Thursday, June 07, 2012

Great Expectations Maternity Tunic -- Pictorial Tutorial


For those of you who are more visually oriented, here's a pictorial tutorial to go along with my Great Expectations Maternity Tunic Pattern. The full text of the pattern instructions can be found below, but I haven't included the pattern illustrations, since this tutorial is intended to accompany (not replace) the pattern instructions.

You can read more about the pattern and find links to download the pattern pieces and instructions in PDF form here: Great Expectations Maternity Tunic -- Free Pattern and Tutorial

Any comments I add to my pattern instructions will be noted in {brackets}, and I'll also be adding captions to the photos for clarification. At least, that's the idea. I'm not exactly noted for my clarity... *ahem* Anyway, here goes!






Cutting Out the Pattern and Fabric

-- Once you’ve assembled your e-pattern sheets, I recommend tracing the pattern onto non-fusible interfacing (my preference) or tissue paper. Computer paper and tape can be difficult to work with!

-- When your pattern is ready, lay it out on your fashion fabric, following the fabric layout diagram that matches your chosen pattern view and fabric width.

NOTE: All seam allowances are ¼” except for the seams connecting the tunic front and tunic back, and the armhole front to the armhole back. These allowances will be noted in the instructions.




1. Assembling the Yoke

A) To avoid markings on your fabric, baste a few stitches on your yoke front and back along the armhole placement guides (not necessary for the lining pieces).

B) Cut one front yoke and one back yoke piece from lightweight interfacing. I like to use my already-cut fabric pieces as a guide by placing my interfacing with the fusible side up, and placing my fabric pieces right side up on top of the interfacing. 

Here are my front and back yoke pieces, laid out on the interfacing and ready for trimming.


C) Trim ¼” off the interfacing (not the fabric) along the lower curved edge of each yoke piece. 


You trim BEFORE you iron the interacing onto the back of the yoke pieces.
This piece is ready to iron now!


D) Iron the fusible interfacing onto the wrong side of the front and back yoke pieces.

E) Sew the front and back yoke pieces right sides together at the shoulder seams, using a ¼” seam allowance. Press shoulder open. Repeat for the yoke lining. 


Back and front yoke sewn together, and seam pressed open



F) Sew the yoke to the yoke lining at the neckline, right sides together, matching shoulder seams and using a ¼” seam allowance. 



The yoke and yoke lining have been sewn together along the inner "ring".
I've also clipped the curves, which is step G below.

G) Clip curves at the neckline by making small cuts from the neckline edge to the stitching (but be careful not to clip your stitches!). Turn the yoke right side out and press neck edge. 

With the curves already clipped, I'm flipping the yoke lining out.
I'll then fold the yoke and lining together along that seam you see in the
center of the fabric on the left side. That's what I want to press (the neck edge)
See the picture below if you're still a little confused.

H) Topstitch along neck edge ¼” away from seam edge. 


With the neck edges pressed, I can sew along the inner ring of the yoke
1/4" away from the edge (which is the width of my presser foot. Easy!)

I) Press under ¼” on the lower edge of the outer yoke, using your interfacing as a guide. Leave the yoke lining as-is. Set yoke aside. 


This is the yoke front piece (see the interfacing?) having the lower edge
pressed under 1/4". If you trimmed your interfacing fairly evenly, you can
use that as a guide. I just eye it, I don't actually measure (Shh! Don't tell!)


2. Assembling the Armholes


A) Sew outer front and back armholes together along short straight edge {Don't sew the slanted edges together!}, right sides together, using a ½” seam allowance. Press seams open. Repeat for armhole lining pieces. (If your fabric does not have a right and wrong side, be careful that you don’t sew two identical armholes!) 

Here's one armhole sewn together, with the seam pressed open. If your fabric is
the same on both sides, it's very easy to sew your armholes and armhole linings
the same way. And that would not be good.
So check about 10 times before you sew!


B) Sew each outer armhole to an armhole lining along the inner curved edge, right sides together, matching seams, and using a ¼” seam allowance. Clip curves.


A little tricky to see, but I've sewn the armhole to its "mirror" armhole along
that inner curve (just past my index finger). I've also clipped the curves.

