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‘Tunic top’ Pattern suggestions for a novice

red_tulip | Posted in Teach Yourself To Sew on

Hello friends,

I’m so happy to have found this website. I’d like to try sewing a simple top. Any suggestions for a beginner? Something downloadable would be great – I want to start tonight!

This will be my third project: 1) curtains (ahem, crooked but it was a start) and 2) an apron (and I am SO proud of it).

I purchased an old pattern from the 70s for a shirt dress but it has a gazillion pieces and I was getting discouraged. So I’d like to try something easier now and come back to it after a few more projects.

Thank you!


  1. alotofstitches | | #1

    teach yourself to sew

    Red tulip, I have my beginners  to make a pair of pajamas for the first project.  Since you are learning without a person to demo for you, try the PJ pants first--there's not many pieces and the fit is very forgiving since you just wear them to bed.  Good luck!


  2. decoratrice | | #2

    Red Tulip, I will tell you ablut the second top I made when learning to sew.  Take 2 red bandanna handkerchiefs, sew them together at the sides, about halfway up, knot the free corners, and voila!  Oh, to be that slim again!  So you will measure your bust, add 6" for ease, plus seam allowances.  For the length, measure from the top of your shoulder to the desired length, and add 2" for a hem, plus one seam allowance.   You cut two rectangles that read like this:  side to side--5/8+1 1/2" + half your bust measurement, +1 1/2 + 5/8".  Top to bottom reads 5/8" + your desired length + 2".  Make side seams to within  about 10" from the top, then make shoulder seams of about 3".  Press seams open.  Press the armholes and the neck openings 1/4", then 1/4" again.  press the hem up 1/4", then 1 3/4".  Machine-sew everything.  Done.  The principle is the same for any simple tunic top, and a lot of ready-to-wear is no more complicated than this.  There is a coutourier with a cult following, I think his name is Zoran, making fantastically pricey dresses out of simple rectangles (of silk and cashmere, of course, but you could do that, too).  Sister sewers, have I gotten this right?  Don't want to lead a beginner astray.  Let us know how it turns out!

  3. red_tulip | | #3

    Thanks for the great advice. I will try the pants and the top you suggested. I'll report back in about a week or so (can't do anything this weekend)

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