Blue and White Windowpane Tunic

Good morning, friends! Is anyone else unusually excited about spring sewing, this year? In the States, we’ve spent far too long bundled in sweaters and coats. It makes me crave sunshine and crisp, cool cottons like crazy. For me, nothing says “Spring is finally here!” like a classic white blouse. Maybe it’s the dark colors of winter, or the archaic rules around this particular color, but donning a white shirt feels almost as significant as the season’s first daffodils.

Unfortunately, most of the blouses (and clothes, more generally) in my closet are swimming on me right now. If I want to wear something, I either need to make something wholly new or buy it off the rack. Since clothes shopping as a full-busted woman is akin to undergoing the trials of Hercules, I am doing a lot of sewing right now. Not that I’m complaining. There are so many patterns I’m dying to make, now that I’m back to a stable post-baby weight. The last year of sewing nothing but knits and voluminous silhouettes has felt creatively dulling. Sewing with wovens and tailored patterns feels like coming back to my happy place.

 

At the top of my to-sew list was the Gallery Tunic from Liesl & Co. This simple popover blouse has a button placket, one piece collar, and shaped split hem. Not only was it the perfect canvas for my white blouse visions, but it’s the kind of classic pattern that can be altered a hundred different ways, once the right fit is worked out. I chose the size 14 as my base, then did a Full Bust Adjustment, which added a dart to the side seam, then narrowed the shoulders by an inch.

For fabric, I already had the perfect length of cotton in my stash. I’d ordered this gorgeous Italian White and Blue Checked Shirting, quite similar to these two currently in stock, last year from Mood Fabrics. With a crisp hand and medium weight, it makes an ideal tailored shirt. I’d originally bought it with a full-skirted shirtdress in mind, but this tunic will get so much more wear in my current wardrobe.

Making this project was a fun reintroduction into shirtmaking and sewing with woven fabrics. Cutting out a plaid can be harrowing, but I cut the pattern on one layer, tracing around my pattern pieces to ensure an exact match where I needed it. Some post-cut tinkering with the fit messed up the matching on the sleeves, but overall it worked out pretty well. The placket of this shirt is cleverly formed with a front pleat, which gives more visual interest to the top and made matching that placket a cinch. If you’re hesitant to sew plackets, this pattern would be a really easy introduction into the basic technique. The cuffs, collar, and placket are interfaced with crisp fusible interfacing for a sturdy, tailored look. This shirt is finished off with five white buttons on the placket and a narrow, hand-stiched hem.

Sewing up the fabric was fantastic. After working with knits for so long, I’d almost forgotten how nice it is to use a high quality cotton that stays where you put it and presses neatly. It’s gloriously fuss-free! While this blouse may look simple, it’s exactly the sort of warm weather sewing I wanted. I’m looking forward to whole season of pretty shirtings and breathable, crisp fabrics. Now that I’ve altered this pattern to my shape, there may even be another tunic or two! Are you also dying for a spot of spring in your sewing, friends?  What are your transitional season plans for your wardrobe?

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Comments


  • Ada
    March 29, 2018

    You look great! Love the blouse ❤️

    Reply
  • margaret dunn
    March 30, 2018

    Lovely shirt! It looks so fresh and springlike!
    Just a couple of comments:
    Firstly, you do not look gigantic. Please try to choose more subtle language. e.g. My closet is full of clothes that are larger than my ususal ‘fighting weight’, or something like that. Some of us can’t help being on the large size, no matter how much we try to starve ourselves. Words like gigantic can be deflating.
    Secondly, I have a very large bust and most tops look exactly like that on me. Do you have any hints on how to minimize the ‘big bust’ look?

    Reply
    • Mary Danielson
      March 30, 2018

      Hey Margaret! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m afraid there was a misunderstanding and I’m so sorry that you found my words triggering. It’s not that I was saying I look gigantic, but that all my clothes from pre-baby are far too big for me right now and I have nothing to wear! I would never use such negative language about my body for exactly the reasons you state, plus a million more personal ones. I’ll alter the original
      copy to be more specific in my language. As for how to fit around a big bust, I cannot stress the importance of darts and clever seaming enough. I either like to highlight my waist with a silhouette, when that’s a priority, or use multiple darts to better control fabric movement around the bustline.

      Reply
  • PsychicSewerKathleen
    March 30, 2018

    I’ve been thinking about exactly that – creating multiple darts! I’m taking a beginner pattern making class starting next Monday evening here in Victoria BC which I’m really excited about – not that I’m going to start making patterns! – but just to learn how to manipulate them better. I’ve also been on a woven kick lately and you’re right Mary it’s so much fun to work again with a fabric that stays put. Nothing is cooler for summer than wovens – cottons and linen here we come 🙂

    Reply
  • Lety
    April 11, 2018

    Mary!!!

    So glad you’re back and I love the blouse! Will put in my queue for sure.

    Reply
  • Sheila Perl
    April 11, 2018

    Your new shirt is lovely and so becoming to you, you can’t beat blue and white for Spring!

    Reply
  • Cennetta
    April 17, 2018

    Congratulations on your bundle of joy! Almost any reason is a good reason to sew something new. Spring weather definitely motivate me to start sewing a new wardrobe. Your tunic is beautiful and it screams spring. Looking good, lady.

    Reply

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