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When You Say Yes @ The Fabric Store: Off Color Tunic Revamp

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

A few weeks ago I snuck out of my house (sans family) on a Saturday and hit up one of my local Chi-Town fabric stores.

On this particular Saturday instead of meeting a client or pulling swatches or frantically running in to grab a few yards of whatever the hell I just ran out of at the last minute - my usual weekly M.O. I got to walk in, caress the textiles and allow myself to daydream. I'm pretty sure I paced the isles 10+ times, the staff was beginning to stare.

I couldn't stop myself from pulling all the rich colors and prints, creating a new collection in my mind...

It. Was. Thrilling.

pdf sewing pattern hack Off Color Tunic

I had been toying with the idea of recreating some of my existing patterns. I'm constantly on the creative move because I am impatient, and since I’m months away from getting any new patterns published (which is excruciating!) my mind was in the space of revamping current patterns – I'm sure it had a lot to do with needing to update my fall wardrobe too!

Who doesn't want a fresh closet with a new season?!

A great pattern has endless opportunities for reinvention.

I've always thought a great pattern has endless opportunities for reinvention and considered most patterns as a jumping off point. A good place to start so you end up with a sweet new garment with less frustration than starting from scratch.

We all require tweaks and adjustments because, let's face it, not every pattern is going to fit every body perfectly. So, reinventing a new style out of an old pattern isn't much different than a simple pattern adjustment. Hacking an old pattern is fun, easy AND you get a new creation.

So, short story long, that leads me to this latest #sewrevamp hack of the Off Color Tunic.

pdf sewing pattern hack Off Color Tunic

Not so sure I can call her a tunic anymore since this version I chopped several inches off her hem but oh well… that’s her name.

This hack was insanely easy and had a great result, so just follow along with me.


First, start off with View C of the Off Color Tunic PDF sewing pattern. This is third solid version of this pattern with no seams on the front or the back.

Now, I used the shorten or lengthen line for measuring off of but this could totally change if you want something shorter/longer. I just knew this line fell at the same place on both the front and the back pattern pieces and required less measuring to make sure the front and back side seams matched!

Now, slide the Center Front Bodice (of View C)in front of you. Measure UP 2” from the shorten or lengthen line at the center. Square a line across the width of the pattern. This will be your new front HEM LINE.

At the side seam edges, measure DOWN 1.5”. Square a line up from the side seam towards the new hem line.

Last step for the Center Front Bodice is grabbing your french curve and rounding these lines to make a smooth curved hem.

Ok. Now toss the front bodice to the side and pick up that Center Back Bodice. We are going to repeat the process but in the opposite direction and slightly different measurements.

At the center of the Center Back Bodice measure DOWN 1.5” from the shorten or lengthen line. Just like the front… square a line the width of the pattern piece. This will be your new back HEM LINE

Now, at the back side seams, measure UP 1.5” (yes this will take you back to that shorten or lengthen line) Just like the front, square a line off the side seams down towards the new back hem line.

Lastly, you guessed it… time to whip out that french curve and round out that back hem line. I decided not to add any seam allowance but you totally could. I finished my hem with a 1/4" double rolled hem which took about 1/2" away from the length.

Alright, that takes care of the hem.

But what about those rad ruffles?!

I opted to scrap the existing cuff, in the spirit of reinvention of course, and instead thought a ruffle would be bad ass.

Adding a ruffle is pretty simple but I really think it was what changed the look the Off Color Tunic the most!

Ruffles that are ruched or gathered are typically made with a rectangle shape – as opposed to a flounce that's typically circular or curved.

A good rule of thumb for adding enough fullness for a ruffle is multiplying your finished length by 1.5 for a standard ruffle or 2 for extra fullness.

So, I measured the edge of arm openings on the front and back bodice pieces... which for the large is 24.5". Now this pattern already has 1/2" seam allowance on both the top shoulder seam and the bottom side seam. So I subtracted 2" from 24.5".

Now I multiplied... 22.5" x 1.5 (my desired fullness)= 33.75"

I went with 3” for my ruffle width, it just seamed like the right width but you can do whatever width you want. Just be sure to add your seam allowance!

I stitched this baby up pretty similarly to the way I would sew View C of the Off Color Tunic pattern, just eliminating the cuffs for the ruffles. I surged all my seams because that's my jam but you could entertain any sort of interior seam finish that suits your fabric.

This printed fabric is a rayon challis and has a great drape but had some body in the ruffles. It stitched up like a dream too. *drool.

Well, that’s about it for this broad.

Stay tuned for the Tied Up Top revamp that will include a new free sleeve pattern piece!

Stitch away my Seamsters!


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Jenn Barron

A pattern specialist, master seamster and digital badass. Jenn establishes a place where creativity, authenticity and sewing meet, helping make all the things so that you can  be you.

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