Simple Tunic Top Tutorial

Today I’m sharing my Simple Tunic Top Tutorial {say that three times fast} with you. 
I have been wanting to make myself a tunic style top for a long time.  With plenty of curves, I find that tops with an empire waist are the most flattering.  But… I can never seem to find them in the stores!  This is my first, wear worthy top and I Love It!!! 
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
 Simple Tunic Top inspired by this pin.
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
 1.  First I had to figure out the measurements.  Using a measuring tape, I measured the largest part of my torso.  For me that was my bust line, which measured 50″ {I usually wear size XL on top}.  Then I added 8″ for seams and seam allowances.  Next I measured from the top of my shoulder to my hips {30″} and added 2″ for seams and seam allowances.  My materials:
58″ x 32″ piece of fashion fabric.   A light cotton blend works best.
96″ single fold bias tape
12-14″ of 1/4″ elastic
Coordinating polyester thread
I used 1/2″ seams throughout.
2.  Now I cut the material into 4 rectangular panels.  Each measuring 14.5″ x 32″.
3.  Next I sewed two of the panels together, creating a shoulder seam and repeated with the other two panels.  I also folded over the edges, ironed  and sewed them to help prevent fraying.
4.  I cut the bias tape into 4, 24″ pieces and sewed one onto each side of the two long panels.  With 12″ on either side on the shoulder seam.
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
 5.  Here I have completed sewing on the bias tape.  
6.  Now I sewed the two long panels together, creating a front and back to the shirt.  I started sewing where the bias tape met and right down to the hem on the front and back.  
7.  Here my front and back panels are sewn together.  
8.  Now I sewed the sides of the shirt together.  Again starting from the bias tape and down to the hem.
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
 9 / 9.  Next I measured how much elastic I needed by stretching it tight under my bust line.  When the elastic retracted it was 13″ long.  Using a zig zag stitch and keeping the elastic stretched out, I sewed it to the shirt, below my bust line.  Photographs show the front and back of this step.  10.  Finally I folded, ironed and hemmed the bottom of the shirt.
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
 The perfect shirt for a curvy girl!
I paired it with my DIY Tree of Life Necklace… I might just have some fashion sense after all! LOL
I plan on making many more of these ~ they’re the perfect addition to my closet for spring/summer.
If you make one, would you let me know?!?!  I would love to see it!
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
Version Two ~ I created my own bias tape and shirred the line under the bust.
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
Love this print!
Simple Tunic Top Tutorial
Version Three ~ I used a knit, stretchy fabric {super comfy} and made it longer to go with leggings.
Love ’em!
Thanks so much for visiting.
Have an awesome day!


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  1. Mojra says

    Love the tunic! It looks great! Personally, as one curvy girl to another, I believe you have good fashion sense, it is just hard to exercise it with the selections available in the stores! Thanks so much for this inspiration!

  2. Melissa Shields says

    I’m so going to save the link!! As another curvy girl sometimes it’s hard to find a shirt that fits the bust and still fits everywhere else! Thanks for inspiration!!

  3. Digital Misfit says

    Love it! As a fellow girl who rocks her curves, I thank you for sharing this great tutorial. I can already think of fun ways to embellish this (tattered jersey petals around the neckline, matching long belt, etc!

  4. Michaela @ says

    Thanks so much for sharing this tute. So often, the women’s clothing tutes are for such a small size. I have a hard time figuring out how to make it work for my larger body.

    Where did you get the fabrics? I love all three!

  5. JoDana says

    wow can’t wait to try this out. It looks fantastic! I pinned this So I can come back to it when I pull out my sewing machine! I’ll let you know how it turns out… Found you through I am Momma Hear Me Roar git er done link up

  6. Kirsten says

    This is fantastic! I really like the third version. I bet if I made the “V” in the front a bit lower (to wear with tanks) I could make this into a breastfeeding friendly top!

    Great idea and seems so very easy and flattering.

  7. Dawn Livingston says

    Very nicely done. I was actually looking for a pattern that could be modified into maternity type for a friend who is expecting. She has been ripping out the side seams of her shirts to fit over her growing bump. I am having a hard time seeing if there is elastic in the back as well, or just in front. Thanks for the tute.

  8. Dianne says

    Wonderful! I have sewn a lot of complicated things, mostly for others, and this is so refreshingly simple and logical, thanks! Since it is in strips and has a straight or horizontal shoulder seam, the strips can be whatever width you need them to accommodate those curves when they go out, but take their time about coming in again. Like at the ankles. This will be a #1 stash buster for me I think!

  9. jessica says

    How did you figure out the length for the arm holes?
    I’m really enjoying the fabric choice now if I can find some fun fabric like these. These will me my first attempt at clothes for my self.

  10. Tonya says

    Hello Heather! I just made one of these and I am wearing it right now! I made it longer to wear with leggings and it is seriously the most comfortable thing that I have ever worn, the leggings included. I am not only a larger and curvier gal but I am also pregnant so I really had to look to to my own skills to create some maternity clothes that would be roomy enough and long enough to work for me. These tops are perfect and I am going to make another dozen and wear them after the baby comes too! Keep up your sewing, you’re awesome! 🙂

  11. Anne Coles says

    It’s nice to finally find a site with nice tops that are fairly simple, thanks to your super tutorial. I’m just getting back to sewing and this is the first piece that I’m going to try. Thanks again, you did a super job!!!!!!!!

  12. Bridget says

    I REALLY love your tutorial and I agree with everyone above about how hard it is to find cute tops that flatter you and (are comfortable too)! It is also a very versatile design -you can customize the lower part as a maternity top (larger) and after the baby you can size it down along the sides as you get smaller… I was also thinking of there was some way (using knit fabric) to crisscross the top front part, that would be ideal for a nursing top (OR ALSO, maybe just add elastic somehow to the neckline??) I am totally trying this, for myself AND also my 9 year old daughter -it is EXTREMELY hard to find her nice tops because when I get things to fit her around the waist, it is way too large across the chest/shoulders (the chest will come soon enough(!) but until then..) I always worry about her self confidence especially as young as she is… She likes to look cute and be comfortable! Who doesn’t! Lol thanks again-I will show them to you when I’m done!!!

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