adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Amara vest

Recently I sent my overlocker and sewing machine away for a routine service.  This meant that I was without my machines for a little over a week.  So what did I do when the impulse to sew something became very, very strong?

Tessuti Patterns Amara vest in ponte - hand stitched

I hand sewed it together! This really was an impulse sew. It’s the Tessuti Amara vest pattern. I was aiming for wearable muslin, and pulled out two largish scraps of ponte from stash to sew it from, and pulled out my embroidery supplies.

Tessuti Patterns Amara vest in ponte - hand stitched

This vest is designed to have overlapped, topstitched seams, so I simply joined them with a running stitch. I only needed to sew the shoulder and the side seams, although I also attached the patch pockets to the front in the same way.

Tessuti Patterns Amara vest in ponte - hand stitched

I have always admired Alabama Chanin hand-stitched embroidered tops, but have never had enough oomph to actually sew one. Maybe I’ll feel more inclined soon, as this vest didn’t take long at all! All edges are left raw.

Tessuti Patterns Amara vest in ponte - hand stitched

From the pattern website: This loose, boxy vest/top is the ideal layering piece to add colour, contrast or texture to a relaxed look. Style features include drop shoulders, patch pockets and a wide neckline. View A has overlapped and raw edges for a super quick and satisfying sewing project. View B has bound edges for extra interest and more fabric options. Recommended fabrics: View A: boiled wool knits, felted wool, ponti. View B: woven wool, wool blend, tweed and knits.

Tessuti Amara vest line drawing

I sewed size 2, which I am happy with other than the big fold of excess fabric at the centre front neckline. That could partly be due to the fabric choice, but I think it’s also the width of the neckline on my body shape. I will address this if I choose to sew this pattern again.

Tessuti Patterns Amara vest in ponte - hand stitched

It was a bit of fun to spend a Friday evening hand-stitching a vest together in front of a movie! However, I’m very pleased that my sewing machine and overlocker were back in their places before we started lockdown 2.0.

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Always another Mandy

So many Mandy boat tees.  At a rough count the number I have sewn is well into double figures.  It’s a simple shape that I return to over and over.

Tessuti Mandy tee

I am now using the updated version of this (still free) pattern. When it was originally released it was a ‘one size fits all’ pattern. It now comes in four sizes, ranging from XXS to XXXL, with a three quarter length and a full length sleeve option. I think that the sleeves are now slightly roomier than they were in the first rendition.

Tessuti Mandy tee

I fall between the size 2 and size 3 according to my measurements, but really when you’re choosing a size for this pattern, it’s very much about your style preferences. I really like the wide loose body with fitted sleeves, so overlaid the original pattern on the new one and decided to go with size 3. I’m happy with that choice.

Tessuti Mandy tee

Of course, as with many successful garments, it’s about getting the fabric choice right for the intended silhouette. This knit (I found it at Restash earlier in the year) is perfect. It’s really soft, quite stretchy, and drapes beautifully. I’ve sewn Mandy tees in a few fabrics now and the ones that have been nicest to wear have been those in fabrics that stretch well in both directions (especially for sleeve comfort).

Tessuti Mandy tee

I did what I often do with the leftovers, and sewed them into a tube for a simple scarf/cowl that I can wear with the tee to add a fraction more neck warmth and a change of style when desired.

Tessuti Mandy tee

It’s Easter Monday here – what a different Easter it’s been.  The kids had the fun of our usual egg hunt yesterday, which is always entertaining to watch, but otherwise the four days have been so different to usual.  Easter has usually been about family for us, mostly in a relaxed country setting.  Everything over the last month is full of contradictions – familiar, yet unfamiliar.  At the moment we’re focusing more on what we can do and the blessings of our lives than what we currently can’t do and are missing out on.  But that focus changes.  Anyway, it’s back to work for me tomorrow, and back to school for the kids on Wednesday (edited to add: both work and school are from home for the foreseeable future as per the stay-at-home guidelines in Victoria).  I’ve enjoyed getting sewing and craft projects done, and we’ve also managed to complete a few of those household tasks that get put off for ages but don’t end up taking long to do.  We’ve watched loads of Netflix and Stan.  When you don’t have to go anywhere for anything, there’s much more available time at home for both doing and simply being.  The days are going quickly yet the weeks are taking forever.  It’s a very strange time.

