adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Mandy the…I’ve lost count

So many Tessuti Mandy boat tees.  SO many.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

Tessuti describe this pattern as follows:  This oversized, boxy top has a boat neckline and three quarter fitted sleeves with drop shoulders. This top is perfect for all seasons and is best made up in cotton, wool, viscose, linen knits.  

This is a free pattern, and it’s “one-size-fits-all” (yeah, right). The way it fits you will depend on your size and shape, and the amount of ease that you like in your clothes. I lengthened the sleeves to full length, but otherwise this is exactly as per the pattern.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

Be aware that the neckline is fairly high and wide – it is a boat neckline after all. I use fusible double sided tape (Vliesofix) to stabilise and secure the neckline before twin-needle stitching it in place. I do the same for the body and sleeve hems. The rest of the construction is on the overlocker.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

The fabrics were scraps – the body a medium weight wool blend knit that was a gift from a delightful fellow blogger some years ago, and the sleeves in a soft and stretchy poly/spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I used the remaining chevron print to sew up a simple tubular cowl.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

This loose casual style works well for me. I don’t generally like high necklines, but I think that in this case it is counterbalanced by the neckline width and I don’t feel too strangled. Some of my friends take width out of the neckline, or the entire body. Some cut it shorter, or longer. Others alter the sleeves to add width: they are very fitted as they are. I think that the fitted sleeves counterbalance the generous body nicely. I have another friend who narrows the body in a bit toward the hips. It’s an easy pattern to play with.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

I have a suspicion that the number of Mandy’s I’ve made over the years could be in double figures by now…

adult's clothing · DCF Challenge · tessuti patterns

Simplicity 1318 – DCF Spring Challenge

I am rather excited.  Firstly, because I finished my Spring DCF Challenge* garment with a month and a half few weeks to spare (it seems that when I wrote this post I forgot that Summer starts in December!).  Secondly, because I sewed a top and a skirt to go with it – both from remnants.  And thirdly, because I am SO happy with the finished outfit!

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

It took Emma and I a little while to choose our Spring Challenge fabric this time around. Photos and web page links went back and forth, but when this woven viscose appeared on the Darn Cheap Fabrics Instagram feed, we both quickly said yes! When  I felt the fabric in person I was very pleased with our choice – it has a lovely handle with a slight slub throughout, and drapes beautifully.  And the colours – all those colours!

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

Simplicity 1318 is a kimono-style jacket pattern that has been around for quite a while. There are loads of reviews on Pattern Review, and a quick google image search brought up lots of lovely examples. This is a case where reading the reviews before cutting was extra helpful – despite my measurements fitting in the size Medium for this pattern, I cut size Small and am pleased with the resulting amount of ease.  I sewed view C, using one fabric as per the envelope cover photo.

simplicity-jackets-coats-pattern-1318-envelope-front

This is a very easy pattern to sew, as there is not a great deal of fitting adjustment to make.  It’s worth considering how long you want the finished jacket to be – I was happy to go with the pattern length as drafted – as you would need to fold this out of the front, back and band pattern pieces before cutting.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

Rather than hand-sewing down the sleeve bands or the neckband facing, I chose to topstitch in coordinating thread. The lazy way out, yet adding another nice detail. This was a relatively fast sew. The only thing that took a little time was attaching the neck and front bands and facings. The band is interfaced, and sits nice and close at the back neck. The shaping and the support of the interfacing means that the jacket sits nicely and doesn’t feel as though it is slipping around on my relatively sloped shoulders.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The fabric pressed and sewed beautifully, and has just the right amount of drape. It doesn’t billow and float too much, but swishes instead.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

