I'm glad that the Astoria Tunic graces the cover of Knitted Tanks and Tunics; I really like the fun retro feel of the high rounded collar and the center front pleat, and I also think that the A-line shape and tunic length make this a style that is flattering to many body types.
The body is very simple: it's worked in the round, and has regular decreases along the sides to give it that A-line shape. The armhole edgings are worked at the same time as the body, so no additional finishing is required. Once the upper front is reached, things get a bit (but only a bit!) more complicated: while working the upper front, purl columns are started, to allow the back part of the pleat to fold neatly, and a few short rows are worked to shape the upper edge into a curve. The inverted box pleat is formed by folding the fabric toward the center front along the purl columns, and then back toward the sides.
The layers of fabric have to be attached to each other to hold the pleat in place; I experimented with several techniques to find the best way to do this without creating a lot of bulk at the top of the pleat.
For the collar, stitches are cast on between the top edges of the front and back, and then worked in the round. The collar is then folded in half to create a double layer, which helps it stand away from the neck.
I used Schachenmayr Catania Grande yarn for Astoria; it's 100% mercerized cotton and worsted (#4 medium) weight, but I used larger needles to create a less dense fabric with more drape. This yarn comes in a wide range of colors, from neutrals to pastels to brights, and the mercerization gives the cotton a nice sheen and excellent stitch definition.
(all photos copyright Tom Moore Studios)