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Hilary top with full sleeves

This top got an awful lot of love when I posted it on Instagram a few days ago.  I first sewed the Tessuti Hilary top last year in printed silk, and it was one of the favourite things I’d sewn last year.  Then Tessuti posted a tutorial for a sleeve ‘hack’ (I still don’t like the term as applied to pattern alterations and modifications – they’re done carefully!) of a shorter, fuller sleeve.  Looked great!  Maybe I could do something similar?

modified Tessuti Hilary top in Spotlight rayon

This is one of those times when I got the fabric and pattern combination just right for me. The fabric is printed rayon from Spotlight – I found it on the clearance table, so given that I’ve already used this pattern before, this garment is a very low cost garment (in terms of materials – my time is not factored in to the cost).  This type of delicate and detailed print is not one that I usually wear, but the colour was just perfect and I figured that I’d still feel like ‘me’ in it.  I knew that because I’d chosen to sew it in rayon I wouldn’t get the same ‘boofy’ sleeve as the top in Tessuti’s tutorial, but that was the look I was after. Fullness but not excessive volume.

modified Tessuti Hilary top in Spotlight rayon

I thought that many of you might find it helpful to see the modifications that I made to the pattern pieces. Here’s the sleeve:

Hilary pattern pieces

I traced the sleeve pattern that I already had, then slashed and spread it according to the tutorial. I think that I made the measurement from the armhole to the hem a bit longer than they’d suggested. The top in the tutorial has the sleeve ending above the elbow; mine is obviously below but part of that is related to the fabric type, elastic length and where the sleeve ‘cuff’ is pushed up to (or not) on the arm.

modified Tessuti Hilary top in Spotlight rayon

I also made some modifications to the body, and I’ll show you those pattern pieces too. I added length, added width at the hemline, and lowered the front neckline (and the corresponding facing) by an inch. My previous version was just too ‘chokey’.

Hilary pattern pieces

I wasn’t terribly scientific about the added width – I just measured out 5cm at the hemline, then another 5cm, and drew two lines that angled up to the armhole. Which line was used was likely to depend on what fitted on the fabric width. As it turned out I was able to use the 10cm line. This means that there was an additional 40cm added to the hemline width in total. I really like the way that it hangs and drapes at the sides.

modified Tessuti Hilary top in Spotlight rayon

This top could do with some bra keepers being added right beside that wide neckline. I have fairly narrow and rounded shoulders, and prefer not to expose my bra straps. I sewed size Large, because that’s the pattern size I’d used before and was suggested by my bust measurement, but I really could have sewn this in a Medium. However, it doesn’t feel too big when I’m wearing it.

modified Tessuti Hilary top in Spotlight rayon

The elastic at the top of the shoulders does stand up a little from the body – I may have made the casing a smidgen too tight and/or used elastic that was a smidgen too stiff. But it’s not a deal breaker. For the sleeve hem elastic I measured around my upper arm to get a guide, then inserted it, then adjusted until the measurement felt right on me. I didn’t really want the elastic to be tight around my arm; rather, I wanted it to act as more as a cuff.

modified Tessuti Hilary top in Spotlight rayon

I am extremely happy with these pattern modifications.   I’ve now seen a few tops like this in the shops, and the recently released Friday Pattern Company Adrianna dress also has this type of sleeve treatment and a similar silhouette to my modified Hilary.  It’s not difficult to sew, yet looks a bit out of the ordinary.  I’d like to give this pattern one more go in something crisper to really get the boofy sleeve effect, but that will probably wait until next summer. There is already a to sew pile developing in my sewing room in anticipation of autumn and winter!

modified Tessuti Hilary top in Spotlight rayon

 

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Yuki dress

Sometimes you see a fabric that you just HAVE to sew with.  That’s how I felt when I spotted this linen/viscose blend at The Cloth Shop, Ivanhoe shortly before Christmas.  And if the comments on Instagram when I posted this photo were anything to go by, I wasn’t the only one that loved it!

December purchases from The Cloth Shop

Yes, it’s the fabric on the top of the pile in the photo. I’ve already blogged what the other three fabrics became – a tunic for Mum from the printed viscose, and Infinity scarves (with secret pocket) from the two spotted flannels. When I bought the linen/viscose, I was pretty sure what I wanted to sew from it – a Tessuti Yuki dress. And in the end, I wore it for Christmas day celebrations.

