We have moved past the halfway point with my pattern review and comparison of four different women’s popover tunics. Today is all about the Liesl + Co. Gallery Tunic. I’ve already completed the individual reviews of the Hey June Cheyenne and Itch to Stitch Mila. Once I’ve sewn and reviewed all four I’ll have a comparison post similar to the one I did for free women’s leggings.
Pattern Details: The Gallery Tunic is for women’s sizes 0 through 20, or 32.5″ to 46″ bust. There are two views. View A is a tunic length with cuffed 3/4 length sleeves and a one-piece collar. View B is dress length with button-cuff full length sleeves, a band collar and optional inseam pockets. I made a mix of the two views – tunic length with the band collar and button-cuff full length sleeves in a size 16 based on my measurements: 40″ upper bust, 42″ full bust, 36″ waist, 39″ high hip, 42″ full hip.
My muslin for the Gallery gave me information to make a 1″ FBA and a pretty significant forward shoulder adjustment. The front and back armscyes of the Gallery are symmetrical which I find unusual for a shirt this style, even if the fit is relaxed.
*Edited to add: A comment made me recognize that I may not have needed an FBA. For fitting it’s recommended to adjust from the top down, so my forward shoulder adjustment may have addressed the lines I saw from the bust to shoulder. The reason I didn’t catch this is that I didn’t identify the need for the forward shoulder adjustment until I took my photos – it’s difficult to see the side alignment in the mirror. I had already made my FBA on my pattern by this time and I forgot that I should try it with only the shoulder adjustment first to see if it was truly necessary.
Drafting: Grade A. All the notches, drill holes, labels, grainlines, etc. are very clear and where needed, right down to alignment marks and a notch on the pocket – and lengthen/shorten lines. There are text size labels throughout. The grading is even for most pieces, which means the steps between sizes is the same, but there does appear to be a separate grouping for the smaller and larger body widths with greater steps between the larger sizes. There are separate guides for the placket and button/buttonhole placement on the cuff.
I like how simple the placket/facing was to sew and my result is good. It’s not the prettiest thing on the inside as it’s a Y-shaped piece that is serged, pressed and edgestitched vs. a fully enclosed tower (as on the Mila) or shaped placket (as on the Cheyenne). I’m not sure I’m in love the the asymmetrical pleat it makes – too much Accountant in me, maybe? That pleat also wanted to blouse out which you’ll see in a few photos.
The finishing of the cuff is another odd spot. Instead of a tower placket or a continuous bound placket, the instructions for the Gallery are to stay stitch a vertical line parallel to the sleeve hem, snip up to the staystitching, fold and edgetitch this bit in place. Then the cuff encloses the parts not folded. It works but I had tiny corners that weren’t enclosed or finished and I don’t see how that could be avoided.
In contrast, the collar is a thing of construction beauty. the collar facing is handstitched, a process that I appreciate and enjoy both for the experience and the result. By hand sewing, you can mold the collar and place each stitch with intention. And it really doesn’t take that long – perfect for a little television time. You can certainly sew by machine if that’s your preference and I think there were links to tips for machine stitching the collar in the tutorial.
The instructions in the pattern are clear technical drawings. This is my preference and I didn’t need to reference anything outside of the tutorial. There is a sew-along on the Oliver + S Forum with full-color photos if that’s more your style.
The rest of the seams are serged or hemmed. I like the deep shaping of the shirttail hem, and the back is slightly longer than the front.
I think I prefer a yoke on the back of this type of shirt. This is an inverted box pleat and is sewn down for a couple of inches – then opening up high on my back. I believe this is just a slight mismatch between my body type and the pattern so take that observation as you will. The slight hangup and pooling of fabric on my rear is due to my swayback but I didn’t address this on any of the patterns I’m comparing.
Because there seemed to be a lot of volume in my Gallery Tunic, I tried belting it to see if I liked it styled that way. It gave a different look, but then was blousing out above and below. I think it will look cute with a slouchy v-neck sweater as well. I have to take responsibility for a little bit of the volume as I did add some width to the front with my full bust adjustment.
On the topic of the FBA, I made it according to the instructions included in the pattern, and drew my dart to end about an inch away from my apex as drawn on the pattern. But when I tried on my in-progress tunic the darts were precisely over my nipples. I don’t know what went amiss – did I draft the adjustment incorrectly or the instructions didn’t take the front pleat into account? I did learn that you can partially unpick darts and successfully give them a new ending point. I know there are proponents of curved darts and that’s pretty much what I arrived at for my Gallery.
While I don’t think the Gallery is my favorite of the popover tunics I’ve sewn I’ll most certainly wear it and I would recommend it with the comments I’ve made in mind. I’m curious about what I would call a mismatch in the finishing techniques on the Gallery Tunic – the inset placket and unusual finish on the cuff seem like they’re meant to appeal to newer sewists, while the collar is more in line with what I expect from Liesl (Both Oliver + S and Liesl + Co.). The difficulty rating is two out of four.
I think in a fabric with more drape or on a less busty frame this would be more flattering. I did my best to arrange it to lay nicely for photos, but it is fairly voluminous. This is voile and is one of the recommended fabrics on the pattern. Also worth noting is that I cut my fabric on the cross-grain so the darker bands of the design ran vertically.