric Coco. Looks really well paired with white too. Lovely

  4. Oh, no! I think i'm about to use that pattern a third time becasue I love yours so much! What a great print on you.....

    1. You got me started on this pattern! Love yours...

  5. So pretty. The style and color really look great on you. I have this pattern in my collection, but have never made it. I really like your top.

    1. Audrey, thank you. Maybe you'll make it soon. I really like being able to see patterns on other people - I used to spend hours looking through pattern books at the fabric store. Now I read blogs and Pattern Review and BurdaStyle - so much more fun!

  6. This is one of my favourite patterns so I am glad you have made one you love . Your version looks great - I love orange.

  7. Such a pretty top! Looks great on you & with the white pants.

    1. Thank you, Beverly! lucky me, I get to wear white all year! and it really does set off colors.

  8. That is one great top looks fantastic.

  9. Thank you, Valerie. I LOVE the fabric, makes me feel good, hard not to just buy some and put it away!

  10. Replies
    1. Thank you! I know you love colors and patterns :-)


I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco