Creating a Sleeveless Benicia and Adding a Tunic Length

Blogger: Jane Reuter

Creating a Sleeveless Benicia

Benicia is probably my favorite pattern to date! I know I say that every time, but this one really is so comfortable and yet perfect for everyday as well as nicer events. Seeing that the weather is warm 75 percent of the year where I live, I wanted to make a sleeveless Benicia. In this blog I will show you how simple it is. In addition, I will also show how to make it tunic length. Find the Benicia pattern here!

Making a Sleeveless Benicia:

To begin, the Benicia and Bloomsbury patterns are both needed. Converting Benicia to a sleeveless top or dress is really quite simple. Place the front top/dress Benicia pattern down and place the Bloomsbury pattern on top. Align the bodice pieces at the center fold and also at the top shoulder. The top of the sleeveless line of the Bloomsbury pattern should just touch the shoulder of the Benicia pattern. In the following photo Bloomsbury is the red bodice and Benicia is the bluish-purple bodice.

Trace off the new front armscye line using the Bloomsbury arm curve and then following the Benicia shoulder.

Repeat with the back bodice pieces.

If making a sleeveless Benicia top or dress (instructions for tunic will come next), simply use the rest of the Benicia pattern as is. For reference, a complete front top pattern piece (with mock neck) would look like this with only the sleeveless line of Bloomsbury used.

Construct the pattern per the tutorial. The only difference is that the arm opening will be finished with arm binding or bands instead of a sleeve. LLK has a video provided for both methods in the video section of the website and the method chosen is strictly personal preference. The following calculations will determine what size to cut the arm bands/binding.

Measure the circumference of the arm opening of the garment. Multiply the arm opening by .85 and add 3/4” for seam allowance. For example, if the arm opening is 19" the calculation would be as follows:

19” arm opening x .85 = 16 1/8”

16 1/8” + 3/4” seam allowance = 16 15/16”

This can simply be rounded to 17”

If adding an arm binding, the binding would be cut 1 5/8” x 17” (l x w)

If adding an arm band, the band would be cut 1 3/4" x 17” (l x w)

Note: The stretch of the fabric is cut with the width.

If adding arm binding, follow the Bloomsbury sleeveless tutorial. If adding an arm band, it will be added to the arm opening the same way the simple neck band is added in the Benicia tutorial. The website videos can also be used for reference.



Making Benicia in Tunic Length:

If making a Benicia tunic, make sure to use the Benicia dress pattern piece. To shorten the dress to tunic length, simply bring up the curved hem (approximately 6") to make a tunic cut line. 

Curve the bottom, outer edge so it comes down to the hem at more of a 90 degree angle, eliminating that small outer triangle shape.

For a more flirty look, curve the hem of the tunic. To do so, make a mark 1 1/2” above the new hem on the outer edge.

Make a horizontal line at that mark coming inward about 1/2”.

Draw a curved line to connect that line to the new hem.

The tunic hem would then be cut following the red lines.

Construct the pattern as instructed in the tutorial!! Can’t wait to see what you sew up!

Happy Sewing!



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