For the backyard wedding, I wanted something easy, yet elegant. When you’re the resident dress designer/maker, showing up in something not of your own creation doesn’t work! I had my hands full with the bride, mother of bride, bridesmaids, etc. but managed to crank out a tunic style dress with Coco (and Karl) in mind.
My starting point was fabric from the Haute Couture section of Mendel Goldberg Fabrics. I chose a wonderful French boucle highlighted with tiny sequins woven into the fabric. With careful planning, the dress required only one yard of fabric; here is what was left over.
I used my basic pattern block and made the following adjustments. If you start with another tunic style pattern, and want to get this look, make sure your pattern has a high, jewel neckline. If your pattern has a lower neckline, the collar might be too large and will stand away from the neck.
Close the armhole and shoulder darts, combining them into the underarm dart. Angle the new underarm dart towards the lower edge.
I chose to eliminate the front fisheye darts and transfer some of the dart shaping to the side seam. The bib placket drops from just outside the neck edge to the bust line. I played with shaping the bib wider at the top and tapering slightly but that design created a problem with trim placement. Having the bib placket the same width from top to bottom allowed the trim rows to be evenly spaced. The back was used as is with fisheye darts. The shoulder dart will be eased. The skirt was pegged about 3/4 inch from low hip line to hem.
Next I drafted a collar and stand. Some drafting books suggest curving the collar stand about 1/2 inch but I find the stand will hug the back neck better if more shaping is used. I’ll increase the curvature of the stand by shaping with a steam iron.
All collar pieced are cut from cardboard which will help when pressing. I’ve also cut a collar lining pattern 1/8 inch smaller to keep the undercollar out of sight. The Curve Runner makes measuring curved edges easy; very helpful when drafting collars to fit the neck.
The cardboard helps when pressing seam allowances under and ensures the collar is perfectly symmetrical. Fell stitch the under collar to upper collar.
Pressing over cardboard also helps shape the collar stand. I used satin faced organza to line the collar, stand and as a base fabric for the bib. This organza is more opaque and stiffer than regular silk organza and is harder to shape into a smooth curve.
Designing trims for the placket was the most fun part. I used the same satin faced organza as a base fabric and applied multiple layers of ribbons and braids. Most were sewn on by hand to maintain a soft, couture feel.
I had some leftover tweed from Linton. I save my scraps of tweeds and boucles as there is often wonderful trim hiding in the fabric. Linton fabrics are woven with continuous strands so un-weaving produces a long continuous length of trim. I also used the fringed selvedges from the French boucle. Also found great buttons!!!
I had just enough scraps to cut bias strips for a hem fringe. Two layers of cotton batting padded the center. A blunt tapestry needle helps to un-weave the edges.
Finished! Here’s a glimpse of the inside. Silk crepe de chine fell stitched to armseyes and placket. Side zip makes it easy to get into.
Next post will detail the design and construction of the bride’s outfit.
37 thoughts on “The Chanel Style Tunic”
What a gorgeous tunic, it looks like a lot of fun to make. Thank you for the details!
Thanks Abby. Glad you liked this and thanks for taking time to comment.
This is beautiful, Mary! I love everything about it (those buttons!), and the hem fringe is genius. The dress would not the same without it. I am so looking forward to hearing about the bride’s dress.
Thank you Karen. The buttons were definitely a great find and perfect. The hem was a solution to no fabric to turn up a traditional hem but it worked great.
Thank you, Mary for sharing the details of another wonderful creation! Did you interface the collar and/or collar band? Sharon
Thanks Sharon. Yes, collar and band were both interfaced.
Mary, Everything about this outfit is perfection. I so enjoy all the details that you share with us and as I am soon to relocate and will be living just about an hours drive from Linton, I am already daydreaming about my first sewing project, once the sewing room is set up!
I love your attention to the tiniest of details and making something truly Couture.
Looking forward to the next instalment.
How lucky to live that close to Linton. I was there right after the flood that destroyed the shop but have seen photos of the newly rebuilt store. You will have such fun! I’m sure they have so many more selections when you shop in person rather than on the website. Thanks for commenting.
As ever mary so inventive and fascinating to read about. You look beautiful in the outfit.
Thank you. This was a fun make.
Such a perfect dress. I love it.
Thanks for letting me know.
My goodness, that’s just gorgeous. I love reading about your couture creations. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise.
Thanks for reading. Hope some of my tips help.
Just beautiful! And a very instructive post. Looking forward to learning about the bridal dress construction.
Thanks. Details about the bride’s dress coming soon.
What a beautiful dress, I love how it turned out. The tip about finding trim hiding in boucle scraps is great!
I think finding trim is the most difficult part. Most of what’s available is way too stiff and bulky. Having had my hands on several couture garments, I’m impressed by the lightness and softness of the trims. Making my own solves the problem. Thanks for reading.
Stunning as always … FIESTA!!! 🙂
First of all, another fantastic blog full of construction techniques that cannot be found anywhere else, the result being another beautiful garment. I hate to get all construction geeky, but I noticed the perfect buttonholes on the placket, can you explain your process for getting such a tight and pucker-free buttonhole?
Thanks John. This blog is meant to be construction geeky and I’m always happy to answer questions. The buttonholes needed to be perfect and I’m always afraid of my regular buttonhole foot slipping. I used embroidery software to create an evenly spaced line of buttonholes. Then hooped sturdy muslin, stitched a placement line and trimmed away the muslin underneath where the buttonholes would be stitched. Next pinned the placket in place using the placement stitches as a guide. Stitched around the placket with tack down stitches. Stitched buttonholes using very fine thread. I find using Mettler or Gütermann overlock thread produces a much neater buttonhole than regular sewing thread.
I always look forward to your construction details, something new every time. Thank you for sharing in detail.
Nice to know you enjoy reading. Thanks Barbara.
Wonderful! You’re very creative and your tips are simple and clear. You look great in this lovely Chanel dress.
Nice to know that you found this helpful.
Awesome! So elegant and neat!
Thanks for letting me know.
I love your dress and your posts are always so amazingly detailed, it’s a pleasure to read!! I can’t wait to read about the bride’s dress!
Thanks. Post on bride’s dress coming soon.
I drool over your planning steps..if folks put more time into that stage, their clothes might look better. You have such great photos, step-by-step instructions and fabric selections that are the best. You give us permission to take apart fabrics to harvest cool threads…love the buttons too! It is a lovely dress that can be worn over and over, not just for weddings. Brava!
I do spend loads of time on the planning stage and sometimes try out many variations until the right technique/trim comes. I love working with luxury fabrics which is motivation not to mess up.
This was a great post! I love how you take the bits and pieces and make something lovely out of them!
Thanks Linda. It was fun playing with all the trim possibilities.