Monday, January 31, 2011

Au Bonheur des Petites Mains - Tunic with Front Tucks (TQH08002)

There has been much activity surrounding Au Bonheur patterns over on Stitcher's Guild, largely spurred on by PStarbuck (aka Peggy), and her wonderful creations. It made me want to knock out another of these fun French patterns.

I bought this tunic pattern a year or so ago. It is reminiscent of recent tunic patterns from the Big 4 that fit through the bust then flare out at the waist and feature an uneven hem. However, this one has two large tucks on the front at hip level. The front is cut much wider and longer than the back, and when the tucks are sewn in to the front, the fabric under the tucks falls in such a way as to suggest a "skirting." I have sewn tops similar to this style from the Big 4, and this one is drafted quite differently.

Which is why I like this pattern line. :)

The pattern comes in size 36-46, which is too small for me and my trusty ruler told me I'd need to add at least 10 inches at the bustline. Though there are only 3 pattern pieces, it took me longer to alter the pattern than it did to cut and sew it.


  • I widened the sleeve 2" at the bicep tapered to 3/8" at the wrist.
  • I widened the back 2" (a total of 4").
  • I applied an FBA, ending at the hip. I added a Y-dart that was 4" wide (adding 8" total). I did not sew the dart, however. I eased the fullness into the side seam.

When I visited Stone Mountain and Daughter on New Year's Day, I picked up a sweater knit from the upstairs sale room. It contained wool, mohair, and synthetic - I can't remember the exact blend, though the bolt recommended dry cleaning. I threw a small piece of it into the washer and dryer, and I liked how it softened the slightly scratchy mohair, so I threw the entire piece into a normal load. It did shrink, though I didn't measure the amount.

This fabric was a pain to sew. It is a very loose knit and it ravels. It is a fun print, but is highly unstable and stretches out like crazy. So, with the running and the instability, it required a gentle hand.

Construction Notes:

  • Before sewing the front tucks, I placed Steam a Seam Lite on the stitching line of each tuck.
  • I stabilized the shoulder seams, also with SAS Lite.
  • After my alterations, the back shoulder seam was wider than the front. I eased in some of that fullness, but I chopped the remainder off of the armscye.
  • Despite my best efforts, the neckline stretched out of shape, almost as soon as it was cut. I sewed the neckline using a strip of a black leotard-style lycra knit, turned to the inside, and then topstitched at 1/4". I then inserted a 2mm round elastic into the casing formed by the topstitching and eased the neckline back to its desired location. Note that this pattern has a fairly open neckline and I cut it a bit higher than designed.
  • I spent time fitting the top through the bust. The knit is so stretchy, that I did remove several inches from the side seam from the bust to the waist.
  • I hand sewed the hems, both the bottom hem and the sleeves.
  • I finished the seams with the serger.

I love my new Fluevog boots! I bought these during the sale in early January. :)


  1. Fantastic tunic - I love it. Another pattern to add to my next purchase. - Cat1

  2. Cute top! I love the print and the colors. Looks great! Oh, and I love your boots also!

  3. Another amazing garment. I learn so much from your posts, Shams!!

    Karen aka Karendee

  4. these are such interesting patterns. I'm glad to see them made up.

  5. This tunic is so cute, and the print is so much fun! But I'm almost sorry that it IS print, because the detail is slightly muted . . . This pattern's going on my list, too. Shams, I love your verve and your imagination!

  6. Love it. My next project is going to be one of their patterns . You may hear from me as I try to cope with the French directions . Watch my blog!!! Mem

  7. Hi Mem! I will go check out your blog, but don't forget that Stitcher's Guild has a thread on these patterns and it's a great place to post questions:,

    But I'm off to read your blog. :)

  8. I love the tunic! Your boots are awesome, too. I love Fluevog!!

    Did your felting machine come?? I wish they'd have a sale on it because I really want one too!

  9. Yes, it came last night, Arizona, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet...

  10. What an awesome top! Thank you so much for showing us your projects -- I may have to consider purchasing this one.... :)

    Yet another fan girl who found you through Vogue's Facebook posts,
    Laurie in Mpls.

  11. Love this tunic. I would like to order this pattern. The French concerns me as I have never made a pattern in another language.