First things first - thankyouthankyouthankyou, everyone, for all your support during the Refashion Runway All Stars competition! I couldn't have achieved that silver medal without all of you!
I sort of suspected my sewing muscles would be super sore after that 5-week rigorous refashion regimen, and they were, but surprisingly, not as much as I thought they'd be. My machine and I only needed a couple days apart before we pined for each other's company again. Of course, I had The Refashioners community challenge and Portia's "jeanius" theme to encourage a speedy recovery. After all, I am a Texan. I may hate beans and fried things, but I do love me some denim. Hopefully, I'll have time to complete a few different ideas I have floating around in my head before the September 30 deadline.
First up was another tunic. I must admit, that Refashion Runway challenge showed me the light and I am now a total tunic convert! This tunic began with a pair of jeans a friend gave me when they got too big for her. You can see where I added a couple darts for her as she began to lose weight, but soon darts were not enough and she graciously gave them to me for refashioning.
I began by picking out those darts, as well as the belt loops and Levi's label. Then the entire waistband was removed, and the back pockets too. I knew immediately when I saw that gorgeous ombre denim underneath that I had to find a way to incorporate it into my final garment somehow.
Then I picked out the inseam to open up the legs. And I just kept picking out seams - which was quite tedious and not at all worth photographing - until I had them almost entirely disassembled - four leg panels, two back pockets, two zipper facings, one zipper, and the waistband.
I pressed out all the seam folds and used my self-drafted tunic pattern to cut my front panels from the fronts of the legs and my back panels from the backs of the legs.
The two sides of the front and the two sides of the back were each serged, seamed, and pressed. Then the shoulder seams got the same treatment.
I decided to make my bust darts come in from the armhole edges this time instead of the side seams, so as to keep the front and back side seams the same length, unlike my previous tunic. So the next step was to serge, seam, and press those side seams as well.
Then I cut out those ombre-faded blocks from underneath the original back pockets. One got serged along the sides and bottom, while the other had its corners clipped and edges pressed under.
I folded my shirt in half at the center front and trimmed the front of the neckline a couple inches lower than the back. Then I layered my right-side-up shirt, right-side-up ombre patch with the edges pressed, then the serged ombre patch upside-down. Yup, that's going front and center as the tunic's bib for maximum impact. With the layers pinned in place, I traced out the cut neck edge underneath onto the back side of the serged patch, then added more lines about a half-inch in, where I wanted to sew.
After sewing, I trimmed off the excess fabric, cut straight down the center for the front slit, and snipped the corners to reduce the bulk. I also serged the rest of the neck edge along the back before flipping the serged patch to the inside of the shirt to be the facing.
Then I top-stitched all around the neck line and edge stitched along the dark edge of the ombre patch to keep the bib in place. This also caught the facing on the inside so it'll stay put too.
Next I needed to finish off the armholes. Since my original tunic pattern had sleeves, the body fabric came out further at the shoulders than it needed to. So I trimmed off about 2 inches at the shoulders, tapering off as I approached the underarms. A simple serge-fold-sew hem helps to keep the bulk to a minimum with such thick fabric.
For the bottom edge, I changed course slightly from my original plan and decided to add decorative slits at the sides. I picked out a few inches of my side seams and trimmed off the serged edges - again to reduce bulk. Then I pinned one of the old pockets, face down, to the inside of the side seam.
I sewed the two together in a tall, skinny U-shape to either side of the tunic's side seam, then cut straight up the center of the pocket. Then I flipped the pocket over to the right side of the shirt and pinned it in place for now. I repeated this process with the second back pocket on the other side seam.
I repeated the sleeves' simple serge-fold-hem along the rest of the bottom edge of the shirt. Then I top-stitched all the way around the pockets' edges and the slits.
This top is perfect for autumn in Texas. It's a little heavier fabric, but still cotton and sleeveless. I can easily add a cardigan if I need to, but we're still probably a month away from that.