I’d made this pattern before, for a trip to Cambodia, where it’s traditionally required that you be modest in your dress. It’s a society where even today a married couple wouldn’t hold hands in public, though I suspect that might be changing rapidly due to the influence of overseas media and foreign visitors.
The tunic I made then served me brilliantly for our trip to Angkor Wat, where it was very hot and humid. That was a few years ago now and the old tunic needs to be replaced. I haven’t thrown it out yet and I may still rip it up for a rag rug, assuming one day I become the proud owner of a loom. The loom purchase is in plan and I’m waiting for one to come up second-hand at the right price.
I found some fabric called modern tribal on sale at Spotlight and made up the top again, this time cutting it a little smaller than the first one, which was a touch generous.
Last time I sewed this pattern, the front opening gave me a bit of difficulty. This time, I used a trick I picked up in a book or on the internet and sewed just a couple of perpendicular stitches at the point. Those couple of stitches gave me just enough clearance when it came to cutting the slash and turning the facing. That gave a nice clean look at the front though it’s hard to see on the photo.
With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to give it a trial run later this week.
I put a lot of effort into this top. All the seams are neatly finished using my shiny new overlocker (serger) and I think I did a nice job of the hand detailing along the neckline.
Pretty, isn’t it?
Simplicity 2230, started life as a plus-sized pattern and was, I believe, graded to a misses pattern. But Simplicity did a poor job of that grading process and the pattern remains more appropriate for the generously proportioned. While I certainly suffer from a bit of quilter’s butt, nothing changes the fact that this tunic drapes at the shoulders and is simply too wide for me.
I cut it to the size that the pattern sleeve indicated was right for my measurements – a standard size 14, but with a little length removed from the sleeves and bodice, as I’m not as tall as some. It should have fit, but it doesn’t.
I’m hoping it might work for my mother. If not, what? Etsy maybe?
Spotlight recently gave out a flyer showing how crafty babes might make up Simplicity 2230, as a funky modern tunic top, though they called it a kaftan. Have kaftans had a resurgence as a fashion item for hipsters? Did I miss something?
The Spotlight advice was to sew it using Prints Charming fabric (whatever that may be) and Prima Homespun, for the neck band. They weren’t friendly enough to let you know how much of the Prima Homespun you might need to buy. As a result, my facing has a join in it that wasn’t in the cutting instructions. No harm done, but I did feel like a bit of an idiot for under-estimating the quantity. I forgot that you would need to cut two, one for the neck band and one or the facing. And I call myself an experienced dressmaker. We’ll come back to that idea in just a minute.
I would not have bought this pattern had it not been for the flyer, as the pattern sleeve makes it look like it was designed for generously proportioned women and the photo of the garment on the pattern sleeve doesn’t look flattering in my view. The Spotlight flyer showed a completely different interpretation and I picked some fine 100% cotton to make it up in. Melbourne summer can bring some very hot days.
I’m tipping some sewists use colourful language when making this pattern up. This experienced dressmaker had to unpick the curved corner of the neck band twice on one side and once on the other. The problem is basically that you’re trying to sew an inside curve on the neck band to an outside curve on the tunic front and that, my friends, is a royal pain in the bum.
The pattern instructions were challenging to follow, too, very cramped and leading you off from time to time to the instructions for a different view, making you hop, skip and jump all over the place.
This is where I got to when I declared myself too tired to go on. I’m planning to do some running stitches in embroidery thread on the neck band and I may also stitch in the ditch by machine where the neck band meets the fabric, just to keep everything secure and tidy.
I’m not anticipating any problems finishing the tunic from here, as all I have to do is attach the sleeves, sew the side seams, make a casing in the sleeves, insert the sleeve elastic and then hem the garment. One more weekend, maybe.