Before I found the Sis Boom Sophie Tunic pattern I spent ages searching for a pattern for a simple, long-sleeved sun cover-up for toddlers. I was amazed how few there are out there! Most long-sleeved toddler tops are made out of knit fabric, but I wanted the cover-up to be made from thin, breezy cotton lawn so it would be super comfy in the heat. I’m not super worried about the sun, as I know a good dose of sunshine is good for the little ‘uns. But I’d much rather Eva was dressed sensibly so she can play outside without me worrying too much about sunburn, and I much prefer it to exposing all of her skin and slathering suncream on her instead. Pah!
Anyways, unfortunately I don’t have any really good full frontal pictures of the top as it’s pretty hard to get a 1 year old to stay still in an upright position. However the pattern came out really beautifully and I love the finished result.
The Pattern Description: The Sophie Tunic is a cool, classic top for girls sized 6/12 months to 11/12 years. It is simple to sew, and a great way to showcase stunning fabrics. With a range of sleeve and length options, there are design possibilities for all seasons. A stylish tunic can be worn with jeans or leggings for casual fun, or paired with a pretty skirt for a dressier look. A long tunic makes the perfect cover-up for lounging by the pool or walking on the beach. Three separate sleeve patterns are provided for each size: a short sleeve, a long sleeve, and a cuffed sleeve. The short sleeve has an additional cutting line for cap length. The long and cuffed sleeves have multiple cutting lines to make a range of lengths from ¾ to full. The keyhole neckline is finished with a facing, which can be made from a contrasting fabric and placed on outside of the garment. Sweet ribbon ties or a little button/loop fastener can be added as well.
Did the pattern turn out like the picture or drawing? Yes it did. The detailed instructions include illustrations that demonstrate what the finished sleeve and tunic lengths will look like for different sizes, which is a lovely, very thoughtful feature. It meant the tunic length and sleeve length I chose for Eva were spot on.
I used a really stunning, soft, buttery cotton lawn by Liberty which worked really well with the pattern – much more drapey and fluid than if I’d used quilting cotton. You can buy the fabric here at Sewbox. I can’t rate Liberty tana lawn highly enough; it feels so indulgently luxurious to work with. Saying that, it was harder to sew cotton lawn than I was expecting, as the fabric is pretty thin and prone to a little distortion if you don’t guide it through the machine carefully. It’s not hugely difficult though, and should be fine even for a beginner. It was just something that caught me by surprise, never having sewn with cotton lawn before. And it’s still way easier than most dressmaking fabrics – just a little bit trickier than your standard, mediumweight quilting cottons.
What level of difficulty is the pattern? Are any particular sewing techniques used? The pattern is super easy. The instructions are extremely clear with helpful photographs to illustrate each step. The techniques used are all very simple, yet the pattern still includes definitions and instructions for all of them – topstitching, edgestitching, narrow folds, backstitching and zigzag finishing. The pattern also uses a facing around the neckline and the instructions take you through this very clearly too.
It also comes with a folding template which you can print on to card and then use as a guide to help you fold the hem. This is another feature I have never seen before in a pattern but which is a brilliant idea and saved me a lot of time as I could skip the measuring and pinning stage for the hem.
Did you make any alterations or modifications? No, none at all. Little E is 14 months old and I made the size 18m-2y with a tunic length of 16″ and a sleeve length of 11″.
As expected, it is quite roomy, which I see as a good thing so she’ll get plenty of wear out of it. However, her head only just fits through the neck opening! Argh! I am hoping the rest of her body will grow faster than her head, otherwise she might not be able to wear it for too much longer. I was surprised the neck opening sizes up so small, though it may also be that little E has a frightfully large head – quite possible given that both her mummy and daddy do (I speak for the packaging, not the contents ). When I make the pattern again I’ll have to widen up the opening. I’d also probably add some embellishments for a bit of fun, and to add interest.
I should have measured her head so that I can give you the information in case you decide to sew up this pattern too. But of course I am writing this review while she is napping, so no can do, unfortunately. I’ll add a postscript if I remember to measure her head size when she wakes up.
How long did it take to sew? Despite the pattern being so simple, it still took me longer than I was expecting, and I am not quite sure why that is – overall I think I spent about 4-5 hours on it, from printing the instructions and pattern, cutting out, and sewing it up. I suspect I was just being very slow. And remember, I was sewing it up in 30 minute blocks of time, so maybe that slowed me down a bit. Next time I make it I will keep a closer eye on the clock to see how long it takes, as I feel it should be doable in a couple of hours really.
Will you make it again? Do you recommend it? Yes, absolutely, on both fronts. I think this will become a staple in little E’s summer wardrobe! However, I did have three minor irritations with the pattern.
- When it comes to marking the facing, they ask you to mark a V-shaped stitching line at the centre of the facing (where the V of the neck is) and it’s quite difficult to do this accurately without a geometry set. I feel the pattern could easily have come with this stitching line already marked on the pieces, and I don’t really understand why they didn’t.
- The seam allowances are only 1/4″. This didn’t cause any problems for me but I like to know I have some spare room to play with, just in case.
- The pattern supposedly provides a fabric layout guide, but it made no sense to me! All the pieces are to be cut on a fold yet the diagram shows them laid out flat, no fold in sight. I just worked out a layout that worked for me and ignored their diagram.
These three issues aside, I still recommend the pattern as a “go-to summer essential” for little girls. The instructions are super clear and it’s refreshing to see step-by-step photographs instead of sparse illustrations. And with the handy drawings of the sleeve and tunic length variations, you pretty much know what you’re going to get with this pattern.
Conclusion: Definitely feeling the love for the Sophie Tunic. It’s not the most exciting of tops, granted, but sometimes designers forget that we also need basics for our little kiddies, and as I said at the beginning, I searched for a long time for a sewing pattern for a simple tunic top like this.
It’s a super basic for everyday wear, and also offers fantastic value… the sizes range from 6 months to 12 years, and when you combine that with the different sleeve lengths (from cap sleeves to full sleeves), different tunic lengths, and the ability to stitch the facing on the inside or on the outside as a contrast, you have a huge amount of options for sewing a variety of tops. This won’t be the last time you’ll see one of these on little E!