Grey Silk Tunic, Part 2.Manipulating the Pattern

We move ahead in replicating the grey (or gray) ready-to-wear silk tunic, mentioned in the last post.  I’m lifting, so to speak, the “bones” of a pattern and using that information to make something quite different from original intentions by the pattern company. Same bones, but such a different look!  Colette Pattern Company’s Sencha Blouse is one such pattern, which I’ve used as it was designed years ago. Then, loosened it up and created two different looks in later years. In today’s post, I’ll go through how the shoulder seam was moved a few inches to the back.

The steps are simple. I created a template of the top changes only, which can be pinned to the original tissue when using it. I didn’t feel the need to trace the whole pattern.

  • I chose view one.To begin, know that the tucks in our hack will be left unsewn.
  • The back opening is turned in at center back, so we’re cutting both back and front on a fold. The tunic will be loose enough to go over the head.
  • Moving the shoulder seam 3 inches down the back: On the back pattern piece, draw a line to determine the new shoulder (or yoke) seam, starting approx. 3 inches below the neck/shoulder point, and ending approximately 3-4 inches below the shoulder point.
  • Place front and back flat pattern pieces together at the shoulder seam, over pattern paper.
  • Fold under the new, slanted shoulder seam on the back, revealing the paper underneath. Trace the seamline on to the paper below. This also forms the extension of the front shoulder to the back.  Then, using a French curve, make this line a gentle curve – or leave it straight.  We’ll add seam allowances to this seamline later on the front and back. Can you see the dark dots on the original front shoulder? Those are the real shoulder line (previously a seam).


  • Merge the front shoulder extension:  Trace around the front (dropped) sleeve edge and curve towards the back to merge where the horizontal/curved line ends on the back sleeve edge.
  • Trace the back and front necklines and a little of the center back and center front. We’re attempting to make a template for the changes, rather than trace the entire pattern.  I REPEAT: The shoulder seam has been moved, but the previous, now-invisible shoulder line still sits on your shoulder.
  • Cut apart the paper underneath on the new, curved shoulder seam. Photo: Note the reminder to add 5/8″ seams to each edge.


  • Sorry to say this but to add seam allowances to the new edge, you have to trace the template again. So, more tracing and adding 5/8″ to the new edges, as I’ve done below.


  • Changing to a V neck: Fold back the center front corner at the neckline, creating a smooth line from the neck point (not the new seam) to about 4 inches down from said neck point (includes 5/8” seam, so the 4 inches is not written in stone. You’ll judge how far below your V can go). Pin back the folded paper. This is your V neck.


  • Create facings to align with the new V front and back neck.  I’ve placed the facings weirdly in the picture due to lack of photography skills. But you get the “picture”….


This is how you move a shoulder seam of a dropped shoulder toward the back. Do you know of a better way? Please, share!

Next time, I’m hoping to present the finished grey silk tunic.

I’m accustomed to spelling it “grey” rather than “gray”. Just found out that I’m spelling it the British way. Ok, cool.


6 thoughts on “Grey Silk Tunic, Part 2.Manipulating the Pattern

  1. I really like the way the shoulder looks on your tunic. As far as I can recall, I’ve never worn anything with the shoulder seam towards the back. It’s a nice look that certainly makes the top more interesting.


    1. Thank you, Janine! This kind of shoulder seam seems to be a mini-trend right now. I saw it a couple of places. It’s just a twist to a straight forward tunic, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful way you have chosen to create this very elegant top! How creative and inspiring of you to show all of us how to do it, as well.
    Modern, sophisticated, urbane and very cool top. I’m sure your daughter loves it, Samina!


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