Tunic Top for Make it Work

I’m excited to be posting today for Sabra’s Make It Work event on Sew a Straight Line!  You must check out what others have done and some tips on making patterns work that Sabra posted earlier this week!  It’s been a fun week so far with some great ideas on making what you have, work!
no bagSabra is one of my closest friends. It’s so nice to be able to talk about blogging together.  She has always been a great support to me!  I was looking through her archives of things she’s sewn, and really, she’s got some mad sewing skills.  We sew once a week together, and in doing that, I have learned a lot about sewing from her.  She’s a great example in so many other aspects of her life–especially as a mother.  I’m so happy to call her my friend!  Plus she’s hilarious, which makes her tons of fun to be around.

When Sabra told me about the challenge, I knew it was something I’d love to be involved in.  If it’s not something simple, I don’t really love to start from scratch.  I have a lot more confidence if I at least have a starting point.  And since I also have a love for thrift store patterns, I thought it would be fun to see what Sabra sent me.

Not all that bad, right?  The pattern was from 1991.   I chose this one to work with.  DSCF5809

It’s similar to the Anda Dress (and too bad for me, not the most flattering on my less than bounteous chest, but what’s a girl to do? And don’t ask me why I look like I’m smirking in this picture.  Like I said, Sabra’s funny and she was the one taking the pictures).  DSC_0107

I chose some ultra discounted fabric from Joann, that Sabra also used for her beautiful top HERE.  I forgot that she has mentioned what crumby fabric this was to work with.  She told no lie.  But it is pretty fabric, and I love how light it is for spring-time.   Here it is unbelted, which gives it a much more casual look.  But you can see how the sides are ruched here—more on that below.DSC_0106-1

The one great thing about this fabric was that it gathered really easily while sewing.  So I didn’t adjust my tension for the sleeve seams and the sleeve hem which resulted in the fabric gathering and looked like I did it on purpose!  If I hadn’t done that, I probably would have inserted some elastic into the sleeve hem. DSC_0104

I mainly used the pattern as is, but I took in the sides a couple of inches just by cutting off one inch along the non-folded side of the pattern.DSCF5793

I knew that I would try it on as I sewed along and see what needed to be done to “make it work”.  The sides were majorly boring, giving the shirt a very plain, boxy shape.  Obviously that would be the case, since that is how the pattern shows it. DSCF5792

So I took some thin elastic…DSCF5797

Measured a piece from my armpit to my waist-line…DSCF5796

Then started at the bottom of the shirt, pulling the elastic as I went, while zig-zag stitching the elastic into the seam (next 2 pictures).

And done!  Such a simple shirt to make, with a couple simple changes that give it that extra, needed character!DSCF5804DSCF5806DSCF5809


Thanks so much for letting me guest post today, Sabra!  I love things that push me to be more creative, and really, this sewed up so quickly I think I’ll pull out some of my thrift store patterns and see what I can do with them!


  1. says

    love it!! I recently made the anna tunic- amy butler and it was a little boxy! I may add the elastic to it – give it some shape!

  2. says

    I so love that you made the top on pattern (sans the pads) and then totally changed the look with elastic!! You are amazing. Thank you so MUCH for participating. You’re the best :)

  3. says

    The elastic really does make the shirt work. For skinny people, that effect looks nice, but for people like me with a belly that sticks out, that effect helps hide bulk too!

    Great job!

  4. says

    This is really fantastic, Christie! I never would’ve thought of doing a ruched side on that pattern, but it makes all the difference. It looks so wearable too (unlike lots of the stuff I make for myself) And however much you struggled with that fabric, it was worth it! I love the print and drape.

  5. says

    Wow-I am so impressed! I am big busted and need something to hide that. I don’t think this would work. Any ideas?

  6. says

    Cute!!! I think that fabric is perfect for this top, it really sweetens the deal. Especially if it is super discounted :)

    It is really pretty, I’d sport that any day!

  7. says

    Cute idea and I love the fabric colors. I just lost a ton of weight and being jobless,,,, I have decided to hit my stash and find some patterns to make tops with..it seems that my top measurements really changed, and my bottom??? Well, lets just say that I’ll always have that “rubenesque” look… LOL.

  8. says

    really adorable top! I love the ruching on the sides and that it’s cute belted and not. Nice job!

  9. says

    Wow! I am impressed! That’s McCall’s pattern envelope really brought back some memories from childhood, wow! Hmmm, now I feel like I should sew something!


  10. says

    What a cute shirt! I have never sewn a shirt before, but you make it look so easy I may have to give it a try! :)