I’m pretty excited about my first sewing hack for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, today I’m showing you how I hacked my Dottie Angel Tunic Pattern into a gypsy style blouse using all the fabric from just 1.5 metres of gorgoeus Chambray Fabric and finished it all with some hand embroidery that’s so easy to do.

 I decided that I wanted to hack the tunic instead of the pattern and for if you are a beginner this is a great way of fitting the garment on your own body instead of playing around with pattern paper and measurements.

I have seen lots of boho gypsy style tops for Spring 2018 on the high street, I wanted to recreate the embroidered details, the relaxed fit coupled with top stitching and frills!

I loved the simple lines of the tunic and how I could change the style of it without changing the fit. Dottie Angle 1080A has three different versions to choose from and has been a best selling pattern for Simplicity patterns. I choose to make version B the shorter tunic dress style. The pattern using bias binding tape the finish all the raw edges (hemline, neckline and shoulder facings) and omits the use of facings but still gives a professional finish.

I firstly stitched up the dress, ties and tuck detail on the front panel until I got to stitching the back to the front on the pattern. I loved how the tunic had a contemporary Japanese feel with the long ties and the chambray fabric. For these photos I’ve wrapped the ties twice around me and tied at the front. This gave the design a front detail as I had taken of pockets from the original design.

I biased the neckline and top stitched the shoulder seams using a Top Stitching Thread. I tried to stitch all the top stitching in one sewing session so I didn’t have to keep changing the tension on the sewing machine. I found that changing my top tension to 7 (!) and increasing my stitch size to 4 worked for me.

Adding Gathered Sleeves

Then my tunic was ready to be hacked - 

I cut off 15cm off the bottom of the tunic and used this fabric to create a frill, this was top stitched and gathered using a long stitch on the machine. The sleeves were two scraps of fabric from cutting out the pattern measuring 65cm x 15cm. I decided at the last minute as the sleeves were a statement of the garment to leave this off but this frill would look amazing on the neckline if you left off the sleeves. Would you add a frill?

I took the “sleeve” fabric and found the centre of the panel. Then I measured the tunic sleeve / arm hole (mine was 44cm). I then pleated my sleeve at 1cm intervals either side of the centre point to create 10 pleats with a box pleat in the middle.

I then secured all the pleats with a long stitch before fitting my sleeve in and stitching the tunic sides together. This gave the tunic the large sleeve feature I wanted. It was then topstitched in white on the sleeves and hemmed.

Creating Folk Style Embroidery

As I had kept the original neckline instead of adding the frill, I added some detail with red embroidery thread. I love DMC Perle 5 as it’s so shiny and you don’t need to strand down the six strands as it comes in one low twisted skein. This means your embroidery grows quickly and it’s perfect for free hand details. I sketched my design in pencil directly onto the top (after scanning Pinterest for ideas!) and worked over it in the chunky skein to give my tunic a gypsy style folk feel. The embroidery is machine washable and can be ironed too. I love that my tunic is now totally personalised with my embroidered and frilly sleeves.

Finally, I loved the fit of the tunic and how easily the pattern went together with it’s easy to follow diagrams. This pattern has great scope to do more with it. I am already planning another hack with a longer sleeve and a smaller scoop neckline as Spring hasn’t arrived yet in the UK! I just love the fabric with its slight stretch, it’s the perfect classic denim blue and a must for this seasons chambray trend. And yes, I still love the frill but I think this would look fab without the pleated sleeve for the Summer.

Samantha blogs about sewing and DIY crafts and www.crafternoonteas.com and hosts Crafternoon Tea Parties in the Midlands, UK and beyond at www.crafternoonteahostess.co.uk.