I’m always on the hunt for unusual shapes or details in the clothing that I make, so lately I’ve been thinking about trying out some Lagenlook (“layered look”) clothing (see here for some background and examples). Something a little bit drapey and fluid, to be worn with bold jewelry and flat shoes–right up my alley.
So I decided to give the Willara tunic a try.
This pattern was a free download when it was first released (and, seriously, if you like this sort of thing, you should be following the Boho Banjo blog–she’s got some very cool stuff on there), and you better believe I downloaded it as soon as I saw it. The pattern’s designed for knits, but I decided to make a muslin with some rayon challis my mother gave me, and see if it would work with that.
I knew that wide neckline was going to be a problem for shoulder-free me, so I brought it in by an inch or so, then cut out a medium in my muslin fabric.
And ran into my first problem–the fabric requirements on this pattern are not accurate. I had a bit more fabric than the pattern said I would need, and I had nowhere near enough to cut any sleeves at all, much less the 3/4 length ones I wanted. EDIT: please read my statement below regarding fabric requirements for this pattern; in short, the fabric requirements are correct for 44″-wide fabric, but will not be sufficient for anything even a few inches narrower than that. Be sure to check!
So I cut just the front and back and sewed them up. The instructions are in a bit of a rough state; I wonder if the pattern was given to testers before release. For example, the cutting instructions have you cut two back pieces, but the sewing instructions tell you to cut one (even though there’s a back seam in the line drawings). Not a problem for me, but would be for a noob sewer. Also, the instructions say that “ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 1CM (3/4”).” Um, no. I wasn’t paying enough attention and sewed them at 3/4″, then had to rip and resew at 1/4″ to get the right fit.
But the fit was good, so I cut my “real” fabric, sewed it up with 1/4″ seam allowances, and decided to use my muslin as a lining for the body of the tunic. The neckline was still a little bit wide for me–I think adding the sleeves pulled it down a bit–so I added binding to the neck edge.
Here’s a shot of the lining.
I really love how this turned out; the fabric is so soft and so beautiful and I just love the shape of the top. This is exactly what I wanted–something a little bit unusual, with lots of rich color and an interesting shape, without looking costumey or over the top (it’s easy to go a little overboard with the whole layering thing, especially if you’re short, and wind up looking like your closet exploded on you ).
If you make the Willara, though, be aware that the sizing is unusual. I went by my bust measurement and made a medium and it pretty much fits me perfectly. Folks, I haven’t worn a medium anything since I hit puberty, damn near 40 years ago. I wear an 18 in RTW, 20 to 24 in big 4 patterns, which is nowhere near a medium. And I made this in a woven, when the pattern is meant for knits. Also, I’m 5’4″ and typically have to cut at least a couple of inches off things I make; I didn’t adjust the tunic length or sleeve length on this at all, so it’s going to need adjusting if you’re tall.
ETA 03/14/16: I finally got around to checking the fabric requirements for this pattern again (Pearl Red Moon, I’m so sorry that it’s taken me so long to do this–I’ve been having a difficult time lately and things are not getting accomplished around here–many, many apologies to you!)
I’m going to qualify what I wrote regarding fabric requirements for this pattern: I think that two yards IS sufficient to make this top, but ONLY if your fabric is at least 44″ or 45″ wide. I laid out the pattern pieces on 42″-wide fabric and it wasn’t wide enough for the pattern pieces to fit within the 2-yard piece–you need at least another couple inches of fabric width to get them in there. So the cutting diagram is correct for 44″-wide fabric, but make sure that’s what you actually have, because you won’t have enough fabric if yours is actually 42″. Now, 44″-wide fabric is not very common in the U.S. in my experience (42″ is much more typical), but the pattern is intended for knits or drapey fabrics such as rayon, which are usually wider than that, so realistically, few users of the pattern are going to have this problem. I think what happened in my case was that my muslin fabric was a unusual narrower than 44″-wide rayon, so 2 yards of it wasn’t enough for me to cut sleeves.
I apologize to Pearl Red Moon for my inaccurate criticism of the pattern and have edited the post to reflect my change of heart.