Easy Open-Front Tunic
Flowy tunics and tops have become quite a fashion accessory. I have seen them all over department stores and boutiques. I want to show you how to make an easy one, without the need of a pattern. You will find this process to be very forgiving, so perfection is not necessary–you will be able to tell that from my instructions!
*One word of caution about fabric choice: Be sure you do not choose a fabric with design that all goes in one direction. If you do, the design will be upside down on the front or back.
- 1 3/4 yards of thin, softly draping fabric–can be 45″ or 60″ wide. (The width of the fabric doesn’t matter, but if you use fabric that is 45″ wide you probably won’t have to cut any length off on the arm.)
- 2 1/2 yards of fringe or other trim
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Serger (optional)
- Yard stick or straight edge
- Fabric marker and/or chalk
- French curve
- Tape measure
Prepare your fabric by pre-washing and straightening the grain.
How much length you cut depends on how long you want your wrap to be. I am rather short, so I cut about 60 inches of length. Measure down from your shoulders to the length you want it to be, double that number,and then add about 3 inches. Cut that length. (The length is doubled because it will become both the back and the front panels.)
1. Once you have the fabric cut, you need to locate the center point of the entire piece. Carefully fold in half lengthwise, and then fold crosswise. The center point will be the corner that has no fabric edges – only folds. Make a chalk or other mark at this point.
2. Open out to a single layer. You should have the center point of the fabric marked.
Find the center point of one cut edge length and mark. Using a yardstick, chalk a line from the marked center point of the fabric, straight down to the marked middle point of the cut edge (not selvage edge) of the fabric. This will be a cutting line for the front opening of the tunic.
3. At the middle point of the fabric where this cutting line starts, use the French curve and chalk to mark the left side of the neckline by following around the curved ruler. Flip the ruler over and do the same on the right side of the neckline. For both sides, draw the curve toward the bottom to tie back in to the original straight line that you first drew. Your chalk marks should resemble a keyhole, with a line straight up the middle!
To make this step more clear, please watch the following video:
4. Cut along the “keyhole” line. This will become your front neck opening.
5. Serge or zig-zag stitch around this neckline to keep it from stretching out of shape while working with it.
6. At this point, drape the garment around your neck as you now have a neckline opening. The fabric I used for this particular wrap was 60 inches wide. Many others I have made started with fabrics that were 45 inches in width, which, for me, is a great sleeve length.
Since the 60-inch wide fabric made my sleeve too long, I cut it off from the selvage edge. This worked well because this fabric’s selvage edge was not usable, so I would have had to do a sleeve finish anyway. Sometimes you have fabric that has a nice, inconspicuous selvage. In that case, no sleeve hem is needed–that is, if you like the sleeve length.
If you determine that you need to cut the sleeve edges, decide what length you like and add 1/2 inch. Hem these sleeve edges by following the instructions in step seven for the tunic hem.
7. You now need to finish the front opening edge and hem the front and back. Press up the raw (or serged) edges 1/4 inch all the way around the garment. Press it up once again the same amount and secure with a pin. (For a neat look, miter the corners.) Stitch.
8. Pin fringe trim (or other trim) across the bottom of the back section and the two front sections, turning under (or in) the raw edge of trim. Stitch though all layers. You can use two straight stitches about a 1/4″ apart at the top of the trim, or you can use a zig zag stitch.
9. To create armholes in your tunic, lay it on flat surface with right sides out and wrong sides together. Line up the front and the back. Measure down from shoulder 10 inches and mark with a horizontal pin. This forms the opening for your armhole. Starting at the bottom of the 10-inch opening, draw a 6-inch line with chalk or a fabric marker, 1/2 inch from fabric edge.
10. To create the sleeve and side seam, pin together on this line and stitch, wrong sides together, backstitching at the beginning and end of the line.
Put it on and enjoy!
Be sure to send us photos of your tunic!