Monday, January 9, 2017

Vogue 1456 - Sandra Betzina tunic...


Well, in addition to rambling on about my hair, I've actually been doing some sewing! And I think I need to take Sandra Betzina to lunch. Her patterns are so interesting, a little challenging, and a bit like doing a puzzle. Absolutely perfect for chilly weather that invites staying inside and making a mess in the loft.

I almost didn't get this pattern - the envelope pics are awful! and don't do the pattern justice at all. Because the lines and details are great. I read every review I could find (I love my fellow sewists at Pattern Review), and just after Christmas I picked it up from BMV's Vogue sale. I decided that even if I didn't like the pattern, I could use some of the details (that back is beautiful).













But Betzina didn't disappoint. This tunic is so cute!  


Some sewing notes - no major changes!

  • I love this rayon crepe fabric from Confetti Fabrics, purchased from Fabric Mart. It's a 4.7oz fabric, perfect for a topper. And yes, it frays, shifts, goes off grain, grows... Using a walking foot for sewing, and steam to reshape pattern pieces, really makes crepe a more pleasant fabric :-) 
  • The patterns sizing method is not my favorite: Sizes A through J (as on all her patterns). One has to cruise the body measurements, find something, and work back up to a letter size. My goodness, what a lot of fuss...I sewed Size C, which has a finished bustline of 40", View A. 
  • When I bought the pattern, I knew I wouldn't use the mandarin collar or front zipper. I just can't wear zippers and fabric up my neck. After studying the pattern, and checking out what other sewists had done, I decided to seam the front where the zipper would have gone and redraft a simple round neckline. I used the Grainline Studio Willow Top to redraw the neckline, since I've made it and know it works for me.


  • It's impossible to see the center front seam in this print! But it's there. I opened the seam and topstitched the allowances so they wouldn't wave around on the inside and drive me crazy. The pattern has lots of topstitched finishing, so this new seam just fits right in. 


  • I also made a small change to the back hemline. It's meant to be higher than the front, but I thought it was a little too high. So I added 1" at center back and trued it out to the sides. I also dropped the four hemline darts to the new hemline.  



A couple omissions. 

  • I didn't add the pockets - I thought they would get lost in the front folds anyway. Plus I don't use pockets in tunics and dresses. I do like to work with them as design details if they're visible.
  • And I didn't add the notch detail to the sleeve edge (shown on the line art above, just a smallish vee). This crepe fabric has so much mechanical stretch that I was leery of trying it. I think it would be a nice touch in a linen or other sturdier fabric.

And a tip - use those dozens of marks and tracings from the pattern tissue. You'll need them all!



Parting shot: My fellas in their Christmas flannel robes. I used McCalls 6236, which is for men and boys. It's a great pattern - fast, easy, and with nice sizing from boys XS through mens XL. They both liked the length and the not-in-my-cocoa sleeves.


My Betzina journey isn't over - I actually bought 4 of her patterns, not just this one. Lots of fun ahead. 

Bye for now - Coco

19 comments:

  1. That does look great on you, Coco. And, hehe, I bought the same fabric, but haven't used it yet. So, okay, use a walking foot (which I don't have) and steam the fabric back in shape after cutting. Good to know. I've made that pattern in linen. Of course, I like the Mandarin collar and zip and pockets. Although my pockets and some seamline didn't quite come together right... Seems were quite sympatico lately, yes? Can't wait to see what other Betzina patterns you make up!

    Also, luv the graying hair story. Still waiting for mine to turn. Mom passed at 86 and still didn't have any gray...

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    1. Thanks, Pao. I read your reviews, cruised your pics, before I made one. I need all the help and inspiration I can get when I do a new pattern!

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  2. Cute, reminds me of Ladybug wings in that one pic.

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  3. Coco, I have that pattern as well. Your make looks good. I want to use my pattern to make a tunic for my sister as it fits her style more than mine. Good idea on the removal of the zip.
    Theresa in tucson

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. Taking out the zip was pretty straightforward. Getting the neckline big enough to pullover will be the trick :-)

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  4. Looks so sophisticated Coco, especially with your beautiful hair.

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  5. This looks so elegant on you and I agree, very sophisticated! Your work and attention to details are so worth it!

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    1. thank you, Myra. I think it will work well down here for winter...great weather lately, right?! I didn't pull out my boots but I should have...

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  6. thanks for the idea of making this as a tunic,Coco. I also didn't like the big difference between the back and front so I raised the front instead as I am only 5ft 4 and it seemed to work. I DO use the pockets,though they sometimes get lost in the folds!

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    1. I LOVE your version, the plaid and color are so pretty on you. Part of my inspiration to tackle this!

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  7. I so love reading your reviews at Pattern Review and visiting your blog. With your height, this is a great pattern for you. I think this would overwhelm my vertically challenged height. This tunic top looks flowing and perfect for your Florida life style. I normally always find Betzina's patterns instructions to be very detailed and helpful. Great design changes to make this what you like.

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    1. Thanks so much, Linda. I think of you often up there in my old neighborhood (Sweet Briar and then Lexington for 5 years...married a VMI prof). You might take a peek at Sarah Webb's version, she's 5'4", and raised the front (her comment above). And it's beautiful on her.

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  8. Your variations to the pattern were perfect for you. I, too, have that pattern and have thought to pull it out a couple of times--then that notion leaves me and I'm on to something else. I really must get serious with it!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I'm with you, my mind jumps around a lot. Right now my living room is a disaster with fabric and patterns - and nothing cut out yet!

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  9. As usual your tunic is BEAUTIFUL! I enjoyed reading your post on going gray--one of these days I must let mine go as well!
    Happy sewing!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sue. I love your hair color, and your color choices in clothes are perfect. And you're a style model for me! since we're the same height and size - I always check to see if you've made something :-)

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  10. That's lovely! I really enjoyed reading the post on going silver too; so very interesting. And it suits you so beautifully :)

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