My ‘Sew Girl’ Summer Tunic

At first glance I wasn’t really inspired by the Sewgirl Summer Tunic pattern that came free with issue 3 of Love Sewing magazine. It just didn’t look like my kind of thing. I envisaged it turning out baggy, shapeless and boring. Like a hospital gown.


I have since seen photos of other readers’ tunics made up, and they look nice – but I personally wouldn’t wear them. I don’t mean to cause offence (the ones I have seen look very professional and what they’re meant to look like); it’s just me and my body shape… I can see it swamping me.

However, there was a part of me that couldn’t see a pattern go to waste. Particularly as others have said it’s a quick and easy sew. I had to try it, didn’t I? But of course, at the same time, I didn’t want to waste 2 metres of fabric just so that I could say I’ve done the pattern; only for the finished garment to be thrown to the back of the wardrobe.

So, to get to the point; I pondered over making a tunic, and decided to go for it. On one condition; it wouldn’t turn out like I initially pictured it. In order not to fall down the hospital gown lookalike trap, I picked a lightweight, translucent fabric instead of a cotton. The idea being that the end result would be more of a summer cover-up than a tunic.

Slub Polycotton

As a beginner, I was worried that I was biting off more than I could chew. The instructions recommend cotton-like fabrics; not something flouncy like I chose. The fabric I chose was from Minerva Crafts – it’s a black woven slub polycotton, to be precise. It has a lovely drape as it’s so light, and has an interesting texture to it. When I ordered it I didn’t realise it would be so see-through, but if it worked with this pattern, it would be perfect.

So, without further ado… here it is!

tunic front

I’m quite happy with how it turned out; it fits my brief well! But it’s not perfect. Read on…

To begin with, the cutting out was a bit of a challenge, as the fabric is a bit stretchy and liked to move around to annoy me. I was thankful that the pieces were basic shapes with no markings; no darts etc, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Once the pieces were cut, and interfacing was applied where necessary, I began by making the little rouleau loop for the buttonhole. I was SO happy doing this, because I recently invested in one of those special loop turners. WOW, it made the job so easy. I fear it would have been very fiddly without it, because the fabric was already fraying a lot, and it’s quite holey. With this gadget, you simply slide it though the middle of the tube, fasten it to one end, and gently pull. It turns by itself so nicely and quickly; I was so chuffed.

Rouleou loop

In general, I found the construction of this tunic straightforward; I’m getting the hang of the basics of dressmaking now. The sleeves were dead easy because you don’t have to set them in like you do on other dresses. They’re just rectangles sewn onto the arms to give it more length. Without them, the tunic would be still have a fair amount of sleeve; you can see the seam is quite a way down my arm.

tunic front.

The first thing I don’t like about the finished garment is that you can see the facings through the fabric. I suppose this is where I should have used black interfacing. I’ve never bought it before! I’m annoyed about this, because it does kind of ruin the tunic a bit. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to use black interfacing! I suppose because I didn’t buy the interfacing especially for this project.

tunic neckline

It looks quite awful when hung up, doesn’t it? But not so bad when worn, I suppose.

tunic neckline/buttonhole

I like the little keyhole detail. I think without it, the tunic would look very boring. To make this, you make a cut into the facing and front of the tunic, once they’re sewn together. That was scary!

cutting the front of tunic

The other thing I’m not too pleased with is the pockets. Again, they’re interfaced in white, so it looks a bit odd. And, although I measured the placements, something must have slipped because they seem a bit out of place now. The photo below really shows up that dreadful interfacing – arghh!

tunic hung up

That’s it for the mistakes though; not too bad. I think it would be handy for use as a beach cover-up. It’s difficult to know what clothes to wear it with, really.

It’s really comfy, because it’s so loose-fitting. I can see why people like to wear this kind of thing!

tunic from above

So, my break from dressmaking didn’t last long, did it? I’ve also bought some lovely cotton lawn for that Simplicity 1609 dress, which I think is going to be my next project. I hope it goes to plan, because it was quite a few weeks ago that I made the toile for it!

I also really like the look of the paper pattern that is to come free with the next issue of Love Sewing – called the Ruby dress. It’s nice and fitted; my kind of dress. It will probably be more of a challenge… I hope I can handle it! Keep your eyes peeled as I may just blog about it in a few weeks’ time 🙂 I’m trying to make all the dresses before summer’s over!

Oh, and my eldest has requested a rainbow dress – with very detailed specifications. I think she may be a little disappointed about some things. I’d better get cracking…

Beth x

summer tunic collage

9 thoughts on “My ‘Sew Girl’ Summer Tunic

  1. Hi, I’m so glad I found your post. I just purchased the pattern on eBay but there are no instructions and like you I am a novice, that is why I chose the pattern. Where could I get the instructions? I really need step by step guidance, especially for the tab bit.
    I really like your version and fair play to you for being brave enough to use the light fabric. Never knew you can buy black interfacing, yes it might have been preferable but it probably isn’t noticeable it’s just the camera flash highlighting it.


      • I’ve got it infront of me now, I’ve sewn in the interfacing,the interfacing is 1cm each side longer than the seam? Do I sew it past the seam on the top or leave it flappy? Or cut it? The next thing is the keyhole at the front of the top I’ve sewn round the interfacing in the pattern and cut down the middle, is the correct? Now do I make it like the picture and when do I sew the loop in. I’d love it if you could help I’m so baffled. Thank you Rachel x


      • Sorry for taking so long to reply!
        Interesting that the interfacing is longer – they should be the same! Measure your pattern piece up against the interfacing and fabric and cut down the one that’s longer. The fit is loose anyway so it won’t matter if you are 1cm out.
        Take a look at my picture of the scissors – that’s when I cut it. So you should have a line of stitching around the top, and a line looping around. You cut in the middle there. It’s quite strange and scary, but it works.
        You should have sewn the loop on before stitching the interfacing, so that it’ll be caught under the stitch lines you made that you are cutting in between. This is step 5 in the mag.
        Just read the instructions carefully and think before you do anything drastic and you’ll be fine. I hope that helps…. might be too late and you’ve already done it?!


  2. My thoughts were exactly the same as yours on this, but I had a beach holiday planned (post to follow) so went ahead and tried it anyway too 🙂 Actually kind of like yours, would be nice to ‘lounge’ in over pjs? I ended up adjusting mine lots in the end…


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