Have you ever had a pattern that just fits perfect, and feels so go when you wear it, and pairs with everything? Well, this is my GO-TO pattern for a great tunic that fits the bill. Simplicity 9130 is a nicely semi-fitted tunic pull-over, with a couple different sleeve options, and there is a skirt and pant pattern in the packet too if you like. I chose to go sleeveless on this make, but I made a few others with the 3/4 sleeve option. I love this pattern made with a stretch Cotton Sateen like the ones from Mood Fabrics out of NYC. I used less than 2 yards. I bought a printed fabric that reminded me of the 70’s. Ahhh nostalgia. But I digress…. The instructions are pretty clear for any seamstress, but this tutorial should give you some tips along the way.
Sew…here we GO!
Ensure you have a brand new needle in your sewing machine that is appropriate for the fabric you chose and your machine is clean especially around the bobbin. Do a test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure your tension is good. MAKE A PLAN. Lay out your pattern on the fabric to make sure you have enough before you start cutting. I suggest you use pattern weights to hold your pattern in place and use a rotary cutter to cut the pieces out. It makes it so much easier. If you have enough fabric, you may want to cut a 80″ x 5″ piece for a tie belt. You can cut 2 pieces 40″ long and sew them together to get your 80″. Cut out the interfacing pieces now too. I just used fusible interfacing in my collar and not in the front facing because the cotton sateen is pretty sturdy without it.
Mark all your dots, notches, and darts. Fuse the interfacing to the collar and front facing pieces. On your collar piece that does not have interfacing, press a 1/4 inch fold along on the outside raw edge.
With right sides together, sew the collar pieces together on the inside curve using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Cut some notches in the curves. Set it aside for now. We will get back to the collar later when we attach it to the bodice.
Take your front and back pieces and complete a stay stitch 1/4″ away from the collar edge. This will help keep it from stretching out of place when we attach the collar. Next take the front facing, press 1/4″ fold over the edges and stitch that in place to keep the edges from raveling. It looks nice and will last much longer over time. I used an overlock stitch on mine. Place the facing on the bodice, right sides together, pin in place and stitch along your marked stitching lines. At the bottom of the V neck, do a couple extra stitches there to re-enforce that area. Cut in the center of the V from the collar to the tip of the V without cutting through your stitches. Turn right side out and press.
Now we will sew our seams at the shoulders. I used a French seam here just to hide the raw edges. Here’s how you do a French seam: with WRONG sides together, sew a 1/4″ shoulder seam. Press.
Turn it Right sides together and sew a 3/8″ shoulder seam and waaahlaaah. No raw edges. Modern math also teaches you that 1/4″ + 3/8″ = 5/8″ seam allowance. It’s magic.
Remember the collar we started? Well, let’s finish it. Take the collar with the unpressed edge and pin it in place along the neck edge with right sides together matching the notches and end points. This is a perfect time to get into a Zen state of mind and go S-L-O-W. Sometimes when we slow down, even though our sewing machines can go super fast, we want to take a little time to ensure we do this right the first time. Sew the collar in place, turn it right sides out. Give that seam a good press towards the collar. Now that 1/4 inch fold you pressed earlier should be just perfect to pin it in place over your seam line. You have a choice to make here on how you want to sew that collar edge down. You can do a slip stitch by hand or I chose to “stitch in the ditch” on the right side ensuring I caught the fabric on the wrong side. I went very S-L-O-W to ensure I didn’t mess this one up. I hate to rip out stitches.
Now since this top has side slits at the bottom hip area, we are going to “finish” our raw edges now. Do a zigzag or overlock stitch on your raw edges of your sides before you sew your seam. Now sew the seam from the armscye to the dot. Do a few back stitches at the dot for extra security from rips. Press the seam open.
Now this is how I did the hem and side slits…….To complete the slits and hem, fold over half the seam allowance and then fold it again on each side to get a “rolled” hem appearance. Press and sew in place. I used a double row of stitching on mine. Now press your bottom hem to the length you want it. I used a blind stitch to secure my hem.
Time to finish your armscyes. I always always always check to make sure that the arm facings will fit properly in the armscye before I sew it in place. Point in fact, this arm facing was way too long so I had to take it in another inch before I attached it. See below:
Once you have your facing properly sized, sew the short ends together. You now have a circle the same size as your armscye. Fold it in half with right sides out and give it a good press. Now pin it in place on the right side of your garment, and sew it in place going through all 3 layers. Trim your seam allowance. Turn the facing inside the garment, give it a good press and sew it in place with a topstitch.
A nice finish to this top is to add a tie belt. I cut a couple pieces 40″ long by 5″ wide, seamed them together to make an 80″ length. Then with right sides together I sewed from the center down to the end using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Close to the end I curved the seam to a point instead of having a blunt tie end. Your choice, your preference. There are no hard and fast rules here. Then I did the same with the other end but you need to leave about a 3 inch opening in the center so you can turn it right side out. Once it is turned right side out, give it a good press. Close up the opening with either a slip stitch or I just used my sewing machine and did a very close to the edge stitch to secure it.
WAAAAAH LAAAAH! Done!