Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tunic-Style Shirt

Nothing is more comfy in hot weather than something that feels like you aren't wearing it at all.  Nudity without the embarrassment of exposure---that's what this tunic-style shirt feels like. 

And it was SO easy to make.  You make ONE cut. You sew TWO seams. Finish edges, sew in the elastic shirred waist (this isn't hard, but does take about as long as the rest of the shirt-making combined), and you have a new, fun, flattering top!

Start with the right fabric. I bought this as a remnant, so I don't know exactly what it is. I'm guessing it's a rayon challis. You'll want a fabric that is lightweight, drapes well and isn't too crisp or thick.

1. I began with a 60" width, 28" length piece of fabric, folded in half. 
(Fold is at the top of the fabric in this picture.)

2. Find the center along the fold. Cut an 8" slit (not a triangle!) from the center of the fold. 
This will be the neck of your shirt.. 

3. Turn the fabric inside out. Pin along both sides of the fabric, leaving 8 inches unpinned at the top (folded end) of the fabric. These unpinned openings will be your arm holes. (I realize it is hard to tell this fabric is inside out in the pictures because it is dyed all the way through. Trust me, it's inside-out.)

4. Sew the sides along the pins. Leave the arm holes open.

5. Finish the edges of the neckline, armholes, and bottom of the shirt. I used my serger to do a rolled hem because that worked well with this fabric.  You could do a traditional folded hem with a topstitch, or you could finish the edges with bias tape, for a more tailored look.  

6.  Put the shirt on. I realize the shirt resembles a tent-like poncho of some sort right now. Trust me--it will be transformed shortly. Stand in front of a mirror, and mark with chalk where you would like the top of your gathered waist to be. I am long-waisted, so I put mine up pretty high to elongate my legs.  Take the shirt back off.

7.   Use a straight edge to draw a line across the front of the shirt along the spot you marked.

8. Turn the shirt so the side seam is running down the center in order to continue to draw the line straight across the back of the shirt.  Here you see the front where I have begun drawing, and the back where I need to continue my chalk line.

9.  Now for the fun part. You will be making a shirred waist.  I did this for my One Yard Skirt and highly recommend THIS VIDEO as a tutorial for how to make as shirred waist. 
To do this on a shirt, your first line of shirred stitching will be along the chalkline you marked. Then you will move one presser-foot width down the shirt for each line after. 
I did 12 lines of shirring. You may only want 3 or you may want 15.  Stop and try on the shirt a couple of times as you go to see what waist width you prefer.

I totally want to make a dress version of this. This piece of fabric was a remnant, so I had to use what I had. But imagine the bottom of this about 2 feet longer...SWEET! Can't wait to try it!

This post is partying at: 

Put A Bird On It

Inspired Us Thursdays: Sew Needle Stitch Hook, a link party of fiber arts. | The Inspired Wren


  1. I love your top, and your tutorial. I agree, this idea has so many variations possible, a maxi dress, a knee length dress and a long top/short dress to wear with leggings or skinny jeans - lovely!