Tessuti Yuki dress in linen viscose from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The Yuki dress pattern was released in March 2017 (the introductory blog post is here) and I pretty much dismissed it at the time, mainly because I saw it as a ‘winter’ pattern, and already owned a Vogue pattern with a cowl neckline with similar lines. However, I reconsidered it when browsing for a ‘sack’ dress pattern that I hadn’t used before. I liked the angled side seams, and the collar isn’t a regular cowl. So into my shopping cart it went, and was promptly printed, taped and cut out. I chose to sew size Medium, one size smaller than the Large my bust measurement would have put me in.

Tessuti Yuki dress in linen viscose from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

In retrospect, I have no idea why I had thought this was a ‘winter’ pattern – maybe because Tessuti had shown their sample in black, layered over a long-sleeved top! The fabric recommendations are for the main dress in drapey fabrics with great body eg. wool crepe, rayon/triacetate crepe, crepe blends, viscose, acetate, heavy silk satin, linen etc, with the collar and tie done in a contrast such as viscose georgette, silk crepe de chine, double georgette etc. Clearly I was way off base in my original thoughts about the pattern! It’s perfect for summer!

Tessuti Yuki dress in linen viscose from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

Now, I have to say that this is not your average ‘sack’ dress. The pattern website describes it as follows: This loose fitting, knee length, pull-over tunic dress features extended shoulders, tapered hemline, side pockets and a funnel style collar with drawstring tie. The contrast collar drapes around the neck like a soft cowl. The Yuki Dress can be worn on its own or layered over a fitted top, make it the perfect trans-seasonal wardrobe piece.

Tessuti Yuki dress line drawing

The line drawings really do say it all. The side seams (which have in-seam pockets) angle toward the tapered hem (a style that always works well on my shape), and take note of the neckline shape with it’s rounded V at the centre front and centre back. Very nice, a bit of a departure from the usual, yet easy to sew.

Tessuti Yuki dress in linen viscose from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I topstitched around the seam where the cowl-like collar is attached to the main dress to provide a bit more support and structure. The collar is a single layer, which means that the wrong side of the fabric can show when it’s being worn, so take that into consideration. The tie and the casing for the tie are very easily sewn.

Tessuti Yuki dress in linen viscose from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I shortened the pattern pieces at the shorten/lengthen here lines, removing the entire shaded area (about two inches) from the length. I am 158cm tall, and the finished dress now hits me pretty much right on the knee. You need to make length alterations before cutting out, as the dress silhouette is tapered.

Tessuti Yuki dress in linen viscose from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I was incredibly comfortable wearing this dress on a hot summer day.  It felt celebratory and fun, while being easy to wear.  My eyes are now open to the many possibilities of this pattern; you’ll definitely see it used again at some stage.

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Demi pants in rayon

Earlier this year I sewed the Tessuti Demi pants in a fairly rigid denim, which was not the recommended type of fabric, but has been fun to wear nonetheless!  Recently I sewed the pattern again, this time in a woven rayon.  Just the type of fabric this pattern was designed for!

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

The fabric came from Spotlight. They have some marvellous rayon prints this year! There’s a really nice combination of colours in this print – the smaller darker spots are really more of a blue than a black. I sewed the same size as last time, and the pattern pieces were already shortened to take my height into consideration.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

I used very wide elastic in the waistband, which is very comfortable to wear. You can’t really see the pockets because of the print. They are in the side seams, and are topstitched to the front of the pants.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

The tucks at the hemline give the pants their interesting balloon shape. There’s a deep tuck on both the front and the back leg pieces near the outer leg seam. The hems are bias bound.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

From the pattern website: This pull-on, cropped pant pattern features an elasticised waist and full leg with side stitched down pockets. A clever pleat detail at the front and back hemline is finished with a bias bind band at hem. Comfortable and stylish, the pattern is quick and easy to make and suitable for day or night. Ideal for woven fabrics including linen, lightweight wool, cottons, viscose and crepe. Not suitable for knits or stretch wovens.

Demi pants line drawing

I think that these will get lots of wear when we head to Borneo after Christmas. Length to keep off the sun and the bugs, although I’ll still need plenty of DEET on my ankles. Insects (especially mosquitoes) love me.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Hilary top

When I bought the Tessuti Hilary top pattern I was thinking of my teenager.  After all, I’m not likely to wear a peplum top.  But she wasn’t keen on it.  Then I spotted a version sewn without elastic in the waist, and a light bulb went off in my head. Just lengthen the body and leave off the peplum and waist elastic!

