Home > Tops > My Kind of Tunic: Vogue 8854

My Kind of Tunic: Vogue 8854

A lot of people have complained about the un-inspirational drawing on this envelope. Not me! As soon as I saw it, I knew this pattern was made for me.  It’s taken months to sew it up, but my first reaction was right: Here’s my new favorite garment: A sweatshirt for grown-ups!

I made this tunic out of three men’s sweatshirts, largely because I couldn’t find a color I liked in yardage I could purchase.

This tunic has great shaping, but the best feature is that collar — it’s fantastic in a way that is only hinted on the pattern envelope!  It’s buttoned and folded down, above.

Isn’t that great?  But wait, there’s more! Here’s the collar worn up:

and here it is worn open:

I love, love. love this tunic! All the comfort of a sweatshirt, with none of the ugly! It’s also extremely easy to make, especially if you ignore Vogue’s directions.  Here’s a list of what I did differently, and what changes I made:

  • I made a size S(mall), but altered the shoulder line, which was too horizontal for my body.
  • Because I cut this pattern from three sweatshirts, I had to slash  the pattern horizontally to fit the pieces, and draft two new lower pattern pieces, one for the lower front and one for the lower back.  I could have cut the lower front on a fold, but I cut two separate pieces and seamed them instead, so that the original vertical seam line was preserved below the pocket.
  • The new lower back piece was cut on a fold, like the upper back.
  • I enlarged the pocket, making it wider. I didn’t like the proportions on the pattern pocket as much as I wanted to, and my pockets need to work, meaning this one had to be big enough to use.
  • I stitched higher up the pocket opening line than Vogue suggests.  As noted above, my pockets need to work. I wanted to be sure anything tucked inside wasn’t going to fall out easily.  If you do this, make sure that your hand fits into the opening!
  • I finished the sleeves with the original ribbing from the sweatshirts.  I love cuffs on sweatshirt sleeves, so this was a no-brainer for me. Using the sweatshirt cuffs meant that the ribbing matches perfectly; that would have been hard to do if I’d tried to buy it separately
  • I eliminated the curve at the hem.  I don’t much like the look, and I wanted this to be more tunic/dress like than tunic/shirt like.
  • I edge-stitched everywhere, so I didn’t follow Vogue’s directions for stitching the plackets. There was no reason not to, I just prefer the edge-stitching.  Arguably, Vogue’s stitching on the collar (about an inch in from the edge) is more refined-looking.

I pretty much ignored Vogue’s instructions, which seem increasingly ridiculous and out-of-touch.  There’s no good reason to sew the shoulder seams before doing the front plackets; all that does is ensure that you’re hauling around a ton of extra fabric while working with the plackets.

Also, why would anyone set the sleeves into the armhole on a garment so perfectly suited for sewing them in flat?  I ignored this, too.

However, I did interface the collar, which I normally wouldn’t have done when sewing with sweatshirting. The interfacing gives it enough body to keep its shape.  New sewists don’t need to fret:  the collar is just a rectangle, so it’s easy to handle.

My loop is grosgrain, rather than self-fabric; I just happened to have the perfect color on hand, and like the crispness of the ribbon.  I was lucky to find a coordinated button, too.

Heres’s the back view. It’s a little flat, here on the dummy, without the arms, and the shaping of the sides of the tunic gets lost a bit.  But in real life it fits very nicely, with a little bit of a retro vibe in spite of its generally classic look.

This is a very quick sew (if you don’t need to make new pattern pieces, that is!) that no one need fear.  I’ve got another one in the pipeline, and I have a feeling this will become a favorite for years to come.  Easy to sew and easy to wear — what could be better?

It’s been a long time since I blogged here — five months, to be exact. Bad blogger!  I have been sewing, but my life, for better or worse, isn’t just sewing, so I haven’t been writing up the projects. Maybe I’ll catch up, or maybe I’ll just continue to post here now and then . . . time will tell.  At the moment, I don’t have a clue!

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  1. April 10th, 2013 at 19:02 | #1

    This top is awesome. Vogue needs you on their staff.

    Thanks for the great review.

  2. March 17th, 2013 at 06:02 | #2

    I liked that pattern too, but it looked too warm (menopause central here), I rarely even wear long sleeves.

