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DIY: Men's XL Sweatshirts to Convertible Blouson Tunic
I love to take seemingly unfashionable, frumpy-looking garments and give them a makeover - and boxy men's sweatshirts are in dire need of some redo! The following tutorial I have adapted from the incredible book "Kakkoii Kuchu-ru Rimeeku" ("Cool Couture Remake") by Hiroko Yamase (Bunka Publishing, 2009).

The original "Button Blouse" in the book is now my "Convertible Blouson Tunic," and I've adjusted measurements for our sizing system, Western bodies, sewing notions, and I've changed the methodology here and there.

**Notes regarding sweatshirts:
*A Men's XL sweatshirt measures approximately 26" from side to side, and 30" long from side of neck to hem.
*Do not use sweatshirts with front kangaroo pocket - this will have to be removed. Style of neck does not matter (crewneck, v-neck).
*Medium-weight fleeced sweatshirts are used for this project.
*Sweatshirts can be printed on the front/back as long as you can salvage a piece of fabric 15" high, measured from hem upwards. Therefore, if there is writing on the chest or sleeves, it won't matter because we won't be using those parts. Or, if the design extends below that 15" high measurement, you will have to incorporate it into the finished project.
*Sweatshirts A and B must be exactly the same size, shape, style, and color - or else the front and back of your finished tunic will be different - which could be an interesting harlequin effect, if you will.
*Sweatshirt A MUST have no side seams unless you want a seam running down the center front of your finished tunic.
*Sweatshirt C may be smaller than XL
*You can use women's sweatshirts instead of men's for all 3 as long as you have garments that are approximately the same measurements as the men's sweatshirts below…and the sides of the sweatshirts are not tapered or "fitted" to the body. The sweatshirts need to be boxy in order to create the ruching in the finished garment.
*This is a "one-size-fits all" loose garment - on Misses' small or petite sizes it will appear oversized (so you may want to use L sweatshirts instead), and on Misses' L sizes it will appear closer to body measurements (there will still be at least several inches of ease). Women's sizes - use XXL or larger - and adjust required elastic lengths accordingly (you may want to add two or more extra buttons and buttonholes for stability at the neck).

Posted by carlyjcais from Portland, Oregon, United States • Published See carlyjcais's 60 projects »
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  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 1
    Step 1

    Cut Sweatshirts A, B, and C as below:

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 2
    Step 2

    straight across under the arms. Set aside the neck/sleeve areas (we won't be using them).

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 3
    Step 3

    Now we will call each piece we just cut Piece A, Piece B, and Piece C.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 4
    Step 4

    Cut down one side of Piece A and Piece B, and open each piece flat. These will be both the front and the back of your garment. (Piece C we'll deal with later.)

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 5
    Step 5

    (Optional: You may want to iron Piece A and Piece B at this point in order to flatten any creases that occurred along their sides - we want the center front of the garment to be as crease-free as possible.)

    Locate the center of Piece A (Center Front - referred to as CF from here on). At 4" on EITHER side Piece A's CF, mark two vertical buttonholes (large enough to accommodate your buttons), centered vertically in the ribbing area. Mark more buttonholes further outwards, spacing them 2" apart, until you have marked 10 buttonholes (5 on either side of CF). Mark Piece B in exactly the same manner for your buttons.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 6
    Step 6

    Sew the buttonholes on Piece A using your sewing machine (you will not need stabilizer on the wrong side of the fabric as long as you choose a wide enough setting for stitch width). You can determine the length of your buttonholes by measuring the diameter of your button, adding the height of your shank, and adding 1/8". (Tip: Make a practice buttonhole on some scrap fabric - or in the sleeve ribbing of one of the sweatshirts you cut up in Step 1). Test to see if your button will go through the hole and sit properly; if not, adjust accordingly.) Cut buttonholes open.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 7
    Step 7

    Hand-sew on your buttons onto Piece B at the marks you made in Step 3). Sew on all 10 buttons, and shank them by winding the thread around your stitches several times.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 8
    Step 8

    Place Piece A and Piece B right sides together, and sew side seams together with a 3/8" seam allowance. We will call this Piece A/B from here.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 9
    Step 9

    Make a double knot in the end of your round cord elastic. Place on top of the side seam on the wrong side of Piece A/B, approximately 3/8" from cut edge of the Piece.

