Friday, June 25, 2010

Simplicity 3835 tunic

Well, its finished for now. I foresee some changes to the finished product before I absolutely love it though.

I know I said "dress length" yesterday, but technically I cut somewhere between the dress & tunic length. And its still way short! No way I could wear this without leggings or something. Which makes it a long tunic, not a dress.

Now, to be fair to the pattern, it IS basically a peasant-style dress (i.e. sack) and it pretty much looks like that on me. I was hoping the subtle sideseam shaping and back darts (and minimal gathering for the neckline) would translate into a cute but airy dress (er, tunic) but the truth is...if you have boobage, this dress has to be sack-like everywhere else to accommodate. Sigh.

The sack-ishness is really apparent on the hanger (never a good sign!)

Both the cut and the color reminds me of a housedress my grandma wore when I was little. I always wondered why she wore such an unflattering color, which totally cracks me up now since my family tells me ALL THE TIME how much I'm like her. Heh.

Little quirks I discovered while making this... I made the top version (with elasticated neckline) last summer, and had a tiny bit of "swayback" issue, so I altered the pattern before I cut this out. Well. I ended with a BIG swayback issue anyway. My large booty + high hip fluff needed more room than this dress provided, and I ended up using 1/4 seams over the hip area to make it wearable. It will still require occasional tugging back into place to smooth out the back. (Drat.) I also left out the back darts, in the hopes that would help. (It didn't.)

The neckband is very small. Very. Small. I trimmed at least 1/4 inch off the inside neckband pieces before sewing the facing on because I could tell after trying it on that it was too high and tight. It wasn't "cutting into" me, but it was definitely a fitted neckline. Choke.

After my's still too high. If I bend over, it squeezes my front neck. I do have a high rounded back (I'm just a plethora of fun back issues, aren't I? That probably explains the people stopping and staring at the mall.) I didn't make any sort of adjustment for it in this top because I thought it was such an easy fit (and I've already made it. Doh.) Maybe I should have.

See, doesn't look so high & tight, right? Trust me, It's a pretty close fit. I topstitched the neckline because it seemed very plain. Then I wished I hadn't because now it looks uneven with the other side NOT topstitched.

I cut out the floppy bows for the sleeves, but in the end determined to leave them off and went for a turned up & stitched hem. No complaints about the sleeves. I'd read on some other blogs that the sleeve was very tight at the lower end, so I tissue fit and I did have to add to the pattern piece. It fits pretty perfect!

I made a very narrow (1/2") hem on the bottom of the dress/tunic because I was still delusionally thinking I might be able to wear this as a summer dress. HAHAHAHA.

On the plus side, the invisible zip was very easy to insert using my NEW INVISIBLE ZIPPER FOOT!!

Back when I did my podcast interview with Lori, I mentioned that I typically avoid this zip type like the plague because I didn't have the foot and they were too fiddly to put in without it. Well, Lori very sweetly sent me one of her extra invisible zipper feet for my Viking Lily, and then a couple of weeks later the very thoughtful Marie sent me one for my Bernina!

This little dress was put together on the Bernina Activa 220, so Marie's foot was put to good use. And, WOW, you guys were right. Using the right foot makes ALL the difference. Thank you so much Marie & Lori! The sewing community surprises me all the time with its wonderful generosity and kindness. I hope to be able to "pay it forward" soon.

Here's one last shot of the dress on me. Get a good look, I'm considering removing the neckband and applying a simple bias band, and whacking off the length to more of a "top" length.

I still love this pattern, and I even really like this version of the dress. The fit through the neck/shoulder/chest area is really nice. Not too poofy, not too "Imma goin to the squaredance ya'll". It definitely has potential. I just may need to draft my own neckband.

Oh, and underneath, I'm wearing my 2nd muslin of my denim BWOF 2/10/111 pants, but they're not hemmed. You can see threads hanging, haha! Plus, they're a bit of an unflattering length right here. Well, they WERE sliding down off my butt too though, I didn't add the waistband since they were too tight to begin with.

