Buttercup Esther shorts, Camilla camisole, and neoprene Tokyo jacket

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, that I am a huge fan of Tessuti Fabrics. It was this shop that got me hooked on beautiful fabrics in the first place. In 2012, I’d been sewing for about 18 months (just bibs, bags, and baby clothes, all in quilting weight cotton) when I spotted an advertisement for the annual Tessuti Awards. I’m still not sure what made me think I could do it, but making the decision to enter was a turning point in my sewing and in my belief in the fact that I could take my abilities (limited as they were) anywhere I wanted. The dress I made that year was ok. It looked pretty decent from afar but the construction was a disgrace, especially on the inside. It was the first time that I’d made ‘adult’ clothes in ‘adult’ fabrics (read silk!) and yet, I jumped head first into drafting a dress from scratch. But needless to say, from that moment on I was gone, hook line and sinker.


But fabrics aside, Tessuti patterns are something different entirely. I don’t buy a lot of patterns because usually I have an idea of what I want to make and then end up using a simple design that I can modify to suit what I want, or I end up drafting/draping the design myself (in my own muddly self-taught way!).

Tessuti patterns are timeless and beautifully designed. I always learn some clever construction technique when I sew them. And I’m not sure if this is common knowledge, but I believe some of the designs are from a lovely Sydney designer who used to own a few very popular boutiques before retiring.

I’ve sewn Tessuti’s Suzy pants before (pre-blogging days), their Chloe pants, and now, I’ve just discovered the Camilla camisole, Esther shorts, and Tokyo jacket. I’ve been living in the shorts this summer, and have just finished my third pair.

 

I’m not usually a shorts kind of gal, but this season I can’t seem to get enough of them, particularly the high waisted variety, including culottes and skorts. These Esther shorts were made using a size 10 waist but I graded them down to an 8 in the hips. I ended up nipping the front and back crotch seams in a little to narrow the waist a bit more (a little end point adjustment). The fit on these Esthers isn’t perfect but mostly because I should have just sewn a straight size 8. I actually made this pair first before my print version (a very wearable muslin if you must). Having sewn a couple of Tessuti patterns before, I’m pretty confident with the way their designs fit me around the waist and bum. I’ve since sewn another two pairs of perfectly fitting size 8’s without any modifications. The second pair is blogged here.

 

I made one other simple modification to these shorts. I added a front overlay for a more abstract, skortish look and I shortened the hem by a few inches. The gorgeous buttercup yellow, cotton sateen is from MOOD fabrics. I’m totally obsessed with yellow right now!

 

This is the perfect example of me buying a length of fabric for my girls and then using it for myself. Believe it of not, this watermelon splash of delish from Tessuti Fabrics is actually pure polyester. But it is seriously the most deceptive, drapey, charmeuse-like polyester I have ever encountered. It wasn’t the fabric I was going to use for my Camilla. I actually had the little silk satin beauty below in mind, but I wasn’t even going to risk breathing on it until I’d done a muslin first.


I cut a straight size 10 in this pattern and only added 2cm to the length. It is all cut on the bias so the pieces look very wide as you cut them, but then they lengthen as they hang out. I always worry about simple pieces like this because the design really has to be spot on or they can look terrible, particularly when you opt to make it on the bias, with no other frills or distracting patterns to hide behind.

I was very impressed with the cut of this top. It fits beautifully and feels lovely to wear. I will be making this one again.

 

I’d been thinking about this jacket for a while now, and was going to sew it irrespective of Indie Month. I love the relaxed look of it in drapey fabrics and yet, I’m also quite enamoured with the way it looks in more structured materials. Two versions of this particular jacket that really stood out for me were Sallie’s in her hand painted silk, and Kirsty’s version, in the fabric of the year.

I know there are a few other kimono style jackets out there right now, but with kimono sleeves being so simple to draft yourself, I look for something a bit special if I’m going to purchase such a pattern. The stand out points of this jacket are the clever construction of it with those pockets, sleeve cuffs and collar. No hand stitching, but a wee bit of stitching in the ditch, and this jacket is as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.

My first plan was to sew this jacket in some lovely ivory wool suiting from MOOD, and trim it with my silk satin beauty. But somewhere along the line, I was seduced by this amazing sport lux neoprene from Tessuti. Oonaballoona may have played a part in my neoprene switch. I think her BHL blazer is the goods! In any case, at this point, I also decided to throw all my sensibilities out the window and use faux leather as the contrast.

I cut the jacket in a size M, but graded the bottom hem down to an S. I also eliminated the slight curve of the back seam to cut on the fold instead, and added a 1cm wedge to adjust for my broad back. I was after a straighter (more cocoon) look. The rest of the jacket was sewn as per the instructions. I did find the sewing a little difficult at times because of the bulkiness of the materials I was sewing with. The pattern recommends a lightweight fabric like crepe de chine!

I do NOT like sewing with faux leather. It grips and warps as you sew (even with a walking foot) and pin marks (or mistake stitches) show up forever! On the plus side though, it doesn’t fray at all, so to reduce bulk, I just trimmed the inside collar seam instead of folding it over. And I just stitched the cuffs straight on, rather than constructing them to fold over.

 Geez woman, have you heard of an iron?!!! Try to ignore the back crease!

 
 
 

13 thoughts on “Buttercup Esther shorts, Camilla camisole, and neoprene Tokyo jacket

  1. Anonymous

    I bought some Japanese cotton from Tessuti for the Tokyo jacket despite it being heavier than the suggested fabrics. The sales assistant assured me it would be fine, just a different look to the pattern envelope. But you've provided a preview of sorts and I can't wait to get started – thanks!

    Spud.

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  2. Debbie Iles

    That will look amazing! I've seen the Japanese cottons they have had there. Kristy's version that I linked to within the post was a heavy 'denim' style/weight cotton.

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  3. lisa g.

    what a great outfit! i love how the colors work together. i'm particularly taken with the cami. i've been wanting to try out bias cut, and the cami looks to be the perfect thing!

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  4. Kirsty

    Thanks for the link! That fabric really was a my favourite fabric last year althought I think I'm going to pull my skirt apart and make those shorts of yours! I am so hooked on the heavier versions of the Tokyo jacket and yours looks fantastic. It works so well with your skort. You must do a tutorial for that overlapping piece.

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  5. Debbie Iles

    You're most welcome. I loved that Tokyo jacket of yours. I might do a tutorial – I'm thinking of making another one (I wear it so much)….I just have to remember what I did first. 😉

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