    Using a zigzag stitch on your machine, zigzag over the cord elastic, sewing it all the way around the cut edge of Piece A/B. (Start sewing just below the knot you made in the elastic, and backstitch several times to secure.) DO NOT SEW THROUGH THE CORD ELASTIC; the elastic must remain moveable underneath the zigzagging stitches.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 10
    Step 10

    When you get all the way around the edge of Piece A/B, backstitch a few times over the cord elastic, and remove from your machine. Trim thread ends.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 11
    Step 11

    Pull on the elastic firmly and pull the fabric in the opposite direction - this will create a gathered effect. Keep gathering your fabric by pulling on the cord elastic until cut edge of Piece A/B is the same size as cut edge of Piece C.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 12
    Step 12

    Double-knot cord elastic and trim end.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 13
    Step 13

    Insert Piece C inside Piece A/B, matching cut edges, right sides together. Pin together.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 14
    Step 14

    Sew top of C to gathered bottom of A/B,

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 15
    Step 15

    sewing to the left of the line of zigzag stitches so that none will be visible on the right side of the garment.

  • Step 16

    Determine length of bottom elastic. Button all buttons on your garment, and try it on. Wrap a measuring tape around your body at the point where the bottom ribbing hits on you. Add 1" - this will be your 3/8" wide elastic length, so cut elastic accordingly.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 17
    Step 17

    Cut a small hole in bottom ribbing of Piece C on the wrong side of the garment. Attach a bodkin or safety pin to the end of the 3/8" wide elastic, and thread it through the ribbing, all the way around. Pull the other end all out the hole- and stitch the ends together overlapping about 1/2". Feed back into the hole you made - and if you're a perfectionist, hand-stitch that hole closed.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 18
    Step 18

    You're finished!

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 19
    Step 19

    This is a convertible piece - you can wear as a blouson tunic (shown above), or in the configurations below:

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 20
    Step 20

    Button-Waisted Skirt

    Undo one or two buttons on either side of the neckhole of your tunic, step into the neckhole and pull up to your waist, fastening buttons as necessary to keep it from falling down. Tuck each sleeve into itself to create drippy pockets (though you won't want to put anything in them since the sleeves are still open!). If you like, safety-pin the sleeves closed on the insides so you you don't have gaping holes in your skirt.

  • How to make a tunic dress. Convertible Blouson Tunic - Step 21
    Step 21

    Ruffle-Bottom Skirt

    Turn tunic upside-down and undo all buttons. Wear with bottom elastic as a waistband.

    It seems a huge waste of 3 sweatshirts, but if your SO has extra unworn ones or you score at the Goodwill, it gives them another great life. Can you imagine this done in cream, with gold anchor-embossed buttons for a sailor look? Or seafoam green, with pearl buttons? Or two-toned: heather gray on top with black at the waist? The options are endless...and only limited by your imagination!

    Plus-don't throw away the top parts of your sweatshirts..more tutorials on what to do with those are on the way!

    For reference purposes: I am a Misses' Small/Medium, 4/6 - I am 5'6" tall and my measurements are 33.5 - 27 - 34.5. I used two Men's XL sweatshirts for Part A/B - and for Part C I used an Men's L sweatshirt.

    Happy DIY'ing!
    xoxox
    Carly

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Comments

carlyjcais
carlyjcais · Portland, Oregon, US · 61 projects
Hi TigerLily! You are so funny! I just adapted this project from a book, so I'm not that smart.:-P I've been sewing since I was 9, but self-taught, so I've definitely got aways to go! Working with materials that are already sewn together and then just refurbishing them is alot easier than working from scratch I think!
Thanks for your comment!
xoxo
Carly
Reply
SparrowFae
SparrowFae · Carthage, Missouri, US · 41 projects
Wow, Carly, you are incredibly smart. How long have you been sewing?
Reply
carlyjcais
carlyjcais · Portland, Oregon, US · 61 projects
No problem Nhi! It turned out more sophisticated than I expected from using a bunch of old sweatshirts!Happy
Thanks for your comment!
xoxox
Carly
Reply
Nhi
Nhi
this is an amazing idea ^_^ thanks for the inspiration!
Reply
carlyjcais
carlyjcais · Portland, Oregon, US · 61 projects
DelusionalDianne: True! I shall have to try it!
Thanks for the idea!
xoxo
Carly
Reply
DelusionalDianne
DelusionalDianne · Rancho Cucamonga, California, US · 10 projects
you can also pull the skirt higher and make it a minidress Happy
Reply
mew
mew · Division No. 18, Unorganized, Saskatchewan, CA · 2 projects
dno what i'd wear with this, but I love it Happy <3
Reply