To do this you need:

  • 1.5m of a top material 1,5m wide
  • Paper forms
  • A Ruler and Pencil
  • T-shirt - choose a fitted one but not too tight-fitting; it will be used as a basis for a form so the size should be similar to your body dimensions.
Measures and a form:

The work starts with preparing a form for half of a tunic; a front and a back are the same, they differ only in a shape of a neckline; the dimensions given refer to size 36/38 but you can modify them to your expectations and needs.

1. Prepare a form for half of a T-shirt; press your T-shirt with an iron and fold it in half lengthwise; spread it down on a paper so that the material stays not tightened or not gathered; outline your T-shirt; a shape of an armhole and a front part of a neckline should be copied by densely spiking seams with pins so that there are holes in the paper that determine the shape (if you put a thick material under the paper, pins will be spiked deeper and the holes will be more visible). Width of bottom of t-shirt pattern should be equal to ¼ of your hips circumference.

2. Convert a form for a tunic:
-determine the width of half of a neckline (A=14cm); draw a front neckline of the same depth as a T-shirt; a back neckline should be slightly shallower than a front neckline
-extend an angle of an arm to the desired length of a sleeve – measure it from where a neckline ends (B=25cm)
-draw a width of a sleeve at a right angle, a width (C=18cm) should equal half of a circumference of your biceps increased by 4-10cm
-determine the length of a tunic; measure the length from the highest point of a shoulder – the heights point of a neckline in the form of a t-shirt; If you want to pull up the tunic, to rest tight on the hips and give the loose, blouse-like effect above the hips, add 3-5cm (D=66cm)
-determine the width at a bottom of a tunic (E=24cm) – If you want a tunic to be pulled up, gathered and eased at a bottom, the width should be a bit smaller that the width of a bottom of a T-shirt; If you want to wear a tunic loose, a bottom should be wider that in a T-shirt
-with an arc, connect a width of a sleeve with a width of a bottom – draw the first 2cm of this line at a right angle to the edge of a sleeve, and then turn with a fluid arc and with a straight line connect an arc with a bottom; hence you widen a form in the chest and at the waist in relation to a T-shirt.

3. A form for half of a tunic is ready.

4. Now, you must set about preparing a whole – it is a form for a lining; if you are going to sew a tunic without a lining and a pocket, it is enough to add seam allowances and you can cut a material.
5. Add 3-4cm allowance to a form of a lining for turning up cuffs (dark gray outline); extend sleeves; at a bottom copy a form as a mirror-image – as sides are slanted, an allowance to be turned up underneath should also be sloping; note that if you want to execute a blind seam at the end, add only 2cm at the edge of a turned-up material (see a final part of the tutorial dedicated to trimming operation).
6. Now you have a ready form for a top fabric; just copy a back with a shallower neckline.
7. At a front form (with a deeper neckline), draw straight cuts between which there will be a pocket – it is recommended to make cuts tapering downwards; draw a pocket (dark gray outline); side parts are already ready; now carefully prepare a pocket.
8. A middle part cut from a front.
9. Extend the upper edge of a pocket; the more you widen the edge, the more it will protrude and drop after sewing it up (F=3.5cm); connect the extended upper edge with a bottom part of a pocket (dark gray triangular outline).
10. A fragment of an extended pocket.
11. Isolate 3 parts: an upper part of a fragment of a blouse (a light gray part with a blue outline), a form of a pocket (dark gray outline) and a lower part of a fragment of a blouse (a light gray part without any outline).
12. Draw aside an upper and a lower fragment, and insert a double form of a pocket between them in a mirror image.
13. A form for a middle part of a front tunic is ready.
Now add 1cm seam allowance – a blue line in the picture below; do not add it to the edges of a bottom and those of sleeves as you have already added it in step 5, the allowances added in step 5 will be used to cover edges on a lining; finished forms for a lining – 14 and 15, finished forms for a top material – 16 and 17; cut all parts so that the fabric will stretch across.
Fold a front and a back so that their right sides are in contact; pin the edges; sew shoulders and sides of a lining.
Caution! Pull out pins before the knife approaches or pin them 5cm away from the edge; sewing on arcs between a sleeve and a side of a blouse requires precision and caution so as not to cut an arm hole with a knife; when you approach an arc, gently flatten it before a presser foot, but do not pull a material.
A lining is ready! Quickly, isn’t it?
Pin a pocket. Put the middle part of front on the table with left side of a material up; fold it in half at its widest part, turning up a narrower part to a right side; pin edges of a pocket; turn the whole element with a pinned pocket to a right side; place a pinned pocket on the upper part of the element; pin the protruding edges of a pocket with the edges of the upper part. Ready! A pocket will look like that after sewing it up.
Pin a fragment with a pocket together with the other, side parts of a front tunic.
Change threads to a different color and sew three elements in a front together using an overlock machine; now sew up a front with a back on the shoulders and sides, same as in a lining. Note to sew carefully on curves under an arm hole.
Prepare a top material and a lining; turn a top to a right side and leave a lining on a left side; slide a top part into a lining so that inside, their right sides are in contact; pin a neckline; if there is a difference in size, you can slightly adjust shoulder seams in order to reduce a neckline circumference. Do not stretch a neckline while sewing! Sew the two pieces on the edge of a neckline; be careful on the border between a front and a back as there is a sharp turn – similar to arcs, you need to straighten it in front of a knife so as not to cut a material; when sewing on a curve, do not stretch a neckline and pay attention that each layer of a material remains under a needle.
Turn a lining to a right side and slide to the inside through a neckline; to make a lining not visible on a right side, press a neckline with an iron so that it is about 2mm deeper than the edge; if a lining is still visible on a right side, sew a neckline using a regular machine.
Turn a whole tunic to a left side and pin the edges of a lining with a top material within sleeves and at the bottom.
Now fold an allowance of a top material in sleeves and bottom on a lining and pin all 3 layers together (see a picture below); now it is time to trim cuffs using a function of a coverlock stitching; a seam is applied 1.5cm from the edge and should include all 3 layers, closing the edge of a lining inside a cuff; additionally you can baste all edges together, to make sewing with coverlock easier.
JUKI MO-735 makes a great combination of the two machines, switching it from an overlock to a coverlock takes only about 15 minutes; change the position of needles and thread the lower looper according to the instruction manual of the machine; when sewing a coverlock stitch, you must do a double stitching on top and underneath there will appear the so-called "ladder"; a challenge is that you sew on a right side – without seeing a bottom edge of cuff that is why we suggest to leave a wide cuff and after sewing, cut an unwanted part; this ensures that the whole seam is on a cuff, underneath.
Now it is time for a precise task – you must cut an excess of a material; if you want to avoid it and make a seam so as to cover the edge of a material with a cover-stitch, add smaller allowances on cuffs or cut them before sewing; but then you can’t make any mistake; you need to carefully baste the edge of a cuff and sew on a right side, exactly in the place where a material ends underneath.
Sewing instructions prepared by:
Janek Leśniak – fashion designer who, together with JUKI, conducts dressmaking courses in Warsaw. He infects others with a passion for making your own clothes on his blog: janlesniak.wordpress.com, where he reveals the arcana of his trade. Combining craftsmanship and design, he builds an awareness of the quality and the fashion industry among people non-related with the business. He has aquired fifteen years’ experience working with such brands as Reserved, House and Big Star. He has independently created original collections and conducted lectures on fashion business at the Cracow School of Art and Fashion Design. He has rejected massive fashion in favour of passion and work under his own name. His official website is: janlesniak.pl