How to Sew a Tunic Top from a Basic Shirt Pattern: Part Two

Welcome to part two of sewing a tunic top! Today, we will finish preparing the placket, sew up the top and attach the neckline placket with a clean edge for a finished handmade garment that rivals any ready-to-wear blouse!

Let’s jump right into step 10 on sewing your own tunic top!

Tunic top part two


Missed steps 1-9?

In part one, we made a pattern from a shirt sloper and designed a contrasting neckline placket. We applied interfaced, staystitched and marked the placket pieces. Then we pressed the placket using a pressing template made from office supplies.

Check out part one here!

10. Fuse the placket seam allowances.

fusible web on seam allowance

Secure the pressed seam allowances with a double sided adhesive fabric tape or fusible web. It creates a perfect edge on the contrast pieces and makes it a lot easier to pin and sew down to the tunic pieces. If you want to add piping or trim to the edges, you can do that now.

11. Sew the shoulder seams

sewing shoulder seams

Sew the shoulder seams and finish those edges. A French seam works well here and looks really nice but for this example it was sewn and then serged. Sew the bust darts but leave the side seams open for now, as it is easier to apply the neckline pieces when you can lay it flat.

12. Sew the neckline.

sew neckline

Pin the placket with the right side of the placket to the wrong side of the garment (very important!). When you flip the placket out, you will have both right sides on the outside of the garment.

Sew the neckline in a continuous circle, matching the shoulder seams and center front and back. Don’t worry about the neckline opening yet, it is easier to sew that in a separate step. Be sure to have the bottom point of the placket lined up on the center line as you can see in the photo above.

13. Sew the center V-neck opening.

sewing tunic center v-neck

Sew the center v-neck opening starting at one end of the “V”. When you get just at the bottom where you have marked, change your stitch length to a very small stitch, 1.5 – 1.8, lift up the presser foot, pivot the fabric and then take 2 stitches horizontally, then again lift up the presser foot, pivot to be back on the line, change your stitch length back to 2.5, and stitch the 2nd side of the V. Putting those two tiny horizontal stitches makes it easier to clip and turn the placket to the outside.

14. Trim and clip neckline.

clipping neckline seam

Trim the round neckline seam allowance and clip the curves. Trim corners as needed to get a nice point. Carefully cut down the center of the V-neckline, and then flip the placket outward to check.

If there is any pulling at the bottom of that V, using a very small scissors clip just one thread at a time, testing again, and see if it lays flat. Going slow at this point pays off with a very nice crisp neckline. If you do happen to clip through your stitching – don’t despair. Just create a new pivot point 1/4 – 1/2 inch below your original one and restitch.

15. Understitch the neckline.

understitch neckline

Press the seam allowance towards the tunic fabric and then under stitch. When the placket is flipped out it will cover this stitching. The under stitching pulls the garment portion inward and helps create the edge we want.

16. Turn and  press.

turn and press neckline

Now the placket is trimmed, under stitched and ready to go. Flip the placket from the inside of the top to the outside, and you have a clean neckline finish with no facings. Press into place making sure that the point still lines up with your center front markings.

17. Time to topstitch!

topstitch outside edge
Topstitch the inner neckline edge first to secure the placket to the top. Use the edge of the presser foot to get an even stitch around the neckline. Then carefully pin the placket down, making sure it is completely smooth and flat. Stitch the edge to secure. I like to use matching thread for this step and then once the placket is sewn on you can embellish with other thread colors or even embroidery stitches to create interesting patterns.

Those are the steps to create a sew a tunic neckline placket. Now you can continue with the top, sewing up the side seams, inserting the sleeves and hemming. If you would like to have a contrast facing on the sleeves use the same techniques as in steps 10 and 12, creating facings, pressing the edge and then sewing the right side of the sleeve facing to wrong side of the sleeve, flipping over and topstitching into place.

cotton tunic top

This top was made using cheerful quilting cottons I was unable to resist. A sheer version in silk or any chiffon would be beautiful for a beach cover up or floaty top.

Do you want to try sewing with sheers but are a little hesitant? Check out the Craftsy class The Essential Guide to Sewing with Sheers to discover how to achieve professional results with sheer and lightweight fabrics.

Sign me up! >>

  • (will not be published)

No Comments