Tessuti Hilary top

I cannot say just how much I LOVE this top.  It’s just what I envisaged!  It has the fun shoulder and sleeve hem treatment, and my preferred silhouette. This version isn’t perfect – but I’m not going to point out the imperfections at this stage!

Tessuti Hilary top

Tessuti describe the pattern as follows: this pretty, peasant style top features a bloused bodice, pleated peplum, boat neckline, gathered waist and sleeves with gathered wrists. The perfect item to up, it can be worn with pants, shorts or skirts. Recommended fabrics: Suitable for woven fabrics such as lightweight linen, cotton poplin, cotton voile, cotton eyelet, silk crepe de chine and viscose.

Tessuti Hilary top line drawing

I made life ever so slightly more difficult for myself by choosing to sew it in silk.  Yes, that scrumptiously beautiful fabric is silk, and it’s as delightful to wear as it looks.  All my colours, and the type of bold print that I prefer.  So many thanks to the generous friend who knew that I would adore it!  There was just enough fabric to squeeze out the top – the finished body length was entirely dictated by the amout of fabric available.  As well as lengthening the body I widened it into a slight A-line shape (also entirely dictated by the available amount of fabric).

Tessuti Hilary top

There really wasn’t much to the construction! Front, back, raglan sleeves, front and back neckline facings. The elastic at the top of the shoulder was easy to insert and gives lovely gathers. I used french seams for the body and sleeve seams. The sleeve hems are finished with a casing for elastic. Easy peasy! The only thing that I would do differently next time is to lower the front neckline a couple of inches. It feels a fraction too high during wear.

Tessuti Hilary top

I may also consider sewing a size smaller next time. I have a feeling that I sewed size Large, but the Medium would have been okay. Maybe. The hem was secured by machine with a narrow double fold. Given that this is a special fabric, I could have considered a hand-rolled hem. Maybe I would if I were sewing it from a similarly luxurious fabric in future.

Tessuti Hilary top

It’s worth doing a trawl of the Instagram tag for this pattern or of the internet in general to see the different versions that are popping up. It’s lovely as designed, and is also easy to sew with variations to the body – like mine – or with altered sleeve length. I do rather fancy trying a linen or a voile version with a shorter sleeve for summer.

Tessuti Hilary top

This top is definitely on my top ten – maybe my top five – list of finished garments for this year.  I feel absolutely fabulous every time that I wear it.

Tessuti Hilary top

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Mandy boat tee – as dress!

I really cannot quite believe that I took so long to do this.  The Tessuti Mandy boat tee, lengthened to a dress!  I was feeling rather desperate for some comfy winter dresses, and had just enough fabric left over from my Loren jacket to cut out the body of the dress.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee as dress

It’s the updated version of the free Mandy boat tee pattern. I can’t remember what size I used (I sewed this at the beginning of winter) but have a feeling that I did do a forward shoulder adjustment. The sleeves are in a navy/coral striped viscose knit that has been marinating in stash for a little while. I made a separate infinity scarf/cowl for a little added warmth – and because I love an accessory!

Tessuti Mandy boat tee as dress

I probably lengthened it a fraction too much for ‘flattery’ purposes, but it’s definitely a great length for snuggly purposes. I’ll definitely be sewing more Mandy dresses in the future!

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

So many Athinas

Tessuti Athina Top

My goodness, this is the fourth time that I’ve sewn the Tessuti Athina top, and all were sewn within a six month period! To refresh, this boxy style top features an extended shoulder and dropped sleeve. There are two length options available. Sizes range from XS (86 cm bust) to XL (106 cm bust).  And did I mention that the pattern is free?

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 10.34.00 am

I need to pull out the pattern to see what size I sewed – it was possibly the L.  Thisis the shorter length.  I have now done a forward shoulder alteration to this pattern, which works beautifully to stop the neckline from pulling back and choking me.  I really should consider this alteration as standard for me.  The older I get and the more time I spend on a computer screen (or sewing!) the more rounded my upper back and shoulders become.

Tessuti Athina Top

So, to this fabric. It is vintage – very vintage, coming from June’s stash (June is the mother of one of my friends, who is now in a retirement village and generously passed much of her stash on to me when she moved). It is quite lightweight yet warm. After discussion with Kim from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe we think that it is possibly wool challis. It’s ever so slightly scratchy, but that isn’t a problem when wearing it. And there’s definitely that wool smell when the fabric is pressed.

