Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Sewing Circle: A lovely loose tunic

Sewing Circle again!  This time, Abby wrote me about finding a pattern for a top her sister would like.  Inspired by this pin...

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

She said:

Q: I've been thinking about making something fun for my sister. Her style is totally different from mine, and she loves loose-fitting, flowing tops as opposed to my close-fitting ones. That's actually good, because I'd like this little gift to be a surprise, and I can hardly surprise her if I'm taking measurements and having her try on muslins!

I found this beachy cover-up on her Pinterest board, and it's perfect for my ideas, but I can't seem to find a pattern for it. I love the open neck, the gathered drop skirt, and the pleating around the neckline. Also, I haven't worked with enough fabrics to be able to figure out what fabrics would work on a particular project, so I'd really appreciate a suggestion. Is this a cotton voile, or am I totally off? :)

Well, Abby...

A: That is sort of a tricky one to find a pattern for!  I didn't find anything super duper close, but I found lots of sort of close ones.  Keep in mind that it's easy to lengthen the top or the sleeves, or add the elastic band at the hips, so little details like that needn't deter you from some of them.  And there are lots of patterns that have the same attitude/look that you might like straight from the package, so look at those, too, if you go to a fabric store--but take a look at these:

This New Look one--just make version B longer and add elastic. Cut the neck more V-like if you want.

Make the sleeves longer on version D, and add elastic.

Very similar feel/concept although the shape's not identical. You could move the elastic down.

I've made this as a dress before, but in a lighter-weight fabric it would work if you made the sleeves longer... (but be warned, the neckline is very low-cut! I'd say make it less so.)

Kinda funky BurdaStyle one. Add elastic, lengthen sleeves... (And I would recommend that you don’t put in the darts at all)

A Vogue one with huge sleeves. You don't have to give it the buttons--just don't cut down the center front.

It's constructed differently, but this Butterick is similar-looking. Make the sleeves simpler and tie the neck instead of button, maybe?

Whew! See, lots of options that could be tweaked, but none are perfect.  As for fabrics, the original was probably a lightweight fine cotton like a voile, you'r right—unfortunately these are hard to find at JoAnn but they may have something seasonal for spring soon.  you can also check the shirtings.  I recommend you just find a soft, lightweight 100% cotton.

Readers, have you seen the perfect pattern?  Do you have any tips for making such a lightweight, flowy top?  Love to hear your ideas!


  1. I think this pattern is really really close:

  2. JoAnn has the Lisette cottons and I love them - light cotton lawn in a few prints. They're not with the quilting cottons, but on a separate display somewhere. Flowy, soft and not see through; I'm afraid I bought some of every style last time I went in. At least they were on sale!

  3. OMG, Julie, thanks, V1226 would be nearly perfect!

    And @Melissa, you're right, those Lisette fabrics would be just lovely. They even capture the bright color, vacation-ey feel! They're usually sold up front with apparel fabrics.

  4. Anonymous1/24/2012

    This one is a possibility too, McCalls 6509:

  5. @Anonymous, that McCall's would be great, too! Just adding a casing/band of elastic around the hips.

  6. Thank you all so much for your suggestions! Julie and Ananymous, those patterns are super close as well. Melissa, I bought one of the Lisette cottons last season, and you're right; they'd probably be perfect for this. I'll have to look at the spring collection!

  7. Anonymous1/27/2012

    Brand new Simplity New Look #6110


  8. Anonymous2/04/2012

    I used the New look pattern last summer making a few tops, a and d, for myself and two teen daughters....we love loose flowing tops when its 100 outside !!! We lived in them so comfy yet super cute.




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