Monday, August 21, 2017

Sewing wardrobe staples... the Tessuti Kate Top x 3... Summer of Basics

It is interesting how my sewing has changed over time. Only a few years ago, most of my sewing was pieces for special occasions and fancy showstopper wardrobe pieces. I still have and love most of these pieces. For example, my Missoni Sweater Coat, Striped Lisbon Cardigan and Asymmetric Wool Blazer get pulled out a few times each season. However, one can't wear these items too often, they're just too distinctive.

I haven't always thought it was worth my time to spend a lot of effort on basics, but the act of making beautiful basics has grown on me lately. There is a certain pleasure to making and wearing a simple, beautiful pieces that fit well and are made with quality materials with thoughtful details.

I find it harder to blog these quiet makes that I wear everyday. It seems much more exciting to post something eye-catching, made with a complex pattern and and exotic print. But I enjoy reading other people's posts on basics, so I should really be better about it. I've enjoyed reading the Summer of Basics posts by Fringe Association and their partners, and all of the other bloggers and instagrammers who have joined in to #summerofbasics . I think it is a much needed acknowledgement that simple, lovely basics are just as worthy of notice as the other creative projects we engage in. Perhaps more important!

On that note, my next few posts will be devoted to showing some of the wardrobe basics I've been sewing up this summer.

There are lots of woven tank patterns to choose from, but the one I've latched onto is the Tessuti Kate. I have a definite soft spot for Tessuti patterns. I love how they almost assume you are going to sew them up in linen or something similar, and in this day and age, I feel like a hand-drawn pattern is gutsy and cool. I've talked about the pattern quite a bit in this post, so I'll leave out the gritty details.

I made these three Kates in June, and they have been in heavy rotation ever since. The are all in linen from Emmaonesock, and the floral and denim were discounted roll-ends. The floral one doesn't get worn as much, it is almost too pretty for daily wear in my current rather minimal aesthetic, but the striped linen and the denim-y linen are what I've been living in.

I've modified the Kate slightly. I always make the view with the higher neckline, I just prefer this look right now. I skip the back closure-- while it is lovely, I don't need it, and if I have a button there, it just gets tangled up in my hair. I always add about an inch of length. The striped and the floral tops have been made more "swing-y" by grading out a size from under the arm to the hem, while the denim-y linen one keeps the original boxy shape. I really like the look of this silhouette but on certain days this just feels a bit too close on my belly.

The mitered side vent is a lovely detail on the Kate, and I love having this as an option, but I frequently improvise other hems. On the floral one, I cut the hem totally straight and did a narrow hem (to conserve fabric!). The striped one keeps the vent and mitered corners.

The denim-y one has a hi-lo hem, which was sort of an accident. I lengthened the top by two inches instead of one, which for some reason I thought would be a good idea, but after wearing it I realized that it was hitting my body at an awkward place. So I belatedly hemmed the front up higher than the back. 

The roll end that I made the floral linen top out of was not quite a yard. I probably should have passed on this, since I knew the pieces wouldn't fit, but it was such a lovely print that I wouldn't have bought if it wasn't on sale. To make it work, I ended up cutting a strip off-grain and adding it to the center back. 

I'm wearing the striped linen Kate right now! Dear readers, what are your favorite tops for summer? Do you have a TNT pattern or a favorite store-bought option?


  1. Great Tops! I'm always interested in basics. As a matter of fact, I started sewing, because it was hard to find even simple t-shirts to fit my tall, triangle shaped body. If the shoulders fit, the belly was tight - and everything was always too short.

    I do have a "knock it out fast" TNT that I use over and over for a simple, daily elbow-length tee. I think I originally printed it out, using "cochenille garment designer" software, making adjustments as I went along. Here's a post I did about it some time ago on my neglected blog:

    :-) Chris

    1. I love how simple your tee is! I need to add one of those to my pattern stash. My current tee is pretty simple... but it still has sleeves and a front and back, and all of that takes time.

  2. I especially like the print one and love the way you made it work!