Alter a shirt pattern to a gathered tunic [a tutorial]

One of the great things about sewing your own clothes is that you can make them how YOU want them to be. Have a great shirt pattern? You can make a tunic from it really easily!

Alter a shirt pattern to a gathered tunic  If Only They Would Nap
When Melissa of Blank Slates Patterns offered to send me her Shoreline Boatneck Top and Dress  [affiliate link] pattern, I was super excited. I love her children’s patterns, but I have yet to sew one of her women’s patterns. This pattern has both shirt and dress options… but I’m a girl who likes to have it all ;) so I decided to make it into a tunic.

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You can do this with pretty much any shirt or dress pattern you own [or you can even alter a shirt you have in your closet!], and it doesn’t take much.

step 1
1. You’re going to cut the front and back bodice into two pieces. Firs, cut the top portion, both the front and the back bodice piece – but cut them about where you want the gathering to hit. Measure down from your armpit. The Shoreline Boatneck has a line on the pattern piece to lengthen/shorten, and I cut my bodice piece about an inch lower than that. The front and back bodice pieces should be the same length.

step 2

2. Cut the bottom of the back bodice the same width as the pattern piece, but slightly longer. Measure down from where your gathering will hit down to where you want the tunic to end. [I ended up shortening mine after trying it on.]

step 3

3. Now cut the bottom of the bodice front. You want it to be longer [the same length as you cut the back piece] and wider, to account for the gathers. I made mine about five inches wider, cut on the fold.

step 4

4. Gather that front lower bodice piece you just cut. There are several different ways to gather. In this picture, I stitched a basting stitch and pulled on the bobbin thread to gather it. It’s more “proper” to use two lines of stitching.. but I tend to break the rules. ;)

step 5

5. Gather your lower bodice piece to match the top of the front bodice. You want them to be the same width.

6. Sew the two front pieces together, then sew the two back pieces together.

7. Continue to follow the rest of the pattern instructions to complete your tunic!

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This mint green and cream striped Ponte de Roma fabric from Girl Charlee is amazing. I may or may not have snuggled with it after it arrived, it’s that soft. Don’t judge… you’ll do it too. It drapes really well and has a great weight. It has pretty quickly become one of my favorite knits to work with, I think.

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One of the things I love about Melissa’s patterns is her sleeves. They’re always perfect! I also added pockets to the tunic – because everything is better with pockets.

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Now excuse me while I go fill my entire wardrobe with Ponte de Roma tunics… :)

This post is sponsored by Girl Charlee, who provided the fabric for this tutorial. [Thanks, Girl Charlee!] All opinions are my own.

 photo b9b7fdd7-f58e-471d-bdad-f41d70ed1a05_zps64e30f76.jpg

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