Tessuti Athina Top

I don’t normally choose such small scale, delicate prints, but surprisingly I have worn this quite a bit. It is easily accessorised, and I feel good in it. And isn’t that what it’s all about!

Tessuti Athina Top

How many Athina tops is too many? I don’t think I’ve yet reached peak Athina. Depending on the fabric choice it is a top that can be worn for much of the year. I reckon that a couple in something very lightweight would be good for sun protection in summer (although proper sun protection also requires a collar). Speaking of sun protection, I recently had my annual skin check, and for the second year in a row I didn’t need any lesions removed! I’m so pleased. Keep using that sunscreen, everyone!

Tessuti Athina Top

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Coni dress

Tessuti patterns seem to work really well for me.  Generally they’re simple shapes that are fairly timeless and seem to suit a broad range of ages and styles.

Tessuti Coni dress

Tessuti describe the Coni dress/tunic as follows: relaxed tunic-style dress features a wide neckline, dropped armhole with sleeve bands (optional wide or narrow width), stitched down side seam pockets and side splits. This tunic can be worn on its own or over pants and makes a great beach cover-up. The perfect addition to your summer holiday wardrobe. Note: The Coni Tunic can also be modified into a top. fabrics: linen, linen blends, silk crepe de chine, viscose, rayon, cotton cheesecloth or gauze.

Coni Tunic line drawing

I chose to use an embroidered cotton that I’d picked up at a Restash event.  I wasn’t able to pattern match properly due to fabric restrictions, but did at least ake the effot to centre the dominant embroidered lines.

Tessuti Coni dress

This is a super simple style, so it’s fast and easy to sew. The pockets are stitched to the front of the dress, but are still entered from the side seams. Make sure that you read the instructions properly and follow them closely for this part!

Tessuti Coni dress

I can’t remember what size I sewed; I do jump around a little with sizing for Tessuti patterns depending on what parts of me require the most accommodation. You may have already noticed the wide neckline. Although a wide neckline is part of the pattern, this one is TOO wide, and I take complete responsibility. I skipped stabilising the neckline before I bound it – bad move. It’s definitely stretched out during construction. Stabilise those necklines, people! Don’t do what I did!

Tessuti Coni dress

My first thought was that I needed to add strap keepers so that I could at least secure this to my bra straps in order to keep it on my shoulders. Then the weather turned cool, and I wasn’t wearing it anyway. Recently while doing a wardrobe purge I had an epiphany – I still had some scraps of the fabric; surely I could somehow bring in the neckline and pretend that it was a design feature?

Tessuti Coni dress

Yes, I could! I cut out two double layered semi-circular pieces of fabric with a fold along one edge, and used that to fill each side of the neckline by topstitchng it in place along the previous stitching lines. It was really helpful to have Ada handy to get the amount of coverage centred and the stripes aligned in a visually balanced way. I just fiddled and pinned until it looked right.

Tessuti Coni dress

I hope that this dress will now get a lot of wear when the weather warms up again. I don’t like to have to fiddle with my clothes and constantly be pulled necklines into place. Fingers crossed that this is the perfect fix!

Tessuti Coni dress

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Athina the Third

Athina the first and second were both such a success that I knew there would have to be a third!

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

When I saw this crinkle large yarn-dyed check at The Cloth Shop my mind instantly paired it with the free Tessuti Athina top pattern. Except I left my run a little too late and when I popped in to buy the fabric, they were out of stock! I was left champing at the bit while I waited for another roll to appear. Then I was back in the shop quick smart!

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

This top ticks so many boxes for me. It’s simple. It’s a yarn dyed check. It’s linen. And the green! What a fabulous green! I sewed size Medium again, with the sleeves at pattern length so that I could roll up a decent width cuff. I did remember to do a half inch forward shoulder alteration to the pattern pieces before I did any cutting out – something that I need to remember to do more often.

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

This is very easy to sew and to wear. Of course, it crinkles – it’s linen! But I know that I will wear this for years and years and years to come.

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The neckline is finished with a bias cut strip, attached and secured like a facing. I tucked in a label too for fast identification of the back. Have I mentioned that I love this top?

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

Anna loves this fabric too – you can see a terrific dress that she sewed from it recently on her blog.