It's April and we're expecting snow tonight. Have we switched hemispheres? Nevertheless, I am sewing with visions of warm sunny days. And for those warm sunny days to come, I imagine sitting in the shade with a light breeze flowing through the air, enjoying a light beverage with friends. Just close your eyes and you can imagine too. What would you be wearing? Well, I love a dramatic asymmetrical tunic made of the softest linen. As luck would have it, I found just the fabric in the "As Is" section in Fabric Mart's sales category. With just some irregular dye marks on the selvage, it was marked down, but still completely usable. It started out as a solid color, but I did an ombre dip dye process to get this look- more on that later!
For my pattern, I chose Vogue 9305, a tunic with a shaped hemline, and two styles of pants (I didn't make the pants). This pattern must be the biggest bang for your time possible. The tunic went together so quickly- that little flounce on the front hem is deceptively simple- you would think that there was some very tricky construction, but it's just a short seam sewing the lower side section to the upper section, and then the rest is narrow hemming. Sometimes, fabrics are difficult to narrow hem on a curve, but this linen behaved beautifully. It really was a joy to work with.
I lowered the neckline by 2 inches, using a french curve to make sure that it had a nice rounded shape. That allowed me to slip the tunic over my head and not worry about fiddling with a button closure in the back. I also lengthened the tunic 1-1/2" for my 5'9" height, but I'm not sure that was necessary- it's very long as is! I particularly like how the side piece falls when sitting.
I liked it, but in the photos, it reminded me a bit of a hospital dressing gown, and I said "No, no, no,no, no!" So, I mixed up just about a tablespoon of liquid navy dye and 1/3 cup of salt in some hot water in a 5 gallon bucket. I sectioned the tunic into 4 sections using rubber bands. I first wet the fabric with hot water, so that it would dye more evenly. Then, I dipped the first section into the dye, and cut the rubber band off for it's section, swirling the section around in the dye for about 3 minutes. Then I did the next section for about 2 minutes, and then the third section for about 1 minute. Just to clarify- the previous sections stayed in the dye while I did the new sections, so total time for the first section would be about 6 minutes, the second section about 3 minutes. Usually they recommend that you dye things for up to 30 minutes, but I really wanted just a very faint color here, and that's why I shortened the time. The last section is very light- here's a close-up so that you can see it. I did not dye the top section, but covered it with a plastic bag, so that if anything splashed up on it, it would be protected.
Then I rinsed, and washed the whole garment, hoping for the best. So the texture you see here is of washed linen, with no pressing. Slightly crumpled- but that's fine for me- I think it makes it look more interesting. Here's the back and side views.
I love the result, and am so happy that I tried it! Have you started sewing yet for warmer weather? Linen is great for warmer weather as it breathes so well and it resists odors. It's hard to find in ready to wear clothes, and usually expensive if you do find it. If you haven't tried sewing with linen yet, definitely give it a try!