Monday, June 2, 2014

Luella Tunic

Back in the day, pre-blog, I made a simple skirt from some Tina Givens quilting cotton.  It was one of my favorites for a long time.  I actually wore it out, though that was probably from shoddy sewing more than anything else.  I have another cotton print of hers that has survived a couple of stash purges now even though I don't sew with quilting cotton anymore.  I've always liked her fabric prints.  They have a cool, global feel.  But really, I like that you can tell Givens' original designs were most definitely done by hand.  That they began as an actual physical brush-and-paper artwork.


I came across Tina Givens' sewing patterns one day while browsing the interwebs.  I am fully aware that they are not every one's cup of tea.  I can admit that they might look like something an aging art teacher would wear.  But I say that with love.  There is something about about her patterns that I really like.  I like linen, especially rumply linen.  I told you in my last post that I am drawn to volume here lately.  And I just so happen to be an art teacher- ha!  Maybe that's it. 


I made the Luella tunic twice.  Both from some fantastic, rumply, medium weight linen which was so much fun to sew with.  The first version was the midnight blue one which I made up exactly as it was designed except for a change to the neckline.  The white version I made next with a few more changes.  I shortened the back skirt, as you can see.  I also shortened the sleeves some, reduced the width of the bindings and widened and lowered the neckline. I found the v-neck to sit high on me when I sewed it up as drafted.  When I realized the neckline was too high on the blue version, I just lopped off the binding and scooped out the neckline pretty haphazardly.  I probably should have left it alone because I ended up with a great big sloppy-looking neckline.  My solution to fix it was to put in an inverted pleated at the front before finishing it with bias.


After looking at these photos, I think I'm going to back and tweak the blue version.  I'd like to try and bind the neckline like the white version even though it will be deeper.  And I'd like to shorten the sleeves.



I do, however, love the crazy sweeping ruffly hem.  And I'm not normally a ruffly sort of person.  Don't be fooled by the ease.  Yes, this is an over-sized pattern but it is not a bunch of rectangles.  The seams are curved and unusual.  And those funky little pleats in the side seams are really something special.  I think, anyway.  I made a size small, which the pattern says fits a 2-8.  I normally wear a 10 for reference.


I finished my ruffles with a rolled hem on my serger.  They kind of remind me of napkins.  The instructions tell you to serge the edges or zig zag and let them fray.  I almost wish I had done the frayed edges.  Seems fitting on a top like this.  There is quite a bit of ruffling to do!  I found the best way to do the gathering was to zig zag over a piece of upholstery thread.   I love how the ruffles are sewn on the outside of the top. 



I do have a couple of negative observations to make.  I ordered a printed pattern because I hate, like hate with a passion, taping together pdf patterns.  So imagine my disappointment when I got my printed pattern and still had to tape some of the pattern pieces together.  I got over it, though, when I realized that it was only a minimal amount of taping.  I think there were two pattern pieces that had to be pieced.  It was really not a big deal.  Also, the instructions are pretty vague.  You have to know your way around a sewing pattern to sew this up.  There are a couple of technical drawings included in the pattern instructions, but no finished pattern line drawing.  I use pattern line drawings more than anything when I'm trying to figure out how to sew something.  


I am thrilled with both finished tops.  Especially the white one.  I know I will wear it with shorts for the summer like above but it will transition perfectly in to fall with jeans and boots.  It's different and swingy and fun to wear  It's a weird and wonderful pattern!  I bought another Tina Givens pattern that I plan to make up this fall, but her Zoe dress pattern is calling my name for this summer.

23 comments:

  1. Wow I love this on you! I feel like it takes a lot of vision to see how her patterns will turn out, as they pictures are small and not detailed, and shot from far away. But your version makes me want to give them a go anyway!

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    1. Thanks! I agree about not having a lot of info about the pattern. A really good line drawing would totally solve that issue for me. However, I'm glad I went ahead and ordered one and sewed it up. I was impressed!

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  2. I love them both! I especially like the blue one worn with jeans - that is a really cute look. And I'm in total agreeance with you - I love linen. It is my favourite fabric to wear and to sew.

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  3. These patterns certainly are different but you make them work. I'm looking forward to seeing the Zoe dress pattern made up, I really like it!

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  4. i'll have to check out those patterns, because these tops are so much fun! i love all the volume and linen? swoon!

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  5. I love these on you - you make a beautiful, cool art teacher:)

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  6. The deep hi-low hem on the blue one is so dramatic! It's a different style, but it suits you. I'm a sucker for ruffles anyway.

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  7. I love these so much!!! Especially that deep blue. You look great in that color!

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  8. Love, love love! The drape, the swing, the silhouette and of course the ruffles! I'm heading off to the Tina G site ASAP.

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  9. You look amazing! I love both versions, short and long. I checked out the pattern website and really like the style. I found a dress that really interests me too, so thank you for providing the link.

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  10. I think it's great to be who you are:) I couldn't wear this much fabric because I am so 'vertically challenged', but I look upon those who can pull it off with envy. And you can pull it off!

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    1. I think my height does help with all the volume. Not that I'm super tall or anything. But I think anyone can do volume if the proportions are right, which is tricky!

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  11. I love that picture of the blue top unfurled! I think these are really cool. And in linen? Be still, my beating heart! I like the art teacher vibe, too - I've got a few of the Vogue Tilton patterns all ready for when the mood strikes...

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    1. Oh yes, I have an affinity for some of those Tilton patterns, too! Ha! I guess it's time to embrace the batty art teacher that I am :)

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  12. Wow! These are super cool! I'm so interested by the shape! I love that you went with linen- it's the perfect choice! Well done!

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  13. Thank you so much for the review. It is a super fun pattern. I have a soft spot for this look.

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  14. Finishing the edge of that ruffle must have taken FOREVER! Holy cow. Cute top. Very different, which I like!

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  15. The blue one worn with jeans is fantastic! These look so cool that I'm tempted myself, even though I know the volume would make my hips look huge!

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  16. I love how huge the hem is - the picture of you holding out the blue version is brilliant.

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  17. I especially like the blue version. I'd wear it in a heartbeat.

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  18. Wow! These are gorgeous! And I wouldn't normally like this type of top, so it's eye-opening to see it on you. And I love the crazy art teacher style!

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  19. Hi. I've made several of Tina's pattern and I'm just wondering if you've graded them down to a smaller size at all? The sugar slip is the only one I've found (after sewing up a good 8 pieces) that is smaller- fit wise. I'm tempted to make the girls patterns...ha

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    1. I made a size small for both of these tunics. The pattern envelope says a small fits a 2-8 and I normally wear a ten. But yeah, still a ton of ease! I can see how someone smaller than me would be swimming in these tunics.

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