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Tunic Dress July 3, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 9:55 am
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This project started when I was watching What Not to Wear, a must-see show. I watch a lot of these how-to programs but can never seem to put into practice what I see. I used to be on quite a decorating show kick, even though I still have no clue in that department. Anyway, one of the hosts was lamenting the fact that the contributor’s wardrobe had no “day dresses.” Day dresses are apparently imperative to the modern women’s wardrobe. I thought of my wardrobe, which consists almost exclusively of t-shirts and capris, so much so that even Jacob mentioned that it was very boring. It is a little embarrassingwhen a nine year old is giving you fashion advice. So I decided to make a day dress. It would be great for subbing, comfortable and easy, I thought. I started (where else?) with a pattern from Carla Crim: the Patricia Tunic. You can find Carla’s patterns at and, at the risk of sounding redundant, they are the best. I had already spied a tunic dress another sewer had made and submitted to the I Made This portion of the website, so I had a good idea of what I wanted it to look like.

I had already made two tunics from this pattern and was pleased at how they came out. I even altered it a little already, adding elastic in the sleeve hem. This is Jennifer Paganelli’s gorgeous fabric!

So I started with this basic pattern. It has three pattern pieces, the center front, two side pieces and one back. Luckily, Carla indicates the finished length right on the piece so I measured myself to determine how much more length I needed. I ultimately added six inches to each piece. I cut off the pattern piece at the next to last cutting line, measured six inches and then taped it back. I also decided I wanted more of an a-line so I taped a piece of paper to the pattern and ran the ruler from the widest part of the pattern down to two inches from the end of the cutting line on the side. This gave me more of a flared out shape to the back and side pieces. This is what the pieces looked like when I finished:

Everything looked good so far, but I was a little gun shy about cutting into my expensive Heidi Grace fabric (even though I got it at 40% off thanks to the coupon). So I tried it in muslin first and discovered that I did not measure correctly and the back was an inch shorter than the front! Good thing I practiced first!

After I corrected my mistakes I tried again and it came out perfect! It is a little tight getting it on and off but it fits so well I wouldn’t want to go up a size. I added a band along the bottom for a little more length. Here I am meeting the author of the pattern, Carla herself and her son Louie!






7 Responses to “Tunic Dress”

  1. Cathy P Says:

    I just love how you whipped this one up….you are so ingenius and it came out great…it looks wonderful on you Steph! I especially love how you added the bottom band! Cute fabrics too! Thanks for the tutorial! Very helpful!!! 😉

    • Bernadette Says:

      I love the red and black one. I have been adding day dresses to my wardrobe for the past few months, mostly because it’s hot. But unlike you I have to buy mine. You are very talented.

  2. Kira (Toadstool on the dis) Says:

    Thank you for posting the directions! It makes sense now. I LOOOOVE the dress on you. It looks so cute.

  3. […] the original post: Tunic Dress is Email this author | All posts by | Topic: Fashion Advice | Tags: dispense-fashion, […]

  4. Marlo Says:

    You look great in your new dress! Thanks so much for doing this. I might have to try this. You are so creative.
    FYI I am addicted to those kinds of show too.

  5. Amy Says:

    I love this Stephanie! I’d certainly like to try this for myself, hopefully I can find some time. Great picture of you, Carla and Louie!

  6. stephres Says:

    Thanks for all the comments! I had opposed the thought of day dresses mostly because I often find myself crawling around on the floor but I am really happy with how this one came out!

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