Upcycled Tunic

Recently, I have seen a lot of really cool upcycled tunics and tops. I’ve wanted to try my hand at doing that, but had no idea where to start until I found Wendy Bryant’s online classroom. She has a free course “Upcycling a t-shirt or a tunic.”  I watched that class, and then purchased her “Sewing Upcycled Dresses.”

Everything I used for this project came from thrift stores. I thought you  might like to see my thinking process. It was interesting and challenging.

So I started with the base shirt that fit me in the shoulders and the bust, and cut it in half.  I had purchased this at a thrift store awhile back, and liked how it fit, but didn’t like the bottom fabric. So I took it out of my closet and the fun began.




Next I added this Chinese fabric. I bought a 2-yard piece for $2. It’s a heavier weight than the jersey, but I wanted to try it. It worked, but next time I’d use a similar weight of fabric. This fabric will work great for totes, purses, and even a jacket.




Now to audition the sides. I found this rusty colored t-shirt that matched the Chinese print. When I first went to the thrift store I bought a red t-shirt that I was sure would match the print. No, it was way too black red. So I went back to the store, and took a piece of the print with me so I could match it. Luckily that day, all of the women’s clothing was half price.




So now to decide what to put between those two side pieces. I first chose gray.




I was okay with that, and went on to audition a bottom to see what I thought.




And another one.




I decided the gray was too bland, and I wanted to try the black instead.




I liked the black, but not the bottom fabric, which was the original t-shirt bottom. Then tried this one.




Just not right. So I came up with this one, and my choice.




As I was sewing I noticed I needed to add more fabric to the sides, so I cut the sides and slipped in a piece of the gray fabric. The bottom fabric would not fit all around this tunic, so I added additional black t-shirt fabric.




And the back.




It’s not perfect, but I sure learned from this first tunic. What takes the most time is just figuring out what fabric to use where. Then trying it on at the different stages to make sure it fits. I still fought the fear of messing it up. Cutting into the shirts reminds me of how I hate to write in books! But I pushed myself. The hardest part was the bottom piece which wasn’t long enough around, and I pieced it while sewing it on the shirt. My next one, if I need to piece, I’ll piece it before adding it to the tunic.

I have quite a bit of white jersey given to me that would be lovely dyed, and then added to an existing shirt. But that’s for later on. Glad to get this project off my table and into my closet!