Tutorial: Chiffon Backed Union St Tee

Chiffon Back Union Square copy

Written by Vanessa of East & Eden

Hi all! Now I know what you are thinking ... 'Another Union St. Tee??'. Yes, yes it is - but this is a Union St. Tee like no other. Today I will be showing you how to mix your favorite knit and woven to make a dressed up tee. After all, mixing prints continues to be a hot trend!

Chiffon Back Union St Tee 01

This chiffon back top is a bit like a mullet - business in the front, party in the back. :)

Chiffon Back Union St Tee 02

For the knit portions of this top, I used a buttery soft, thick knit from JoAnn Fabrics. Find it here. It is a rayon/nylon/spandex blend and probably my favorite blended knit I have ever found at JoAnn.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee 03

For the woven portion on the back, I used a chiffon I have been hoarding from Hobby Lobby's summer seasonal line.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee 05

Pleating detail in the center of the back adds fullness to show off the drape of the fabric.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee 06

I adjusted the pattern to have a nice high-low hemline. Do you like it? Keep reading to learn how to do this yourself :)

Pattern Preparation

First we have to adapt the Union St. Tee pattern pieces. (I had my pieces folded at one point, please excuse the crease lines).

Step 1 Start by adding extra length to both the front and back pieces.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-1

For the back piece, add 4" to the center (fold side) and about 1" to the side seam. Then draw a nice curve to connect the two. Cut out along the curve. This is the "low" for your high-low hemline.

(***Side note: in the end, the 4" is a little longer than I like on my 5'5" frame ... I will probably re-hem at some point to take up some of the length.)

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-2

Step 2 For the front, you will need to add 1" to the side seam in order for it to line up with your adapted back piece. (The picture show more like 1.5", but I trimmed it down later.) Take about 1.25" off the center of the front piece. Once again, draw a nice curve to connect these points. This is the "high" for your high-low hem.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-3

Cut out along your marked curve line.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-5

Step 3 Using the curve from your adapted front piece as a guide, line up the centers of the pieces with the side of the curve hitting about 1.5" down from the armscye.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-6

Trace the curve.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-7

Cut apart along the traced curve, adding a seam allowance of your choice. (If you need more instruction with adding seam allowance, see my Colorblock Soleil Tutorial here.) You should now have a total of 5 pattern pieces: sleeves, neck binding, front bodice, upper back bodice and lower back bodice.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-8

Cutting Your Fabric

Step 4 You will be adding pleats to the chiffon piece; therefore, it needs to be wider than the lower back pattern piece. Fold your chiffon in half. place your pattern piece 3" from the fold.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-10

Holding your pattern piece firmly, cut out the chiffon following the curve.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-12

Step 5 Now cut the rest of your pattern pieces out of your knit. You should end up with 2 sleeves, 1 front bodice, 1 upper back bodice, 1 lower back bodice, 1 binding and the chiffon lower back piece.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-13 Sewing Tutorial

Step 6 First you will hem the bottom of the chiffon. I like to serge the bottom first so it isn't fraying during the hemming process. You could use a zigzag stitch if you don't have a serger. Turn the bottom up about 3/8" and press.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-14

Turn the hem up a second time by 3/8", totally enclosing the serging and press again.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-15 Clip/pin your folded hem.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-16

Take to your machine and stitch with a 1/8" seam allowance.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-17

Press once more when you are done stitching.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-18

Step 7 The next step is to hem the bottom of the lower bodice back. Once again, I like to serge the bottom first - it gives a cleaner look to the hem.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-19

Fold up the bottom edge by 3/4" and press.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-20

Using your preferred stitch for hemming (long zig-zag, double needle, etc.) and hem your lower back bodice.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-22

Give it a good press.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-23

Step 8 Now its time to make the pleats. Line up the sides of the chiffon and the lower back piece, both right side up. Clip/pin. There will be excess chiffon in the middle.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-24

Mark the center of the chiffon. Then mark every 1/2", making nine marks on each side.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-25

To make the pleats, pinch the first and third line together, folding the second line down and out, pin vertically in place.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-26 Chiffon Back Union St Tee-27 Chiffon Back Union St Tee-28

I am someone who hates using pins, but believe me, this in not a place to skim on the pins. I pin both sides of each pleat. This helps the sewing go so much smoother. Chiffon is slippery!

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-29

Finish pleating and pinning outward. The three 1/2" pleats will eat up the extra three inches that we added to the piece of chiffon.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-30

Take it to your machine and slowly sew the top of the bottom back knit and chiffon pieces, securing your pleats in place.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-31 Chiffon Back Union St Tee-32

Step 9 Turn your pins the other direction to hold down your newly formed pleats to prepare for attaching to the upper back piece.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-33

Lay your upper back piece right sides together over your lower back piece combination.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-34

Clip/pin in place fitting the curves together.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-35 Serge/sew together.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-36 Chiffon Back Union St Tee-37

Flip your upper back bodice piece up and press. Treat this assembled piece as the back bodice piece going forward. You are almost ready to continue on with the Union St. Tee instructions as directed. The other modification to the pattern instructions you need to make is hemming the front bodice piece. Hem it following the instructions of Step 7 in this tutorial. Also take care when attaching the front a back bodice pieces, go slow and make sure the chiffon doesn't slip.

Chiffon Back Union St Tee-38

Finish up your top by following the instructions in the Union St. Tee pattern. Ta da! You have made a fun, fancy tee :)

Chiffon Back Union St Tee 07

Pick up your own copy of the Union St. Tee pattern now. We would love to see your adapted Union St. Tees. Tag us on instagram @upcraftclub and @eastandeden with the hashtag #unionsttee to share your creations.

September 14, 2015 by UpCraft Club
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Sara @Made by Sara

Sara @Made by Sara said:

This is so perfect! One can ever go wrong with the stripes & flowers combo! Thanks for the tutorial!

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