New Favorite Design Alert! Based on how much social media love this project got, I would say my red bow tunic and flared pant set will be your favorite too! This is definitely an easy project with a whole lot of style, perfect for beginning and intermediate sewists. The drape of the tunic is extremely easy, and the pants follow a commercial pattern: Vogue V9181 .
Let’s talk a little about the design. Since I have had children I have been fully on the flowing dress train, with most of my makes breastfeeding friendly and versatile enough for pre- and postpartum wear. But frankly I’m sick of it. I love a good dress, but my fashion design taste at the moment is more refined, structural and streamlined, hence the long and lean look of this set.
The drape of the tunic is pretty straightforward. A loose bodice drape with one dart on the apex to apex line and a center front seam. The side seam does not connect front to back, so the only thing here was refining the shoulder to armhole shape as it lays on the body. Deciding on length was the final piece. The back drape is extremely straightforward, with zero seaming as I wanted it to lie pretty loose from the body.
Getting the shape and length of the ties took a few tries, but I suggest tying two long pieces of muslin together in a square knot (for the best bow shape) and then cutting from there. I found that the back tie pattern was about 1.5″ longer than the front tie pattern when I did it this way. The next step was to measure the placement and insert the ties as I sewed the front to the lining/facing pieces. You can see in this picture below what it look liked when I turned the entire thing rightside out, before ironing. Because I had not inserted the center back zipper yet, I was able to trim the corners and turn the entire tunic easily.
Lots of starch spray and patience and this top turned into this!
Regarding the fabric, although I bought this from Joann’s, I cannot find it online. I’m pretty sure this is a poly crepe with a hint of stretch, but any crepe will do. I like that it has a bit of body to hold some structure, and as you can see above I did interface the ties, and the side and hem of the bodice pieces, to give it even more shape.
A few changes I would make:
For the top, although the center bust dart lined up perfectly on my mannequin, and me when I tried it on wearing a bra, it does not line up correctly when I do not wear a bra (duh). Also, because the fabric has a certain amount of thickness that the muslin drape doesn’t account for, I think it raises the shoulder seam slightly. All of this makes that sleek center dart off my bust apex by about 1 1/2″ which drives me BONKERS. But, lesson learned for next time!
The flared pant I made in a day, so it’s a fairly easy and straightforward pattern. My only suggestion would be to make a muslin of the pattern before going straight to final fabric as I did. I used the measurements on the envelope to determine which size to cut, and cut a 10, instead of my usual 6 or 8. Once I sewed up the leg seams I realized how large these pants were going to be, and ended up having to take in an inch from each side seam all the way down. This of course then changed the shape of the flare on my leg, which is why I like, but don’t LOVE this pattern. The overall look gives me so much length and height so I just love the finished look, even though I would change a few things. What do you think?