Friday, May 13, 2016

Tessuti Kate in Black Shadow Stripe Linen

As soon as the heat sets in, all I want to wear is linen!
I've never been to Australia before, but I have a feeling Australians know how to dress for heat... because Tessuti Patterns are just the thing for light, breezy linen tops, dresses, and pants. 

I initially resisted the Kate top pattern because it looked too boxy for me. However, I love the way it looks on so many people, and I was interested in adding a new style to my linen top collection. So I did up a muslin and decided that if I added a shaped back seam, that might add just enough curve for me. I have a bit of a swayback anyway, so I basically did a swayback adjustment. I added a center seam instead of cutting on the fold, and pinned out the excess in a curve that was deepest at the small of my back and tapered to nothing behind my shoulders and at the hips. 

My muslin also suggested that I needed to add length (which several other reviewers have also mentioned. I added 2 inches at the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern). 

Other than my minor adjustments, I sewed view B with only tiny changes. I love the very clear pictures in the instructions, and how a beautiful interior finish seems integrated into the design. 

My fabric is Marcy Tilton's "shadow stripe" linen. It is a loosely woven linen with a subtle stripe woven into the fabric. It is rather sheer, and I debated lining it, but I decided that on a really hot day when I was hanging out at home, I might appreciate a little extra air. If I decided to wear it to work, I could always just wear a cami. Working with this very loosely woven linen was delicate work, it wanted to fray if I even looked at it too hard. I stay stitched everything, religiously. I probably should have used a tear-away stabilizer as directed (Tessuti patterns suggest Vilene, which is an Aussie brand, but there are others available here) but I didn't bother, and seem to have mostly gotten away with it. 

The innards are quite lovely. The back slit is faced, and the facing is turned under and stitched down. I did flat felled seams at the shoulders for a little extra strength. For the back seam that I added, I serged the pattern pieces before sewing them together. I then sewed the back seam, starting at the bottom of where you were directed to cut the slit. 

There is a self fabric button loop. Mine is a bit thicker than recommended, as I didn't have a smaller tube-turner thingy, but it works well enough. The button is a vintage shell button from the buttons gifted me by my best friend's grandmother. 

The lovely side vents with mitered corners were one of the details that really sold the pattern to me. They are explained very well in the instructions. Unfortunately I fumbled a bit on them... somehow I misread the directions and turned up the bottom seam 1/2 inch rather than 1/4, which threatened to put the entire mitered corner askew. I persevered though, and the only lasting effect is that the bottom hem is a bit narrower than it should be. 

The pattern also described a method of adding binding to the armholes and neckline that was new to me, and I sort of love it. Rather than using a bias binding maker, which I find rather fussy, especially with a very loosely woven linen, the pattern has you simply press your binding in half and attach the raw ends to the raw edge of your neckline and armholes. It seems sensible, and it worked well. Also, you are instructed to understitch the binding, and this extra line of stitching may help to keep all of those loosely woven ends in check. I have some trouble with the edges of bindings working their way out on some of my older linen tops that are made with loose weaves. 

I've been sewing awhile now, and I really appreciate it when patterns have techniques that are really smart and add to my arsenal of sewing tricks!

Overall, I really love the top. The fit is loose but not sloppy, and I think the bit of shaping that I added was just right for me. I love the look of the high neckline and slightly scooped shoulders. I think this linen top is going to get a lot of wear this summer!


  1. cute top and black linen is just so elegant!
    thanks for the "press your binding in half and attach the raw ends" tip.
    duh! so sensible...
    :-) Chris

  2. Yeah, I know. So simple, and it works so well, especially on linen, which just loves to escape from the binding.

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