DIY Beginner Fashion: Spice Up Your Summer Clothes with ONE Pattern Piece

Looking to add some appeal to your summer wardrobe? With this simple pattern piece, even beginners can create a gathered, puckering look along the side seam of a jersey or knit summer skort, skirt, dress, crop pant, or shorts. Whether you’re looking to spruce up an existing piece of clothing or start a new sewing project from scratch, this easy-to-use and FAST pattern is the perfect addition to any bottom hemline garment.

We love using this construction to add a little sex appeal to our Buenos Aires Jersey Beach Dress pattern, which includes the letter sized and A4 pattern, full instructions and 3 short videos.  It is just one of the 125+ sewing patterns available in our sales offer at Sewing Pattern Secrets. Of course, you can always make the dress without the tunnel as well.

Here's what you'll need for supplies:

We created strings from the dress fabric using a tube method.  Our fabric had 5% spandex and so it created great cords.

Step 1 - Side Seams First

Attach front to back pattern pieces first. As long as any pockets or darts are not obstructing the side seam, you will be able to place the pattern piece for the tunnel as high up as you like

Step 2 - Complete the Hem

If you are using an existing piece of clothing, even better!

If you are sewing a new project, complete the hem around the bottom as will suit your fabric.

In our case, we are using a stable jersey, which best suits this tunnel construction. Beginners should be very careful to test their fabric for the hem seam before construction of the garment to make sure it does not curl. If it curls, you might use techniques to prevent curling, or just go with it and even try to create waves along the bottom as part of the design.

Step 3 - Construct the Tunnel Pattern Piece

Construct a tunnel pattern piece long enough to go from the starting point to the top of the bottom of the hem and to include a seam allowance of 3/8″ to allow you to fold over and finish the edge of the tunnel with either a serger or a finished edge appropriate for your fabric. You want it shorter than the overall length of the garment and it will stop (not longer than) before the finished hem line on the wrong side of the fabric.

Beginner Sewing - Tunnel

Step 4 - Finish the Edges of the Tunnel Pattern Piece

Finish the edges of the tunnel pattern piece by serging around the tunnel piece or folding around 3/8 of the sides if you do not have a serger and iron down. Stitch the edges all around the piece with a stretch or zz stitch appropriate for your fabric.

Step 5 - Attach the Tunnel to the Strings

Pin together and stitch together the top of the strings to the top of the tunnel piece.  Making sure the strings are not peaking through the bottom very far, as they will be seen when the garment is relaxed.

Step 6 - Align the Tunnel to the Garment

Wrong sides of the garment at the side seam. Align the tunnel string combo to the top and position in place, making sure that the bottom of the tunnel doesn’t peak through the bottom of the finished hem.

Step 7 - Attach/Top Stitch the Short top end of the pattern piece to the top of the garment.

On the Wrong Side of the Garment:  Sew the tunnel to the garment at the short horizontal end,  Just one line of stitching.  Short Stitches.

Pattern instructions

CONCEPT: String Placement and Tunnel Center Seam

You will be working right to left.  Stitch/attach the tunnel to the garment along the right lateral side, adjust the right hand string to be tight against the right side.  Pin the string away from the center of the tunnel piece, as you are going to make the string encased (sandwiched) inside by/when creating the center seam.  

After you create the center seam you are going to ensure the left hand string is tight against the center, so that you don’t catch it when you sew the left hand lateral.  

Then you will attach/topstitch the left lateral side of the tunnel to the garment.

Side Pull Pattern Piece

Step 8 - Pin Down and Sew the Tunnel to the Dress

On the wrong side of the garment, pin down one side of the tunnel to the dress, carefully avoiding the strings to prevent them getting caught when you sew.

Then, Sew Down the Right Hand Side attaching the tunnel piece to the garment.

Adjust right hand string to the right.

Top Stitch Center Seam

Adjust left hand string to center.

Top Stitch Left hand edge of the tunnel to the garment.

Step 9 - Adjust the String as You Like

Adjust as you like by pulling the string.

Purchase our 125+ Sewing Patterns, Instructions, and Video Tutorials at Sewing Pattern Secrets, while this offer is still being offered in a bundle.  

This simple pattern piece can be added to any summer garment to create a unique, personalized look. Experiment with different fabrics and patterns to see what works best for you. With these easy steps, you’ll be able to create a stunning piece that will become a staple in your summer wardrobe.

Marjorie Vaudreuil

HI. I'M MARGIE I love creating and creations of all kinds! I love Jesus, I love my family and I love to teach! That's what makes life exciting for me and that is why I have so much to share with you. I am founder and owner of SewingPatternSecrets LLC, based in Boston, MA. I am a writer and an avid sewist with a background in fine art and design from New England School of Art and Design, Boston. Sewing Patterns Secrets was conceived with my husband (my #1 supporter), inspired partly from my grandmother, but largely inspired by my mother, who passed in 2017. She supported many decades of my artistry, including, but not limited to, sewing. Whilst my mother was indeed, an important benefactor, my husband has unfailingly supported all of my endeavours and is the Director of Sales. As the Product and Project Director, I conceptualized, developed, produced, tested, and edited all of the 125+ curated sewing patterns, instructions and ebooks, using my decades of experience. I managed a team of fashion designers to help me with the 3D software and production. I and three other master seamstresses, vector artists, graphic designers, and one amazing fashion illustrator. Production took two solid years of detail and hard work and another six months of sales funnel creation. I give thanks to: Fer, Rima, Oksana, Debbie, Kathreen, Suanne, Elizabeth, Jacki, Bronwen, Kimberly, and the many others who contributed. As such, I am gifted with the ability to share with you my expertise and everything that I have learned along the way, as relates not only sewing, but to project and product creation and all areas of design: web, graphic, fashion, pattern and product creation. This would include 10s of software, marketing and SEO tools, affiliate marketing and so much more. All you have to do is ask! In addition to writing all of the ebooks for Sewing Pattern Secrets, I am also the main writer of this blog, but looking for other (Human) sewing bloggers who would like to partner with us. We welcome guest bloggers, vloggers, influencers and also an invitation to blog for you as well. We always want your advice and we also want to hear from you regarding ideas and improvements to our blog, product, or advertising. PLEASE COMMENT. Please do write me at Blessings, Margie "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you." 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (coming soon)

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