C) Turn armholes right side out and press. 

Two armholes, mirror reflection. Exactly what we need.


D) Topstitch ¼” away from edge along the inner curved edge of each armhole.


Topstitching the armhole.

E) Press under ¼” on the lower curved edge of the armholes. If you have a serger, finish the lower curved edge of the armhole lining. Otherwise, leave the armhole linings as-is. Set armholes aside. 


Pressing under 1/4" on the outer armhole (not the lining)

Both armholes with the 1/4" pressed under. Again, make sure your pieces
are in mirror reflection. If you're lining with the same fabric you're using for
the outer, it's easy to get confused.

I used my serger to finish off the raw edge of the armhole lining. If you don't
have a serger, just leave the lining raw for now.


3. Assembling the Tunic 



If you’re using a fabric without a one-way design and opted for the fabric-saving option, you need to sew the back pieces along the center back, right sides together, using a ½” seam allowance. Finish the seam with a serger or zig-zag stitch, press the seam to one side, and continue as follows: 

I used the fabric saving option for this tunic, so here you can see my seam
down the center back of the tunic, which I've finished on the serger.
Skip this step if you cut your tunic back on the fold.


A) Sew the front and back tunic pieces together along the side seams, right sides together, using a ½” seam allowance. Sew only along the straight edge of each side – don’t sew the curved armholes together. 

Here's the tunic front and back sewn together along the side seam -- 1/2"
seam allowance, remember! Also, note that I only sewed along the straight
edge, not along the armhole curve. I've already serged and pressed the
seam, as per step B) below

B) Finish the side seams with a serger or zig-zag stitch. Press toward the tunic back.





4. Attaching the Armholes to the Tunic 

FOR SERGED ARMHOLE LINING: 

A) The lower edge of each outer armhole has already been pressed under ¼”. Sandwich the tunic between the outer armhole and the armhole facing, matching up the side seams and ensuring that the right side of the tunic and the outer armhole are facing up. The outer armhole should overlap the tunic by ¼”. Pin generously, catching all layers (armhole, tunic, and armhole lining). 


Lots of pins! Just make sure you keep at least 1/4" of the tunic under the armhole.
A little extra is better than not enough. The shape of the armhole should match
up pretty accurately, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

B) Topstich along the lower edge of the armhole, as close to the pressed-under edge as possible.


Topstitching the armhole to the tunic, keeping the needle super close to the
pressed-under edge of the armhole as possible. Make sure you're catching
the lining as you sew, and also check that it's lying flat.

D) Topstitch again, this time ¼” away from the lower armhole edge. If the tunic and armhole are a bit uneven, trim the excess fabric. If necessary, grade the top of the tunic to keep a gentle curve along the top edge of the tunic.

A bit difficult to see in the picture (click to enlarge it), but there are now three
sets of topstitching on the armhole -- one 1/4" away from the inner armhole
edge, one 1/4" away from the outer armhole edge, and one right along the
outer armhole edge.
If the edge of your armhole isn't perfectly matched up to the tunic, just trim
the excess. If the tunic extends past the armhole, you may have to cut further
into the tunic to keep that gentle curve along the top edge of the tunic. 

FOR UNFINISHED ARMHOLE LINING: 

A) The lower edge of each outer armhole has been pressed under ¼”. Layer the armhole facing on top of the tunic, matching up the side seams and ensuring that the right side of the tunic and the outer armhole are facing up. The outer armhole should overlap the tunic by ¼”. Pin generously, keeping the armhole lining free.


(This picture doesn't show it because my lining was serged, but you don't 
want to pin the armhole lining to the armhole/tunic. For the unfinished
lining, you would see the lining sticking out above the armhole.)
Lots of pins! Just make sure you keep at least 1/4" of the tunic under the armhole.
A little extra is better than not enough. The shape of the armhole should match
up pretty accurately, so it shouldn't be too difficult. 

B) Topstich along the lower edge of the armhole, as close to the pressed-under edge as possible (See previous illustration above). Be sure to keep the armhole lining free as you sew.

