Pattern hacks

Presto Tunic. Pretty button placket & mandarin collar. Lengthened to a dress (Love Notions).

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The Presto Tunic from Love Notions is a design that has features that you might think are a tad more time intensive to sew. However, these are the features that help grow skills, if these are new techniques for you. Use my code LPN10 for an extra 10% off.

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The Presto Tunic features a tunic length, as the name describes. One of the reasons I like this pattern so much, is that it has lovely dart shaping for the bust and waist. No boxy look here and I LOVE that. The front has an inset panel with a button placket and the neckline can be finished with a cute mandarin collar (yes please) or bias binding. The Hem is shorter on the front and longer on the back with split side seams. For even more shaping, there in an optional self fabric sash available too!

Sleeves: Lots of sleeve length options and also sleeveless. My choice is usually sleeveless and I’m glad this is a formal option in this pattern.

Possibilities: There are instructions to customized the center insets with pin tucks, in the pattern. A great option to explore if you have the patience ๐Ÿ™‚

The Presto Tunic is designed for woven fabrics and my top choices, in no particular order, would be:

  • 100% Rayon: Would be lovely to wear, but would need precautions while sewing (Stay stitching, stabilizing with fusible interfacing on the center insets and corners.)
  • Crepe: A nice choice, not to hard to work with.
  • Linen / rayon blend: Would need stay stitching galore and stabilizing with interfacing to hold the structure of the placket and collar.
  • Rayon / cotton blend: The cotton in the blend would help the structure of the placket and collar.
  • Chambray: There are softer lighter types and that would be my choice
  • Light weight Tencel twill: I’d love a lengthened version in this fabric.
  • Chiffon: yes! anything can be made with this gorgeous type of fabric.

Other fabrics can work, but are not my favorites to sew with, both for the stiffness and the look of them. Although they are very easy to sew and press:

  • Flannel: Not for me, I don’t like the feel and the prints are usually plaid and that’s a look I have never enjoyed for myself.
  • Shirting: An okay choice but too stiff and I prefer my garments to drape.
  • Cotton Lawn: Nice prints, stiff and almost always very sheer. I’d rather use chiffon for sheerness and a more delicate look.
  • Cotton Poplin: I canยดt stop associating this fabric with bed sheets.

I chose a tropical print crepe for my version.

The Presto Tunic is available in sizes XS-3XL with a bust measurement up to 49.5″ and hips up to 51.5″. This is not a fitted style and you will find 3-6″ of positive ease at the bust and about 3-5″ of positive ease at the hips.

There is a standard bust option and a full bust option. The size is chosen based on the high bust and if there is a 4 or more inch difference between the high and the full bust, the full bust option is best. No FBA needed. I sew a standard bust.

I am 5ft 8″ and Love Notions patterns are drafted for a woman of 5ft 5″.

Because I am very familiar with the brand, I know I need substantial length adjustments in diverse areas of the pattern.

My own adjustments:

  • Lowered the side bust darts to match my apex by 1″
  • Lowered the back waist darts to match my waist height
  • Added 1.5 ” length above the waist to match my torso height
  • Lengthen the tunic to dress length and an even hem. There is a 3″ length difference with the front and back hem. I added 11″on the front and 8″ on the back. This will even the hem for a dress version.

Why not tunic length?

I live in hot climate and wear skirts and shorts most of the time. A tunic length style does not suit these garments on the bottom.

I used to wear tunics in the past when I lived in countries that had proper winter and I’d wear leggings or skinny jeans with them.

I really can’t pull off the look in the summer and I’d prefer a dress I could wear on its own (bare legs).

Tunics are not a style that suits my context anymore, though I really like them!

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I did Block fusing for the plackets and the mandarin collar. This is to avoid distorting and shrinking of these pieces that need to be accurate

Contrast fabric already has interfacing fused, before cutting out pieces
Placket and collar pieces on pre-fused fabric: Block fusing.
  • I did guide stitches at 3/8″ while constructing the placket to facilitate pressing and folding under long seams accurately. These are done with a long stitch length (4.5) to facilitate their removal later.
  • I under-stitched the plackets to the center of the insets to make sure the wrong side of the crepe would never show on the outside.
  • I hand basted the placket before edge stitching, accurate and sewing pin free is amazing.
  • The corners of the center front are stabilized with interfacing and a stay stitch will reinforce the corner that will be snipped into later
  • The Center inserts need some accuracy and patience ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The Mandarin collar involved LOTS OF PINS
  • The Collar was accurately hand basted before edge stitching
  • The fabric sash: I made it! and in hindsight it should have been interfaced. The instructions do not mention interfacing, but you may need to consider it depending on fabric choice. It resulted a tad sloppy with my crepe. I made little button loops and sewed them on the side seams to keep the sash in it’s place.
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No need to fear! I have filmed the entire sewing process for the button placket, the center inset and the mandarin collar and you will see that these techniques are very doable and will give you a lot of satisfaction when you are done. Have a look at my video below:

This is a great intermediate project. The instructions are vert clear with amazing diagrams and the techniques have been simplified. This means that an adventurous beginner could accomplish this no problem! I do encourage you to stretch your skills with The Presto Tunic.

A word of advice: A solid woven fabric will showcase the lovely details best. I chose a print, but the contrast placket and collar help in highlighting the placket and collar. A full print? the details will be lost and all your beautiful sewing too.

I have an idea for the future

Make The Presto Tunic in a KNIT. YES! Here is what I would do to adapt:

  • For the main pieces I would choose a drapey knit like a rayon/spandex, modal, or low stretch ITY.
  • I would use light weight knit interfacing and fuse the entire front insets via “block fusing”
  • I would fuse the center front were the insets will be sewn to the same way as the woven version. Those little corners…. I would use WOVEN interfacing for that.
  • The placket and collar: NOT with the drapey knit… with a contrast cotton/lycra or leather look jersey. A stable structured knit that is not too heavy and the pieces would be fused with interfacing.
  • I would not size down actually.
  • I would still sew the darts

I’m excited about that!

I made the video on my YouTube channel in collaboration with my friend Kim, from Dorothy’s Daughter. She made a tunic version and talks about how to work with tricky fabrics. See her video below.

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DISCLAIMER: I was provided the pattern without cost, as a Love Notions brand ambassador. This does not influence my honest option, especially around garment construction. I Purchased my own fabric.

I have affiliate links in this post to the pattern company and the pattern. If you click on these links, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission that helps finance my sewing, blog and Youtube channel.


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4 replies »

  1. Ok, I just got this through your affiliate link ๐Ÿ™‚
    Can’t wait to make one as yours looks fabulous!!
    Loving all your makes!!!

  2. Hi Karina, I’ve been watching you on YouTube and decided to talk to you here. I tried several times to print Love Notions Laundry Day Tee I printed it but could not put it together because I didn’t understand the directions. I really don’t like using the pdf patterns because of the taping and trimming. I wanted to use them because the patterns look good and you have recommended them. I gave up after 3 times of printing it but not being able to get it together. This discourages me from trying these indie pattern companies.

    • This is a blog post with a video on how to assemble PDF patterns from Love Notions.
      Alternatively, lots of people send the A0 (big sheet) to PDF plotting to avoid sticking them together.
      I live in Brazil and Pdfs are the only way I can access sewing patterns.
      The Love Notions pattern support group on Facebook is also great support for these things.

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