While I sewed up this lovely dress (I love the fabric too much to give up on it yet!) I watched the fabulous Barbara Stanwyck in Balls of Fire (1941) on Netflix streaming.

Really cute film I had never seen. Sort of a "screwball" comedy. A young Dana Andrews has a small role, and I really love him so that was a nice surprise. Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, SZ Sackall...really do you get much better than that?


  1. I like it tunic length. I wouldn't hem it any more. :)

  2. I like the tunic length, too. I shorter length might look too puffy. I really like the fabric for this style. You look good wearing it.

  3. I'd take the neckband off too. I think it is cute. Glad the zipper foot worked for you. Blessings!

  4. Yeah, the reason I haven't made that version is because the neckline is too high on everyone that's made it. Just check out the reviews on Pattern Review or Google the pattern number. I would rather use a whole new pattern piece than even try to alter that one.

    That said, I think your dress/tunic looks great! I just wanted you to know that the problems are the pattern and NOT you. It's flawed even though it's popular. But then, it is popular among women who know how to FIX the problems.

  5. This looks fabulous! Great fabric choice and one thing I've always loved about this pattern is the neckline, but thanks for the warning! I plan on trying this pattern this summer. :)

  6. I'd try the dress with a pair of white pants and see if you like it better. I always love your fabric choices, so pretty! And I can't believe how productive you are. Tell me you weren't when the kids were little. Please.

  7. I also like the length on you, but do agree about the neck being slightly high. It looks great with the slim pants you are wearing it with.

  8. In the first picture, you can tell that the neckline is too high. That said, I do think that the tunic is still very flattering on you.

    word ver: nomatic - yep, pretty much describes my life!

  9. I think your tunic looks great! If you are not pleased with the fit, what about belting it and wearing it that way? I do like the tunic length.

  10. Y'know all of this sewing because you're home all day is really starting to unnerve me...I may have to sit down for a minute because the flashes of green before my eyes is blinding me. Okay, I guess I'll be okay *mumble, mumble* I like the tunic *mumble, mumble* and I really like the colors...but seriously must you torture me so!

  11. LOL @ Carolyn - but truthfully - I was thinking the same thing.

    I love the fabric you chose for your tunic and I think the length is great. Change the neckline and see what you think. Can't wait to see how you end up finally styling it. g

  12. I, also, rather like the tunic length! The fabric is so pretty and I think that the style looks great on you.

  13. I like the tunic length! I really like the fabric!

  14. Definitely lower the neckline considerably.

    On the length -- I wonder if you tried it with a hip-slung belt or a wide sash -- maybe do that before you shorten it? I think it might be very cute.

    Because it's already cute! Excellent choice of fabric for the style --

  15. I made a fabric belt to go with mine: because my husband said it needed "something" and was too plain up and down. But yeah, the neckline totally chokes me when I sit down so I never do the hook and eye at the back.

  16. Anonymous10:19 AM

    I just found your blog a few weeks ago, and have been anxiously awaiting your next post!! We are built much the same, and I am interested in the fashions that work for you, as I seldom am brave enough to tackle sewing clothes for myself. Over 50% of the clothes I make for me go in file 13!!! I recently purchased a top that works so well for me, that I am going to modify some of my shapeless "gowny type" shirts into something of the same by adding a band to the bottom...I am busty and have a not so flat belly....making my shirts look maternityish....much to my dismay...the band is elasticized in the back, and brings the extra fabric "in" at the bottom. Think the tunic might look good for you if a band was added to the bottom...maybe shorten a bit first...just an idea...but thanks for the inspiration your blog gives me!! Will follow are talented!!!!

  17. I have a Butterick pattern: B5612. It has a short front placket with three buttons, adding interest and also the ability to leave open. It is shown as both tunic and dress and would lend itself to a shortened blouse. It is shown with a casing at the waist and a narrow self fabric belt. Even left loose this belt would again add interest. I just happened on your blog. Like your "speak" and your ideas. The top you made complements you and so do I. dsel


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