Spring is finally here and I want to celebrate with an embroidered tunic. I want a shirt that’s somewhat light, airy, and fun to accompany my mood (I’m not a winter person and am celebrating the warmer, longer days). I’m thinking a boxy shape, 3/4 length sleeves, with a deep v-neck in the front. It will be a longer tunic, with the sides split up to the waist. For the color, I’m thinking off-white with some fancy stitching around the edges. Sound good? Let’s get sewing!
My New Year’s resolution was to use some of the more fancy stitches on my sewing machine. That is where the idea for this embroidered tunic stemmed from. I also want this tunic to have a slight bohemian look to it. I’m envisioning wearing it as a layering piece. For that reason, I’m going to make the v-neck in the front very deep, with the intention of needing to wear a tank top below it. Here’s my initial sketch…
- 1½ yards of knit fabric
- matching thread
- two spools of contrasting thread
- comfy shirt to use as a guide
Embroidered Tunic Tutorial
1. Lay out the comfy shirt that you’re using as a guide onto your fabric so that the stretch goes from side to side. Tuck the arms in, and adding your desired seam allowance, lets do some tracing. Trace around the shoulders, neckline, and arm openings. Now, instead of making the shirt form fitting, we’re going to keep it loose. So make a straight line from the bottom of the armpits down each side to the desired shirt length. I gave mine a slight flare and made it a bit longer than my shirt guide. Draw a line across the bottom of the shirt. Cut this out. Fold it in half and trim as needed to make sure that the shirt is even on both sides. This will be the back of the shirt.
Make a second copy of the shirt panel, fold it in half, and cut the neckline to make a deep v-neck. This is the front of the shirt.
2. Now we will make the sleeves. Fold your fabric in half. Trace around the arm opening on one of your shirt panels so that the top of the arm opening lines up with the fold of the material. Extend the sleeve to your desired length. I’m going to make mine a 3/4 length sleeve with a little bit of flare toward the end. Cut this out, open it up, and you have your soon-to-be embroidered tunic sleeve. Make two sleeves.
3. Use your necklines and make a pair of neckline linings 1¾” wide; one for the front neckline and one for the back necline. Make sure that the stretch of the fabric goes from side to side for the neckline linings. We’re going to need to stretch them later.
4. Now, onto sewing! Right sides together, pin then sew your shirt panels across both shoulders.
5. Right sides together, pin then sew the top of your sleeves to the armholes of the tunic.
6. Now, pin and sew from the bottom edge of your sleeve, down your arm, around your armpits, and down the sides of the shirt stopping at the location of your waist.
7. Next, the neckline. Right sides together, sew your front and back neckline lining pieces together. When you open it up, it should look like this.
Right sides together, pin and sew your neckline lining to the neckline of your shirt. Your lining should be slightly smaller then your neckline, so gently stretch it as you sew.
Now tuck your neckling lining into the neckline of your shirt. Sew this in place using a wide, straight stitch.
8. Hem your sleeves. I’m going to do a rolled hem and fold it in twice before I sew it. Now hem the bottom of your shirt.
9. For the final and most crucial step of our Embroidered tunic tutorial…we finally get to do the embroidery! Using a different colored thread, sew a line of the decorative stitching of your choice around the neckline, the sleeves, and the bottom of your shirt. I will do two different decorative stitches with two different colors. Take your time with this as the mistakes will be a lot more evident. But don’t sweat it too much. No matter what happens, your sewing maching will likely screw up a little and make some visible imperfections. Wear them with pride!