Impulsive Sewing Project: Design-It-Yourself Tunic


I’ve been getting antsy to take a break from my (many…many…MANY) current projects in order to make something cute and comfy for myself. I decided at about 9pm tonight to start something! That usually leads to disaster, but so far, it’s going great!

I decided to use one of my vintage sheets because it’s soft and I liked the retro print for the tunic style. (The shirt I’m making is the red one up in the left corner.)

The idea behind Design-It-Yourself Clothes is that you draft your own patterns from your measurements or from existing clothing, making changes to design new styles for your body. I’d already used the book and some internet resources to make my perfect tee pattern. I used that pattern as a guideline for this shirt.

IMG_5316 I lined my pattern up along the centerfold, adding about an extra 2 inches to create the gathers at the waist. I also decided to use the hem of the sheet as the hem of my shirt. It won’t round up at the sides, but I really don’t know how much that matters. As you can see, it only makes about a half an inch difference.

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I then marked where the placket should go. (Placket??? New to me… it’s basically where the buttons go. Google it if you want a better definition 🙂 ) I went ahead and marked this on my pattern in case I decide to make this  shirt again.

This is where it gets tricky. The book gives very unclear directions for a lot of steps. They understandably assume that if you’re ready to design your own patterns, then you’ve obviously made many a placket in your day. So, there was not really an explanation for creating said placket, at least not one that I could really understand. So I felt my way through that one. I had to cut 3 different versions before I even came close. The one pictured above is wrong. It’s just the scraps from the shirt and was way too small. You need, as far as I can tell, 2 strips that are about 2 inches long than the opening and about twice the width of the opening if the front was unfolded. shirt Here’s a really crappy drawing to illustrate. Just pretend the lines are straight and that it was not done in a hurry at 11:30 pm. The dotted lines indicate that you will fold there, or that you have cut those placket pieces on the centerfold.

Next I cut out my back using my tee pattern. This time I cut right on the fold, because I didn’t want any extra material in the back.IMG_5327

Then I pinned my shirt together from the outside and tried it on. That hurt a little… I guess not every pin was pointing out 🙂 But I figured if I could slip it on with pins in it, then getting it on without them would be a breeze. I forgot to take pix as I pinned it and sewed it, but here is a picture of it put together before sewing: IMG_5328 I sewed the placket sides first, starting with the left side (if the shirt was on). This is the side with the buttons. Then I sewed the side with the button holes. I did it in this order because you’ll want the button hole side to overlap the side with buttons.IMG_5332 Then I created the gathers by sewing across the edge and pulling the threads. Then I folded the bottom of the placket pieces under and overlapped them the way they needed to be. I pinned it all together and then top stitched the bottom. Tomorrow I will actually topstitch around the rest of the placket, but it was just necessary to get this part done. This was probably the hardest part, because it requires a lot of agility. it’s a small space and a lot of overlapping bits that want to slide around. Also, you want to make sure you have enough overlap for those buttons and button holes. I barely did, but I was afraid if I made it any tighter, the shirt would be uncomfortable.

Then I easily sewed the side seams and shoulder seams. This is where I decided to stop, because all that’s left are the sleeves and the collar. I want to think about what sleeves I want. I’m leaning toward a loose 3 quarter length with slight gathers at the shoulders, but I’m also really tempted to do sleeveless.

Here’s the shirt on my duct tape double:IMG_5332 There’s a lot of extra room around the neckline. The neckline will curve when I’m done with it, so hopefully that will take out some of that bulk. Also, I’m going to do a little work to the back which should also help. but I’m really pleased with the front view!

IMG_5335 From the side, it’s annoyingly shapeless. But I’m very small on top and my butt sticks out. so that happens 😦 I’m hoping that by making darts in the area indicated in red that the fit will be more flattering.IMG_5337 It’s not bad from the back either, but once again, it could benefit from some reduction in the upper back.

At any rate, I’m very happy with how it’s turned out. Especially for a spur of the moment decision 🙂

Pattern: Owl Appliqué

This quilt will be my sister’s Christmas present. It’s not a surprise, she’s an active participant in the process 🙂IMG_4941




IMG_4950 This pink square is in bad need of ironing, but it’s a good example of how I currently piece my crazy quilts. I sew the strips onto muslin, a habit I hope to soon break. I’m going to eventually try true paper pieces, but I’m just scared and I’ve been relying on the stability of the muslin.


The finished quilt will be 12 12”x12” blocks sashed with dark brown. The back will be from a pink and brown sheet (you can see that fabric in one of the squares). I’m going to attempt a birch tree on the back similar to Elizabeth’s at (one of my favorite sites!) I’ll have a little owl peeking out of a hole in the tree 🙂 This will be the first time I’ve attempted to make the back of a quilt worth looking at 🙂

Well, I’ve pledged to show my process, and the roughly sketched owl pattern definitely shows that! The odd smaller owl shape across the center is where I started working out my owl but decided I needed a bigger one. I saved paper by just flipping it and starting again 🙂 I didn’t bother making a template for the eyes and beak. I just eyeballed them and cut!

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When it came to sewing on the appliqué, I just sewed around the edges with a tight zig-zag stitch. I left some raw edges showing because I want a worn, loved look for this quilt.

One day I want to try appliquéing the owl pattern onto a t-shirt or something.

I think you can just click to enlarge the picture to print. If you save the picture onto your computer, you can resize it! Leave a comment if it doesn’t work well and I’ll see what I can do to make it more printer-friendly! Also I’d love to see anything made from the pattern, so feel free to leave a link in the comments!!

*This pattern is free for personal use. Please link to the pattern on my blog if you use it and post it. Thanks!!

Awesome Find: Vintage Sheets


I was so excited to find these sheets the other day! I plan to use the pink one for a Strawberry Lemonade quilt (While I work on it I’m also going to make Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade Cake—these things *do* deserve uppercase. I’ll probably also paint my toenails pink… it’ll be a super girly time 🙂 ) I’m pretty sure I’m going to use the blue sheet to back my denim quilt, and then I think I’m going to make an owl quilt with the earthy floral sheet. I’m excited to see what I come up with!