(Again, my armhole lining was serged, but for the unfinished lining, you
would see the armhole lining sticking out to the right of the armhole.)

Topstitching the armhole to the tunic, keeping the needle super close to the
pressed-under edge of the armhole as possible. Make sure the armhole lining
stays free of the stitching.


C) On the inside, fold under the armhole lining and pin to the seam allowance. Whipstich the lining in place, making sure your stitches don’t penetrate through to the outside.


I'm cheating, since this picture actually depicts the yoke lining (a few steps
later on) -- but it's the exact same procedure for the unfinished armhole lining.
You want to catch the folded-under lining and the seam allowance in your stitch.
Make sure your stitches don't penetrate to the outside of the tunic, but don't
worry too much about how the stitches look (it's the inside, so no one will see).

D) Topstitch again, this time ¼” away from the lower armhole edge. If the tunic and armhole are a bit uneven, trim the excess fabric. If necessary, grade the top of the tunic to keep a gentle curve along the top edge of the tunic.


A bit difficult to see in the picture (click to enlarge it), but there are now three
sets of topstitching on the armhole -- one 1/4" away from the inner armhole
edge, one 1/4" away from the outer armhole edge, and one right along the
outer armhole edge.

If the edge of your armhole isn't perfectly matched up to the tunic, just trim
the excess. If the tunic extends past the armhole, you may have to cut further
into the tunic to keep that gentle curve along the top edge of the tunic. 

5. Attaching the Yoke 


A) The tunic is attached to the yoke in the same manner as the armholes. Match up the armholes to the markings indicated on the front and back yoke pattern pieces. Pin in place, overlapping the edge of the yoke ¼” over the armholes.

B) Match the center front of the tunic to the center front of the yoke. Pin in place. Repeat for the back.

C) Pleat the excess fabric in the front and back, pinning to the yoke to secure. You can arrange the pleats however you like, but my preference for the front is either three box pleats or four to six knife pleats (two or three in each direction). For the back, I prefer four knife pleats (two in each direction). See the illustrations below to see how to make each type of pleat. Before you sew, make sure your pleats are the same size (or as close as possible) and that they’re evenly spaced.


This is hard to show in a picture, but I'm pinning the pressed-under edge of
the yoke front (the interfaced side) to the tunic front, exactly as we did for
the armholes. Just match up the armholes to their appropriate marks, pin
the center front of the tunic to the center front of the yoke (and the same
for the back), and take up the excess fabric in a series of pleats. Again,
make sure you pin at least 1/4" of the tunic under the yoke -- a little more
is better than a little less. Also, keep the yoke lining free as you pin.

Here's my best attempt at drawing a box pleat -- use a sewing guide or a
search engine for a better description! The folds should be touching at the
center of the pleat. For the front, I like to do three box pleats -- one in
the center, and one on either side. The right side of the fabric is facing
you in this illustration.


Here's my best attempt at drawing knife pleats -- use a sewing guide or
a search engine for a better description! The line down the center of
the drawing depicts the center back (or front, if desired). The right side
of the fabric is facing you in this illustration.


D) Once the tunic is pinned in place, topstitch around the edge of the yoke, as close to the pressed-under edge as possible. Be sure to keep the yoke lining free as you sew. Sew all around the yoke, even over the shoulder areas (which are not pinned to the tunic). 


Topstitching close to the edge of the yoke, just like the armholes. Make sure
you keep the yoke lining free while you sew; you don't want to catch it in your
stitching (hello, seam ripper).


E) On the inside, fold under the yoke lining and pin to the seam allowance. Whipstitch the yoke lining in place, making sure your stitches don’t penetrate through to the outside (especially in the shoulder area). 


Here's the yoke lining pinned in place. This is also a gratuitous view of my
pleating from the inside -- for reference, you're seeing my three box pleats for
the tunic front.

You want to catch the folded-under lining and the seam allowance in your stitch.
Make sure your stitches don't penetrate to the outside of the tunic, but don't
worry too much about how the stitches look (it's the inside, so no one will see).



F) Topstitch the yoke again, this time ¼” away from the lower yoke edge. 


Topstitching the yoke one last time, using my
presser foot as a guide. Almost done now!



