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Draping a tunic from sheer fabric

missdeb | Posted in The Archives on

This is my first time here but I have all the issues of Threads from the beginning. I’m trying to find guidance on draping a tunic with an asymmetrical neckline out of very sheer fabric. The lines and assembly have to be simple and quick. My “victim” is very short and squat – almost square – with some minor posture issues, so I would like to try to elongate her line. I’ve been pondering this for some time and am totally stumped. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas that might help? I could use a fresh idea or some guidance. Thanks a bunch!


  1. Gloriasews | | #1

    What colour & style of tunic did you have in mind?  Being very sheer, is it to be worn over other clothing - to match what's underneath (if it's the same colour, it probably would be more flattering on her)?  If the neck is assymatrical, I'd do the hem the same, but you'll have to watch the length, as the person is short & square, so you don't want her to look shorter & wider.  Maybe a V neck & a V hem would be easier & faster - it depends (the neckline) on what she is wearing underneath, as well.  I've seen poncho-type sheer coverups (that can be worn either with the long pieces front & back or sideways, with the longer pieces down the arms) that are just one piece, with the edges all finished in satin stitch (or scallop stitch) - you'd have to do the stitching first, then cut the remaining fabric from the garment as close to the stitching as possible without cutting the stitching.


    1. missdeb | | #2

      Thanks so much for your help. She wants something really simple that is a pullover. The fabric is totally sheer and she will be wearing it over pants and a sleeveless top. Holidays and all. She wants it to look somewhat African in design (meaning simple lines and lots of room I guess) and I'm sure the asymmetrical neckline is to hide the fact that, (aside from being short and squat) she has no breasts. The construction is not a problem. I just have no idea what to do with this lovely fabric she has provided. She wants it to fall just below her knees and not span wrist to wrist. Maybe elbow to elbow. I'm guessing she's about 4'8" so any detail at the hem will probably get lost. It should look fluid and drapey. It's black chiffon with metallic embroidered dragonflies. Wonderful hand. I can't wait to cut into it. This neckline has me so stumped though. I'm looking forward to hearing more great ideas! Thanks again and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!missdeb

      1. starzoe | | #3

        You have to think of the proportions, and the first thing that comes to mind is that "just below the knees" may not be the best length for such a short person. Take her measurements and height and drape the fabric on her body if you can. Also elbow-length is not really a good spot for sleeves, I would try the 3/4 or bracelet length for sleeves, the spot on the forearm that is neither the thinnest or the thickest, but a spot where a curve occurs.There are a lot of African-inspired garments in the pattern books these days, take a look at what is there for inspiration.

      2. Gloriasews | | #4

        Happy Thanksgiving to you, too (my Thanksgiving was last month :) 

        Anyway, take Starzoe's suggestions to mind as to sleeves & length.  The sheer sounds lovely.  For her size, I think she should be wearing all black underneath, otherwise she'll be chopped off at the hem, making her look shorter.  I would embellish the neckline only with sequins, metallic fancy stitches or ribbon (to match the dragonflies) to bring attention to her face.  Another thought would be to bring the embellishment from the lowest point in the neckline straight down to the hem - that should make her look a bit taller & thinner (or a wavy line, if you don't want to cover the lovely dragonflies :).  Good luck!


        Edited 11/23/2007 6:33 pm by Gloriasews

  2. mygaley | | #5

    I wish we could see this wonderful fabric. Threads 132 is full of interestingly draped skirts, necklines, etc., and I was really inspired to start working up a design. If you could make shoulder tucks about 1" wide -three or four- and sew the tucks down to the hem or maybe release into pleats below the waistline. Use the fabric design when deciding where to place the tucks. Of course, you will have to make a muslin and cut your pattern front after the tucks are made. On the neckline, allow the lowest part to join with the straight line of the tucks. That join will be a great focal point and all up and down. I really believe some kind of fabric manipulation will enhance this fabric and the sleeve considerations, etc.

    Also, consider whether this fabric is suitable for cutting bias trim strips. You could run about 4-5 down one side, Start at the join of the neckline, carry the strips around the neck and stitch down to the hem. That would pad the bosom, draw attention to the face, and provide a killer vertical line. God bless you Galey

    Edited 11/26/2007 6:19 pm ET by mygaley

    1. Josefly | | #6

      Oh, your ideas sound great! I love the idea of several tucks in the sheer fabric, running vertically to or almost to the hem. I'm having trouble visualizing what you mean about the lowest part of the neckline being allowed to "join with the straight line of the tucks", though. Can you say it a different way for me, please?The bias strips around the neck and down the front - that's also a beautiful-sounding embellishment! I'm not the one who posted this question, but I do appreciate your suggestions. Both ideas would be lengthening and slimming.

      1. mygaley | | #7

        Of course I can see this perfectly in my mind :) I understood an asymmetrical neckline was desired here so I propose a wide-normal round
        neckline opposite the pleats, with the other edge coming down to meet the edge of the pleats in an angle. The pleats would form a straight vertical edge on the neckline. If the pleats were on the wearer's right wide, the neckline curve would become almost straight at center front and angle down to about the top of the bra cup, joining the pleats. Or, maybe we can just imagine an asymmetrical neckline with the pleats made to edge it on one vertical side. God bless you Galey

        1. Josefly | | #8

          Yes, Galey, thank you for the added description - that's what I needed to "see" it. That neckline sounds very pretty.

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