* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A lacy tunic and skinny pants

Tunic 01After way too much lapsed time, I recently indulged myself and did some more sewing.  I could easily sew instead of doing just about anything else, especially hard stuff like construction or boring stuff like fall cleaning my house. 

While I have a whole stack of projects I'm just dying to dig into, I did a spur of the moment something else!  As it was kind of a fun adventure, I thought I'd share some of the highlights for you other seamstresses out there.

First, I'm very happy to announce that I finally got my camera back all nicely repaired.  While I could have bought an inexpensive camera cheaper than this repair job, it would have still cost significantly more to replace with an equivalent level new one.  So fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong.

While we were on vacation this summer, it suddenly started taking very dark pictures.  We kind of learned how to manipulate the settings, and I kind of learned how to manipulate the computer photo programs, but the results were mostly disappointing anyway.  At first, the flash still worked okay.  But before we could send it off, even the flash stopped working properly, although it always fired.

We had to replace the optic block and the flash mechanism, plus labor and postage.  Yay.  Why did they go bad?  Who knows.  I did end up dropping it off a bed several months earlier, and Doc Leo can't confirm or deny that wasn't responsible, but I think it seems strange to have worked just fine for quite a few pictures after that.

Tunic 02
Exterior daylight
Tunic 03
Interior with flash
Here are some examples of what I was up against on most of the photos you've seen since July.  The exterior one was taken in broad daylight, although a rather overcast day (which equals the same kind of light as dusk, and the camera did not like that at all), and the interior one was when the flash went bad and didn't register the light.  However, all the rest of the pictures on this page are taken without manipulations!  Looks like I'm back in business.

As I explained earlier, I made myself a tunic as an example for my student's sewing project.  I found some fabric I've had on hand since the '80s that I thought would work nicely.  Pink and green are not my colors, so I'm thinking I may have bought this fabric for one of my teenage girls and then never made anything from it.  With its large print, I thought the lack of a lot of seams in the tunic would serve it well.  I ended up not having quite enough fabric, so I found some contrast for the sleeves.  That gave it a totally different look than if it had all been the same fabric.

Tunic 04
Three different ways to wear this tunic

After doing some fitting adjustments (which involved completely taking it apart and eliminating most of the designed ease that didn't seem to work on me), I think I can wear it several different ways for a variety of styling.  To pick up on the pink sleeves, I put pink piping around the neckline, but I don't know how well that shows up here.

Tunic 06
Details of sleeve finishing
What I really wanted to point out was the detailing on the sleeves.  The cotton print didn't need any special finishing on the seams, but the sheer sleeves did.  I did a simple French seam, which just encloses the raw edges and gives a nice finish through the sheer fabric.  Then I did an overcast stitch when attaching the sleeve to the tunic to continue the neater look than raw edges.  I was really tickled that I was able to exactly match up the scallop of the lace at the seam.  That was really fun.

Tunic 05
Fantastic lace addition

And I just have to explain about the lace.  Isn't it fabulous?  It is just so perfect with the cotton fabric, which is also a little textured.  I just had to have it!  Even after I found out the price, which was ridiculous for just a bit of finish for a simple little top.  I don't know if you can see the rows of matte sequins or not.

It turns out that lace from Calais, on the English Channel, is quite well regarded, and this particular lace is from a very well known factory.  When I checked out the company for fun, I discovered that they manufactured the lace used in both Kate Middleton's and Mrs. Clooney's wedding dresses.  Oh, wow, even more fun to be in such prestigious company!

Being as how these aren't particularly my colors, I didn't really have anything to go with this tunic.  When I bought the sleeve fabric and lace, I was really surprised to discover that they also had a stretch cotton not only in a matching pink, but also in the exact same green.  The vendor suggested I make skinny pants with the green and more straight leg jeans with the pink.  With all my pants patterns, I don't have one for either.

Tunic 07
My own skinny pants!

Fitting pants can be quite problematic, and I'm intending to take a course to learn the secrets I've never known.  I'm saving the pink fabric for that. 

But I took a pants pattern whose lines seemed about what I had in mind, then I used a pair of bought pants as a model for cutting the legs down.  It took a bit of trial and error, but I think the end result worked adequately well!

Tunic 08
Pocket detail

To add a little style, I designed some pockets, then I dressed them up with some silver stitching.  My idea didn't work quite right, so they look a little funny, and it took way too long to work with the thread.  Hopefully they don't look silly, at least.

Tunic 09
Zipper detail

While I was at it copying the bought pants, I also added their little flap under the zipper idea, which the pattern did not call for.  It was easy to do and seems to add a little finesse.  I just made a little rectangle, doubled, a bit longer than the zipper.  That also allowed me to add a more substantial button than the hook and eye called for.

If you've enjoyed my little sewing adventure, you can check out my reviews of both the tunic and the pants at Pattern Review, as well any any of my other past creations that might interest you.


  1. Much better - and cute pants too. I read the pattern review as well. I'm sure people really benefit from your reviews.

  2. I like the purple top with the green pants - nice look.

  3. I love the tunic and pants. Can't believe you MADE those pants!! They fit you perfectly and look great, btw! Glad your camera is all repaired and ready to go for you. The zipper and the little pocket are really nice details. Those really look great on you!

  4. It looks much better after your adjustments. I'm thinking this looks like fabric I might have chosen. The colors/print look like something I would have liked. (too heavy for that large of a print now) I've done stamping stuff in a very similar combination. :)


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