While I was at Darn Cheap I spotted a couple of remnants in the remnant bin. I always find it hard to resist a remnant – both from a cost and a challenge perspective. And the two remnants that I picked up coordinated perfectly with the challenge fabric! So much so that even Helen who was helping me exert no-unnecessary-fabric-buying-willpower permitted me to buy them.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The skirt pattern is the Colette Mabel skirt. This is the longer version of the pattern with side front panels and a kick pleat sewn into the centre back seam. This is such a straightforward, fast sew. The fabric is a very soft and stretchy yet substantial double-knit, very like a ponte yet feeling much nicer. I used every scrap.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

I did topstitch down the side front panel and the centre back seams, but you really can’t see that stitching in these photos. And I simply fused the hem with one inch wide Vliesofix tape.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The top is the Tessuti Kate top. This is the third time I’ve sewn it. This is view A, but I bound the armholes and neckline with wide self-made bias, rather than turning the bias to the inside like a facing as per the instructions. This kept the armholes and neckline the same size as originally cut out. The last time that I sewed view A I felt that the armholes were a little too deep and the neckline a little too scooped. This time they were perfect.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

I sewed the size Large, and think that the fit is pretty spot on for me. Someone taller might want to consider lengthening this pattern a little, depending on where you want the top hemline to finish. I really like those mitred facing edges and the side splits.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

I applied the binding to the wrong side of the fabric first, then folding it over the seam allowances to the right side and topstitching close to the edge. This gives a nice even row of stitching and ensures that the binding is all attached nicely. I don’t like doing it the other way around then stitching in the ditch. Either the stitches wander a little on the right side, or part of the binding doesn’t get caught and stitched down on the wrong side. When I want to sew the binding to the right side first I have already made the decision that I will hand-sew it down on the inside.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The top fabric is viscose crepe, in that colour that I see as rich purple but others will see as cobalt blue. There is the teensiest hole in the front near the neckline, but I hope that it isn’t obvious to others. The perils of bargain remnants. I think I pulled the bias binding a fraction tight at the upper back neck, as in these photos there appears to be some teensy wrinkles. Otherwise, I think this top is a great fit.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

When I put this outfit on I had one of those YES! moments. It was comfortable, everything fitted, and I felt great. And fortunately, I had the perfect shoes to go with it (thanks again eBay Django & Juliette sample size seller).

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

Fortunately I still have some of the fabric left over; not enough for a dress but possibly for a top. I’ll go pattern stash diving. I’ll definitely be using this jacket pattern again as well. It’s a perfect topper for in between weather and for when you need an extra light layer.

Simplicity 1318 jacket

So, I wonder what Emma sewed? Actually, I think that I already know! I’m going to run over to her blog and take a look.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

* Emma and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy  a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment.  We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day.  It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap).

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Yet another Tessuti Fave top

If you’re after a fast, effective sew then I highly recommend the Tessuti Fave top (free pattern).

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is another “one size fits most” pattern, so keep that in mind when you sew it up.  Because of the style it is fairly flexible.  I have sewn it without any body width or length alterations, but have lengthened the sleeves to full length.  This was done via the technical method of just keeping on cutting until I thought the length looked about right.

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This gives you an idea of the shape of this top. One pattern piece for the front, one pattern piece for the back. The sleeves are meant to be fitted, and indeed I think that if they weren’t the volume of the tee body would just swamp you. If you wanted to make this pattern smaller or larger it would be pretty easy to either slash and spread or to fold in to make it smaller. For reference, I’m 158cm tall, and wear roughly an Australian size 12 top in RTW.

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Fabric really is the key to making this top work. It needs to have loads and loads of drape. This poly/spandex from Darn Cheap Fabrics works perfectly. Lots of four-way stretch, which makes the fitted sleeves comfortable, and lots of drape so that it hangs down nicely. You really do need to choose something that flows. As you can see, I took advantage of the leftovers to make a coordinating infinity scarf. It’s rather long, so I can wear it hanging down as above, or double loop it to make it shorter as in the first photo.  I don’t use a pattern for these scarves/cowls – there are plenty of tutorials out there if you need one though.  I basically just sew the leftovers into a tube by stitching the long edges together, then joining the short ends together.  Easy peasy!