    Brilliant idea to make it in sweatshirt fabric, how do you think it would be made in fleece? I have a friend who would love this.

    • March 17th, 2013 at 08:42 | #3

      Fleece should be great, Elle, providing the warmth isn’t a problem! Oddly, the only fabrics that I suspect wouldn’t be so good for this pattern are ones like that Vogue used in their photograph: something light and thin. I thought Vogue’s sleevless version in woven cotton looked pretty awful; I think this pattern needs material with a bit of substance to it.

  3. March 5th, 2013 at 11:33 | #4

    This is great! I like the versatility of the collar; much more sophisticated than your standard sweatshirt.

    • March 5th, 2013 at 16:33 | #5

      Thanks, Trena — I’m feeling undying gratitude to Vogue for allowing me to live in sweats, without precisely looking as if that’s what I’m doing . . .

  4. March 2nd, 2013 at 11:33 | #6

    It looks fabulous. Love it. I confess to not being inspired by the envelope picture.

    • March 2nd, 2013 at 18:13 | #7

      Thanks, Elizabeth — yeah, that envelope is kind of underwhelming.

  5. March 2nd, 2013 at 01:11 | #8

    I like your take on this top.

  6. March 1st, 2013 at 23:43 | #10

    also, what cult is the woman in the purple hooded shirt on the pattern envelope joining??

    • March 2nd, 2013 at 18:10 | #11

      Funny, Kyle! I’m with you — I am just not feeling that hood, especially when the collar is soooo good.

  7. March 1st, 2013 at 23:42 | #12

    Noile! You’re back! I was just thinking about you the other day while using my rolled hem foot! As I recall, YOU were the inspiration for me getting that foot and using it. I am finally able to use it on curves now too! yay!
    Anyway, your shirt looks waaaay better than the pattern envelope, and I like the cleverness of using 3 sweatshirts to get the color you wanted.

    • March 2nd, 2013 at 18:06 | #13

      Hi, Kyle! It makes me so happy that you’re so excited about your rolled hem foot! The more I play around with my accessory feet, the more surprised I am at how useful they are — who knew?? Thanks for the kind words about the tunic; I’m already wearing it to death. I may need to go sweatshirt hunting this weekend.

  8. Dilliander
    March 1st, 2013 at 16:28 | #14

    Its fabulous Noile! This pattern appealed to me too and is top of the pile for when our Aussie weather cools a bit 🙂 thanks for such a helpful review, the sweatshirts were a great idea and the colour is tdf.

    • March 1st, 2013 at 16:52 | #15

      I’m wearing it today, Dillander, and loving it — it’s so comfortable, and I feel spiffy instead of slobby. Also appreciating the range of colors offered in sweatshirts these days!

  9. Louise
    March 1st, 2013 at 13:41 | #16

    I passed this one by because it looked too structured for me, but your version has totally converted me!

    • March 1st, 2013 at 15:06 | #17

      The sweatshirting made all the difference, Louise. This pattern would be really great in a whole variety of fabrics, I think. It’s well worth experimenting with!

  10. March 1st, 2013 at 12:48 | #18

    Woo hoo, you’re back! I missed your voice and aesthetic.

    This is fabulous and pumpkin orange is my favorite and so hard to find fabric that color. I agree, I would not have given that pattern a second look but now…

    I hope you continue to post here, even sporadically, because I like to see what you do next.

    • March 1st, 2013 at 15:05 | #19

      Aww, thanks, lsa! I wish Vogue had done a better job on that pattern envelope (and made a better choice for the photo in the catalog), because this pattern really is a gem in disguise.

  11. March 1st, 2013 at 11:41 | #20

    Love your version of this! I am planning on making the one with the hood, but I’m going to cut up a waffle weave skirt and top I have for the fabric. I just hope mine turns out half as cute as yours:)

    • March 1st, 2013 at 11:45 | #21

      Love the idea of re-purposing your skirt and top, Angela — not to mention that this tunic would be great in a waffle weave!

  12. March 1st, 2013 at 11:41 | #22

    Thank you for an excellent review! I’ve seen the made up, and you’ve reminded me to put it on top of my ToDoList (before the weather gets too warm)

    Love all the changes you made!

    • March 1st, 2013 at 11:44 | #23

      It’s a perfect JillyBe pattern . . . I can’t wait to see what yours looks like!

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