The fabric ~
It was purchased last fall from Michael Levine's online store, where there is still some left. When I bought it I thought it was a little heavier, topper weight instead of blouse/shirt weight. It took awhile before I figured out what I wanted to do with it.
A note: I also found this fabric on fabric.com for a couple dollars less a yard where it's presently out of stock but the site says it will be back by March 31st.
I prewashed this piece even though I was concerned about the embroidery on it. However, if there was going to be a problem I wanted to know about it before I started constructing the garment. It went through the washer & dryer okay with a small amount of puckering around the embroidery that was easily pressed out. I'm glad that I did prewash it in hot water with a very hot dryer, being hard on the fabric let me know how it would react. In the future, my tunic will be washed and hung to dry to avoid future shrinkage around the embroidered area.
I decided on a tunic/top because I like the ease of wearing and I can add a sleeveless turtleneck or tank top under it for a little extra warmth. I assembled the shell and it was pretty long. It made me rethink where I wanted to go with the tunic.
Before I decided on the length, I went ahead and put the sleeves in. What a disaster! My previous makes were from ponte, rayon and velvet. Soft fabrics that I could ease the extra from the sleeve cap into the armhole. It must not have been too bad because I didn't remember the sleeves being a pain to insert. However, the denim was not as friendly to work with and inserting the sleeves was a total pain. The sleeve cap has way too much ease in it for a less drapier fabric.
Honestly it stumped me for a minute. I measured the armhole of my garment (which I'd widened about an inch or two) then measured the sleeve cap. There is an 8" difference. I realized that my TNT dress/top/tunic sleeve has a sleeve cap about that width so I decided to make a new sleeve using that pattern piece as a guideline.
The sleeves are different on all four versions of this top. The first has flared sleeves with a pleated lace/ribbon added to them. The second is color blocked with elastic in the sleeve hems. The velvet version's sleeves are lengthened and flared. This time I gathered the sleeves into cuffs. The cuff pattern was borrowed from my Butterick button downs.
Pictured above is the finished sleeve that just wouldn't go into the tunic. So I ripped it apart. I laid my TNT pattern piece on the fabric and recut the sleeve cap.
However, I didn't want to give up on the embroidery at the sleeve hems. So I took my scraps and pieced them together to make a band of embroidery which I added to the sleeve hems.
After wrestling with that problem, I realized the top was dress length but a little too short for my comfort level. That resulted in a couple of wasted hours of trying to make the dress long enough to cover my knees. I added a ruffle to the hemline made from the scraps of the remaining fabric. However, the ruffle only made the dress look juvenile ~ great for a 12 year old but not a 58 year old woman ~ so I removed it.
The tunic sat while I figured out what to do.
Finally I decided to remove some more of the fullness in the body, unpin the ruffle, cut some of the bottom off, hem the tunic to just below the border and hem the sleeves.
A few photos of the tunic in action ~
I'm not sure if I did this amazing piece of fabric justice. To me this is definitely a case of a so-so fabric/pattern match. By the time I was hemming it I was so tired of this garment. Why did a simple little tunic become an epic sew? Especially after I saw this picture of the fabric used in the latest edition of Vogue Pattern Magazine. My version seemed tame & predictable.
I like tunics ~ just tunics that hit me a couple of inches above my knees. I want more of them but I definitely need to choose my fabrics better to achieve the right drape and coverage. When I finished this tunic, I wasn't sure it worked for me until I took the pictures.
What's up next? Another repeat top is on the cutting table hopefully I can do it justice...
...as always more later!