Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Tunic Time


I’m so pushed for time at the moment, what with end of term panic from some students so that marking and critical feedback is taking priority; preparations for Christmas, even if it’s just the thought of how much I have yet to do; daylight hours are fading fast and there’s hardly time to sew let alone take photos to show that I have been. So today we have photos taken at work (better light) and a few of my less stressed students took the photos – thank you especially to Francesca, but also Louise and Kristina for support!

There’s nothing better than not having to think in the mornings “What will I wear?” and this is the ideal outfit in my book.


This is Sandra Betzina’s Vogue tunic V1477. I bought some striped knit fabric trying to replicate the design on the pattern envelope. Not quite but nearly and I am wholeheartedly recommending this pattern for lots of reasons.


  1. It’s a fairly easy make, even the twist knot in the middle. As the tunic is made from jersey / knit fabrics you just pull and stretch the pieces together until they fit together.
  2. Dare I say that it’s a flattering shape? Curved in at the waist but flaring out over hips.


  1. It’s comfortable to wear – no riding up or tight bits and plenty of ease across the middle so chips with curry sauce at lunchtime is not a problem in the afternoon.
  2. I love how the stripes match and mis-match as the sleeves and fronts are bias cut. This fabric has an asymmetrical stripe which only adds to the interest.


  1. It’s dressy-smart without being a dress or suit-severe, which makes me approachable especially by those students who didn’t hand their work in by the deadline.


Now for some other observations and notes:

  1. No pockets! What? So I added some in the side seams – Phew that’s better.


  1. The instructions harp on about using your overlocker (serger), do not feel that you cannot make the tunic if you don’t have this bit of temperamental machinery – zig-zag stitch will work just as well.
  2. The sleeves are narrow and a fairly tight fit. Now, while they are cut on the bias in a stretch fabric you might want to double check your biceps and the stretch limit of your fabric.
  3. I’ve discovered iron-on tape with double sided adhesive! All the hems and neck edges are ‘stuck’ down and there’s not a stitch in sight. I love a bit of hand couture as much as the next sewer but sometimes the easy way is very, very attractive….
  4. It would be best not to wear this tunic on its own – I’m not dictating modesty fashion to the brave of heart with staggeringly, smooth, softly tanned and well toned legs but quite honestly a pair of leggings or deep opaque tights work very well.


So even-stevens for the pros and cons.

I made the leggings using McCalls 6173 in navy jersey to wear beneath. Easiest pattern ever especially if you an overlocker (serger) but yet again, you can still make them without one. One seam in the inside legs, a crotch and elasticated fold-over waist band.


Back to the tunic – I know only you eagle-eyed stitchers will notice the perfect stripe matching on the front bodice with the beautiful chevrons on the skirt and only you will know the time that takes for pattern placement and planning that goes in to producing such a finished look – it will go right over the heads of mere mortals. Isn’t that right Maggie?

Due to fabric limitations and quite possibly ennui following the effort of the bias cutting on the fronts and matching stripes, the back runs up and down.

All the better to slim you down my dear – Oh no it doesn’t! Oh yes it does! etc etc etc (seeing as it’s pantomime season).


And the one photo that caught us all unawares….


And will you make more my dear? Watch this space…..




49 thoughts on “Tunic Time

  1. A very flattering shape of dress, and a very flattering placement of stripes, well done!

    I really feel for you: it’s such a busy time of year for women (er, Santa, I meant Santa) who make Christmas happen but it must be so much harder for teaching staff at schools. Wishing you a stress-free end to the term (surely it is nigh) and a super holiday!

    • Thanks Marianna, Santa manages to organise Christmas in about 2 days – I stopped stressing about it years ago. Lots of sewing time now before the cooking begins……

  2. Killer dress with perfect stripes (yes I look closely) and the colors are amazing. The fit is so flattering and adding pockets was genius. Your smile says it all, a fun and practical dress that moves and is comfortable…can this be? Sandra would be proud! Please ,please make another one!

