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. :)

What the Heck, UPS?

Here are the facts:

On Sunday, January 16th, I ordered a Janome Felting machine from

On Wednesday, January 19th, I received a shipping confirmation, with a tracking number for UPS.

I hoped it would arrive in 5 days or so. It was coming from Ohio to San Francisco, and this seemed reasonable.

Time dragged on and it didn't arrive. I chalked it up to the nasty weather that has been pummeling much of the country.

Finally, on Tuesday, January 25th, I dug up the tracking information and looked it up. It said that the package had arrived in San Pablo, California, the previous day, on Monday the 24th. That is a mere 30 minutes from my home, so I assumed it would arrive any minute and I started stalking my front door.

When I checked tracking the next day (or maybe it was later the same day) the only change to the status was that it had said I would receive the package on February 2nd.


How come it would take NINE days to travel 30 minutes to my house? There was no clue on the status page.

On Saturday, I checked the status page again, and saw that my package had left Hodgkins, Illinois on Friday.

Come again?

There was no departure scan from San Pablo, which suggested to me that it was scanned on arrival and then stuck on the wrong truck, or not unloaded from the truck, or something similar. But at least I now understand why they put an arrival date of February 2nd.

What the heck, UPS?

Perhaps they are not aware that I have a half finished jacket that is languishing until I have the machine in my hot little hands.

Meanwhile, I've made a top this weekend. I can't take photos until tomorrow, but I'll go write the post up now. :)