Tee Shirts and knit tunics are at the top of my new Creating a Wardrobe From Scratch list! The River Tunic Pattern is my 'go to' for Tee Shirts. The pattern available in paper or PDF. I can make it any way I want: just cut it out and sew it up...or make it more asymmetrical with lots of pleats like this one. I am loving my Winter Blues! This beautiful patterned knit has a lot of drape and a dynamic pattern that changes when I fold it, so lots of play ahead!
Fabrics: Knits or Wovens? both! I love making this out of linens, cottons, gauze as well as light-weight to stable double knits. Consider piecing fabric first for a collaged garment….in which case, a finished neck hole can be part of the piecing first! SO much fun !!!!! Let's get started.
Your Size: Zero-waste sewing always speaks to my design aesthetic. The River Tunic is just the perfect silhouette to combine with some favorite materials for a casual remake or an elegant basic. The 1-size in pattern includes info for easy size adjusting. For this tee…knowing I plan to do several pleats and tucks, I cut out the full size of the pattern.
Neckline- Working from the top down, I start with cutting a slit for the neck hole then decide how I will alter the opening. You can do this by puling it over your head to see it on yourself.
Wanting an asymmetrical opening, this is the shape I cut in the sketch above. Note: It is wider that it will be when finished since one of the pleats will lay over one end the opening. Your neck edge can be wavy curved or angular in various ways…a fabric marker or fabric pen is a good way to draw some of the options you are thinking about. The neck hole of another pattern can also be placed on this pattern. To do this open the neck opening piece flat, and line up the center backs and center fronts. Once the shape is determined, a facing (or collar even) can be added. Interface is a good idea if the fabric needs it to hold its shape.
This long triangular neck hole was finished with a facing and interfacing first. Then turned to the inside and pressed. See on the front and back views how several pleats are bringing the sleeve up and taking some of the fullness from the shape. Adding more pieces to the neck edge…here a folded strip (interfaced) was placed in one side of the neck opening to balance the opening and make it more comfortable. Multiple pieces can be added to create a more dramatic neck opening…just remember to make sure you can get it over your head!
Adding more pieces to the neck edge: Above, a folded strip (interfaced) was placed in one side of the neck opening to balance the opening and make it more comfortable. Multiple pieces can be added to create a more dramatic neck opening…just remember to make sure you can get it over your head.
Shaping with Pleats-This garment can be cut out, neck edge finished, pocket sewn and side seams closed and ready to wear. Some of my favorite ones, like this one, was cut out then tweeked on my dress form to create more variations in the garment shape, which I will share with this knit one in process. For this tee, knowing I plan to do several pleats and tucks, I cut out the full size of the pattern.
A pocket was added in one side-seam only. A horizontal tuck was added across the side seam over the top of the pocket opening. In the photo above, of the River Tunic T out flat, you can see how much pleats give shape and flare to the garment. Different sizes of vertical tucks were added to the front and back of the garment. Working on a dressform is the easiest way to get them where you want the…and they can be used to add shaping and more fit to the bust and waist areas as desired. No dressform? With the garment on you, add some pleats and pin with SAFTEY PINS..taking it off and repositioning the pins as needed. As you can see my pleats are ending at different lengths…it will all be about your body and what is most flattering on you.
Hand- Stitching? There are marks in the fabric design that remind me of hand stitches …so it made me want to add more. Here are the threads I used…they show up some …but are not a striking contrast.
Cuffs: I added cuffs to this garment because the fabric is so soft…I wanted to control the wrist edge. Using the direction in the fabric with the most stretch, cut a strip double the width and 1” to 1 1/12” smaller than the sleeve end. Sew it together, fold it in half to hide the stitching inside then ‘quarter’ both openings…this means place pins in 4 equal places around the openings. You will be stretching the cuff piece to meet the four pins on the sleeve. When sewn on the machine, the cuff should be smaller that the sleeve.
Hand Stitching- See in the photo, the outside and the inside of the sleeve end. This is a cool hand stitch that will maintain the stretch you need in a knit garment. Note: the ‘zig-zag’ style of stitching ( in the sketch below) produces the small vertical stitches on the outside…and the diagonal stitched on the inside. Either part of the stitch can be on either side…so it is a good one to add to your tool kit.
The Hem is Last- For this style of working, the shape at the hemline is partially dictated by the overall silhouette, volume, weight of fabric and surface design.
See more River Tunics for ideas here: #rivertunicpattern Diane