  3. Bloody gorgeous! And that’s the exact same fabric I used to make a jumper for my pa-in-law last year. Isn’t it lovely? I’m off to get this pattern now…

  4. Lovely dress. Yes with stripes and plaids the laying out and cutting to match it can take longer than the sewing!

  5. Gorgeous! Amazing! And it’s easy? Just my speed. Thanks for the warning, though, my legs haven’t seen the sun in decades. Tights for me! Can’t wait to see your next version.

  6. Fabulous! So much nicer than I thought it would be from the technical drawing. Fun and flattering! Great stripe matching too.

    • I know what you mean Anne, especially as I am not built like the envelope model – choose a well draping fabric so that it won’t stick out at the sides. Thank you

  7. Thanks! I’m definitely making this. It looks great on you.

  8. Perfect, beautiful workmanship yet once again, Ruth.

  9. This looks terrific on you, and a perfect very useable but lively tunic/dress. I love the asymmetry of the stripes, it must have been tough matching the front ones. Your students look like they had a great time doing the photography.

  10. Wow , I really like this dress/ tunic. Great stripe matching. Comfortable and flattering at the same time , what’s not to like? And, it would look just as good after the Christmas pud !

  11. I absolutely love your dress/tunic. The colours and stripes are great and it fits you to a tee not to mention the style is soooooo you. I have a couple of questions as follows: did you lengthen the sleeves or use the sleeves from the top on the dress/tunic? Also, do you think the fact the sleeves were cut on the bias had anything to do with the fact the sleeves seem a bit tight? If I made the dress/tunic in a solid or non stripe knit fabric I suspect there would be no need to cut the sleeves on the bias for the visual affect which might solve the issue of the sleeves being a bit tight – what do you think or your thoughts on this matter?

    Wishing you and your family a peaceful, quiet yet happy holiday season.

    All the best, Nancy for Canada

    • Nancy, the long sleeves are from the T-shirt version that comes in the envelope but I mostly wear them pushed up. I’d thought that a knit fabric cut on the bias would have more stretch…they’re not so tight to be uncomfortable, just very fitted. With a stretch fabric you wouldn’t need to cut any of the pieces on the bias just do it for effect not fit. Thank you

  12. What a winner of a dress. I love all the randomness of the stripes.

  13. It is really fun fabric and this turns out to be the perfect pattern to showcase it. And nice leggings. A great outfit all round. And I have been thinking of using that sneaking hemming glue but now you have convinced me.

  14. Great dress. Can’t wait to see the next one(s). Hope life slows down a little for you soon.
    Have a great Christmas.

  15. Hi there Ruth,
    You’ve sold this pattern to me, it looks absolutely fabulous on you and your smile says it all.
    Hoping that you have a wonderful Christmas and that you enjoy your son returning home this Christmas. It will be such a special time for you all.

    Take good care and all the best for a stunning 2016.

    • Thank you Marysia, that’s kind of you. Of course I love having Michael home but the fridge is permanently empty now! Enjoy your time with your own family this Christmas

  16. Oh I love this Ruth. The stripes have been used to their full advantage. Great looking outfit!

  17. This is brilliant! I love the knot at the front, and the stripe matching. A complete pain in the bum at the time, but definitely worth it. And, yeah, what’s that about with the no pockets? Good idea to add some. Good luck with the next one!

  18. I think it looks gorgeous on you!

  19. That looks great. I have the pattern but need some fabric, shopping soon in the new year I think!

  20. I was wondering about this pattern. I though it might make me feel large in the hips, but the stripes confuse the issue perfectly! I love it! Thanks for showing me how it looks sewn up!

  21. Ok you caught me, yes I was just thinking oh great pattern matching! Seriously love this dress. I would never have picked it from the drawings …. Too wild, but actually the skirt looks fantastic and really wearable. Love it on you. Happy Christmas, do hope I get to meet you again sometime, with more time and less pressure!

    • Mags, I think it would look just as good sewn up in a plain fabric and then add wild coloured tights/leggings – just watch the length though. It would be lovely to meet up with more time – a plan for 2016!

  22. I really love this, especially your fabric choice. Rather than buy another pattern, I’d love to have a go adding this side seam extension to an existing pattern.

    • Gail, I think that would be completely feasible – choose a shift and add rectangles below the waist line. The hem goes all the way around the bottom. Thank you

  23. Pingback: Tunic Time Two | corecouture

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