6. Hemming the Tunic

{If you want to be precise, you can try the tunic on and mark your hem exactly where you want it. Or you can just wing it and hem the tunic as-is. If you're super picky about maternity tops not being shorter in the front than the back, I recommend a "custom" hem.}

A) If the tunic is uneven at the bottom side seams, trim the excess fabric and grade the curve.

B) Press the edge of the tunic under ¼” inch. Press under again, this folding under 1”.

C) Stitch close to the folded edge. 



{Alternately, you can serge the bottom edge of the tunic, press it under, and stitch close to the serging. I cheat and do hems like this all of the time, especially if I don't want a bulky hem}


Here's a first-hand look at my hem cheating ways. If you're following my
actual instructions, the edge wouldn't be serged, and it would be folded under
one more time (by 1/4"). But you get the idea. Right?



7. Optional Fabric Tie
A) If you chose to make a fabric tie instead of using ribbon, decide how wide you want your finished tie to be. Double that measurement and add 1” for seam allowance. For instance, if I want a 1” tie, I would double it (2”) and add an inch (total of 3” wide).

B) Cut two pieces of fabric to that width. Sew the two pieces right sides together along one of the short edges to make one long strip. Decide how long you want the tie to be, and trim down to the desired length.

C) Fold your strip in half, right sides together, and stitch along the long side ½” from the cut edge. Sew along one short edge (either straight across or at an angle), but leave the other end open.

D) Trim seam allowance to ¼” and clip corners. Turn your tie right side out and press. Fold raw edges of opening inward, then slipstitch closed. 


{Sorry, no pics for this step yet, as I used a belt for the tunic pictured in this tutorial. I may do some pics in the future, if that would be helpful. You can get really creative with your "tie" by using a belt, scarf, etc.}



8. Optional Belt Guides 

A) To make guides for your belt similar to those on purchased garments, cut ½ yard of embroidery floss into two 9” pieces. Take one length and divide the six strands into three sets of two strands. Tie all of the strands in a knot about two inches from the end, and then braid the remaining length of floss. How much you have to braid depends on the width of your belt – you need double the width of your belt, plus some extra to hide in the seam allowance. Don’t knot the other end of the braid. Repeat the braiding process for the other piece of floss.

B) Now that your guides are ready, try on your tunic and use a safety pin to mark on the side seam where you want the top edge of your belt to sit. Take the tunic off and thread the unknotted end of one of your belt guides into a large embroidery needle.

C) From the inside, pass your needle through the seam allowance and side seam, bringing the needle out at the point marked by your safety pin and catching the knot in the seam allowance. Insert the needle back into the same place and bring it out through the seam allowance. Making sure that your loop is the right size on the outside of the tunic, secure both ends of the belt guide in the seam allowance to ensure that the loop doesn’t pull in or out of the seam.

{Again, no pictures for instructions above, since I used a different method to make my belt guides on this tunic. But I'll post pictures and instructions for what I did as an alternate method for making belt guides.}


Here's my marking for the belt guide placement, based on where I wanted it
when I tried the tunic on -- but please use a safety pin unless you want to
scratch yourself *wink*

For this guide, I used upholstery thread, but any sturdy thread should work.
 Here's my belt buckle, which I used as a guide for how big to make my thread
 loops -- leave a little extra if you're working with a buckle. Ribbon or fabric will
 "smoosh," but metal buckles can't be forced through a too-small loop!

I made two more loops in the side seam to match my original loop.

Pictures are difficult for this step, but I brought the needle up next to my loops,
and then basically made knots (more like buttonhole stitches without fabric)
around the three strands of thread that formed my loop. This bind the threads
together and forms a single sturdy loop. This can be a bit time consuming, since
the entire surface of the loop will be covered in tiny buttonhole stitches!







Now go show off that baby bump! 





I hope you enjoy this pattern! 
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via: 
maidenoftheking @ gmail.com



With Love, 

Shannon 




Please remember, this pattern is copyright protected and for personal use only. 
The pattern itself may not be reproduced or sold without permission, and the same goes for any garments made from the pattern. If you wish to sell garments made from the pattern, please contact me!



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