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Construction was on the overlocker (only four seams – one shoulder/arm, the other shoulder/arm, one side/underarm, the other side/underarm; it really is straightforward) and hems were stabilised with Vilesofix tape then twin needled. The neckline had the same treatment – turned to the inside and secured then twin needled. You could add a band or finish the neckline however you like.  This pattern has been around for ages, and you can see my other versions of it here.

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Sydney in green

I think that most of us have an affinity for particular pattern lines, especially when it comes to independent pattern lines.  The large companies like Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, Kwik Sew, Simplicity, Burda and New Look tend to cover lots of bases in terms of style and aesthetics, although they definitely not exactly the same as one another.  In fact, they do have different tag lines to differentiate themselves.  Vogue’s is “the exclusive source for designer sewing patterns”, Butterick are “the world’s first name in sewing patterns” and McCalls claim to be “sewing patterns for today’s fashion trends” and Kwik Sew have “making sewing a success”.  This all says a little about how they position themselves in the sewing pattern market.  Independent pattern companies position themselves in different ways.  Some design for a particular shape, like Sewaholic who design for a pear shaped figure and SBCC who designs for short women.  Others design particular types of clothes, like Jalie who specialise in sports wear.  Ottobre have what appears to me to be a distinctly European aesthetic.  Style Arc say they are “the fashion industry secret that keeps you ahead of the rest”.  You could go through a huge list of companies and work out who they are primarily designing for.

So the point of this?  I think that Tessuti design patterns for people like me.  They don’t explicitly state it, but they design simple shapes with nice details that appear to be drafted for – dare I say it – an Australian middle-aged woman’s body.  Their styles don’t look remiss on younger women or older women, as they are fairly classic but are not staid and traditional and they definitely have a modern, inner-city vibe (whatever that really means!).  I really, really like most of what they design. Which brings me to the Sydney jacket!

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

First, the description from their website. This oversized, draped jacket features a relaxed collar, back yoke, extended cropped raglan sleeves and side pockets. This jacket is ideal for layering over garments and is the perfect cover-up for the autumn/winter months. Ideal made up in boiled wool knits, ponti knits, boiled felted wools and neoprene fabrics. IMPORTANT: Not suitable for woven fabrics that fray when cut.

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

As the description says, this jacket is constructed without edge finishes. The seams are overlapped rather than sewn right sides together (except for the side seams).  That’s why they recommend fabrics that don’t fray when cut. However, I’ve now seen some wonderful versions in other wovens; the fraying just needs to be taken into account when they are constructed, and either used as a feature on some seams or the construction methods need to be varied. Anyway, I used a fabric that doesn’t fray. Despite owning and sewing many garments from Tessuti patterns, I don’t actually use a lot of Tessuti fabric – way out of my budget most of the time! This fabric is a beautiful wool/cashmere blend that I actually found in my stash! I think it was a gift from Jodie one Sewjourn a very ong time ago – and unsurprisingly I was thrilled that there was enough of it when I went stash diving for this jacket.

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

After considerable deliberations I made a straight size Medium. Although it’s an oversized style, I needed to make certain that it would fit well across the shoulders. I could possibly have made the Small, but feel that the Medium doesn’t look too big.

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

Construction was simpler than I had anticipated. You definitely need to get that chalk pencil out and mark a big cross on all the wrong sides of the fabric pieces, and take things one step at a time in order to jigsaw all the pieces together. I’d have liked a few more markings on the pattern pieces to let me know what edge went with what, but figured it all out without much difficulty. Just don’t rush!

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

Like others, I had wondered what the point was in a winter jacket with short sleeves and no lining or closure – but it’s actually been very warm and snug to wear, especially given that Melbourne is so well heated indoors during winter. Thumbs up for this pattern! If it wasn’t such a distinctive style (and if I didn’t have about 497 jacket and coat patterns in stash) I’d even make it again.

Which pattern lines do you have a particular affinity for – and do you know why?