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I normally don’t like beach vacations. I prefer travelling around and sightseeing, so that’s what we normally do. Last year we travelled to Sri Lanka, and since it was VERY hot, we decided to go against the rule and squeeze in a couple of beach days. Lounging around in our cute B&B on the beach made me realize that I have a lot of practical travelling/city trip clothes, but not one piece that I can just throw over my bikini while going to the bar or restaurant. My next sewing project was set!
A couple of days later we were visiting the city Gaul, and I stumbled upon a street filled with fabric stores – and found the perfect material for my project! Pink, with huge orange flowers – not a fabric that you could wear comfortably for a city outfit, but perfect for a beach ensemble. Only thing missing was the right pattern – after quite a long internet search, I found the label Purl Soho. Purl Soho offers a (free) tunic pattern that worked great with my fabric – I really wanted something that would let me work with the broad line of flowers at the edge of the material, and the Purl Soho Wear Anywhere Tunic did just that.
So I set to work – and spent the next half day cursing. Last year, I didn’t have a lot sewing experience yet, and I had never worked with fabric this slippery. It kept shifting on the table, and I made a complete mess of the skirt piece the first time round (I later used this piece for a shirt, soon to be blogged). After A LOT of pattern weights, needles and not cutting the pattern on the fold, but rather in a single layer, I finally succeeded.
Sewing the tunic was quick work – the only fiddly piece is the tunel for the waist ties, everything else is just straight stitching lines. Purl Soho offers a great tutorial on putting together the tunic with lots of pictures explaining everything. They even guide you through a nice finish of the seams – I don’t know the term for it, but each seam allowance is folded over and secured by a line of stitching parallel to the seam.
I chose a bright orange yarn for this to make the seams pop on the pink fabric. Since everything had worked so nicely once I had cut the fabric, I got a little carried away – and made a mistake, of course. I thought that the waist ties were measured way too long and cut off quite a bit from the pattern piece. Only to discover later that you need the extra fabric to properly tie the bows at the side. Mine were really, really small – but as I didn’t have enough fabric to redo them, I just left them that way. They continued to bother me, though, so a little while later I cut them in half and inserted pieces of contrast fabric to lengthen them. Now the ties are half pink, half orange, but I actually like the effect.
Last but not least: Why “Pocahontas dress”? That term was coined by my husband: After taking pictures of me in the tunic, he asked on the next day why I wasn’t wearing my “Pocahontas dress”… 😉 But on the Flying Needle Sewing Blog Summary:
Pattern: Purl Soho Wear Anywhere Tunic (you construct the pattern pieces based on your measurements, all square pieces)
Fabric: some viscose/polyester blend purchased on Sri Lanka
Changes made: none
Summary: I like my tunic! I’m not so sure if I would sew it again, but that’s not down to the pattern, but to the fact that the Charlie Caftan from Closet Case Patterns is around now… and I am very tempted to try that the next time!
Have you already made Charlie? Or another caftan pattern? If so, feel free to share in the comments!