The River Tunic is a perfect canvas for that washed, linen garment you want to live in now. The magic of this basic, no-waste, shape is how it can work with the design ideas you want to explore. Sleeves, sleeveless, bias-cut, short or long- there are so many variations to create! From pockets to pleats and asymmetrical hems variations, this pattern can give you the confidence to push your boundaries. PDF and paper versions are available.
Getting Started- There are more River Tunic Posts with lots of design ideas to explore on my website to get you started creating a whole collection of River Tunics! Here are 2 of my new summer ones. Both different, but both started with neck holes.
These new garments are a combination of recycled garments, linens and some new fabric. The pink and grey plaid, a lightweight linen from MarcyTilton.com, was perfect and relaxed after a wash and dry. The combination of the embroidered striped dress and the plaid was appealing the minute I saw them together. The neck area was cut out of the dress (start bigger than you think…you can always cut it down) and placed on the dressform. After cutting out the River Tunic shape, a ’T’ shaped cut was made in the plaid to indicate the neck opening and placed over the embroidered neckline piece.
Working on a dressform it's easy to see the amounts and angles to cut away. Once the seam allowance was clipped and the edge pressed under, it was machine sewed around, then serged inside. Some topstitching by hand around the edge makes a nice transition on this one. Check: Neck done! A single inseam pocket was added then some bands of the embroidered fabric at the bottom before sewing up the side seams. Take time here as you make- I want the bust and sleeve around the bicep to be rooming, so I pin and try on…By comparing those areas to a similar style garment in my wardrobe that fits in those areas helps me decide where I want the side/sleeve seam to be. As you can see, I have cut off quite a bit on this one. Get it right! Otherwise you won’t wear it…so it is worth the time to explore what a good fit feels like on your body.
The sleeveless tunic, in pieced vintage linens and red accents started with making the fabric. You know I am crazy for this process! This is a great way to express your own style through the infinite combinations and shapes possible! Each seam can be different: serged, lapped? maybe with a loose edge? All of these decisions will create more interest in your fabric. Notice the fresh way the large and small rickrack was added in this piece: How will you update your favorite notion?
By laying the folded tunic on top of the River Tunic Pattern, it was used as a guide to decide where to cut or add fabric for the width and length of this shorter, sleeveless version.
This neck hole is asymmetrical after cutting a generous opening. Some strips, bits of the linens, rick rack trim were added across the neck opening to bring it in and add more detail there. An oversized pocket was created with a linen napkin.
Pleats and tucks can be magic in a design. Adding a small pleat in the bottom of this pocket gives more dimension and shaped softness. Responding to the flat neck area…..A pleated strip with a finished edge was used to stand and drape on part of the neck edge. All the edges on this tunic were finished then overlapped and topstitched on the sides.
Finishing Tips- Pressing really brings out the details in the vintage linen tunic. My favorite way to refresh the pink plaid one is to hit it with a quick shower on a hanger and let it dry that way…the fabric drapes naturally and it looks refreshed everytime I put it on! Perfect for a river trip today right?
I'm making and packing more of these tunics then heading out to enjoy some summer adventures.
Enjoy your day and celebrate nature..maybe we'll meet in the River? Diane