Recently, patterns from The Sewing Workshop have popped up on my radar. This company has been around a long time and has some funky and fun designs, but I haven’t seen a ton of their patterns sewn up (with the exception of Elaine’s Liberty shirt), nor did their pattern illustrations really catch my eye. It wasn’t until The Sewing Workshop recently shared photos of beautiful, modern samples on a variety of bodies that their patterns spoke to me…
In particular, the new San Diego pattern was calling my name. Originally (in 1999) just a jacket pattern, it was updated last year to include tunic and top variations, too. Since I’ve been leaning deep into art teacher chic territory with my style choices lately (see also Adeline, Blaire, Kim, etc.), I went for the tunic. Here is the Sewing Workshop’s description of the tunic: “loose-fitting tunic has faced overlapping front placket extending into deep front pleat, forward shoulders, angled hem and elbow-length sleeves with deep stitched hems.”
Check out the San Diego gallery here for further inspiration. I particularly love the black linen tunic on the Joan from Mad Men lookalike as well as the floral wallpaper tunic.
Size range: The San Diego pattern comes in sizes XS-XXL, up to a 46″ bust, 37″ waist, 47″ hip. While the size range for this particular pattern is not very extensive, some of the Sewing Workshop patterns are available up to a 5X. Have a look at their size charts here.
What size did you make? I cut a size L at the shoulders and bust, graded to an XL at the hip.
What are your measurements, height, and body type?
Pearish shaped. Bust: 42-43” (depending on the day!), Waist: 36”, Hip: 45.5”, Bra: 38D, Height: 5’7.5”,
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take? No adjustments besides grading out a size at the hip.
What fabric did you use?
For my wearable muslin, I used this odd, gauzy, very loosely woven cotton that I stole from my mom’s stash.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
The instructions were quite good; thorough, with plenty of diagrams. Everything went together easily for me, although I did make things difficult for myself by cutting out the tunic with the fabric right side down and pattern right side up, which switched the right and left fronts. As a result, things occasionally got confusing as the instructions are very specifically written for the other way around . My fabric didn’t help either since it frayed badly and didn’t have an obvious right or wrong side.
I was impressed with the attention to detail in the drafting like the little angled bits to ensure the seam and hem allowances true up (I’m sure there’s a name for it, but whatever it is, it’s great).
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
The fit is pretty great. I like that the shoulders and bust fit well so the tunic doesn’t swamp me. I think if you have a larger bust you might have to FBA because it could strain at the point where the pleat and collar join. I think I’m teetering on the edge of needing one.
I was also happy that I graded up at the hip. I considered skipping that, but I think the fit would have been off if I did, even if it technically was wide enough to wrap around my hips.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
Definitely! I have one planned in striped linen. I think I’ll play with the stripe direction on the front bodice (check out my sketch below… I promise the real version will be much less garish than my crude drawing suggests!).
Next time I might consider stay stitching the angled hem to make sure it doesn’t stretch out. Mine is a bit wavy, although that may be because of my fabric choice, too.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
The collar and pleat is the most difficult part, but if you take it slow and ensure you’ve accurately marked all of the dots and notches, you’ll be fine. The instructions are quite thorough, so I didn’t find I needed to consult outside resources to sew this pattern.
Size Range: 3
Construction Process: 5
Final Fit: 5
Overall Rating: 4.5
I think this is a great pattern, well-drafted with lots of interesting details and good instructions. The size range could be bigger, but otherwise I’m really happy with it! I think it’s cool and chic, as well as incredibly comfortable. I’ve already worn it three times since making it and foresee myself wearing it regularly. I’ll definitely make another one soon!