Category Archives: Kanerva

More Esthers and some extreme Kanerva hacking


I’m not going to say much about these Esther shorts. I’ve made them before, here and here. A straight size 8 fits me perfectly with absolutely no modifications, apart from taking a little off the length. This time, I used up my leftover culottes fabric. I struggled a little in getting the grid lines on grain, but it’s near enough to keep me happy. 



But let’s talk about this top. It’s made using a crisp white Italian shirting from Mood. And would you believe that this pattern actually started out as a Kanerva! I’ll be honest though. I basically just used the sleeveless bodice front and back pieces as a block, keeping the length and waist darts the same, but changing everything else about it.

  • adjusted the shoulder slope and moved the seams in towards my neck significantly
  • changed the width of the shoulder seams
  • decreased the bust darts a little
  • converted it to a v-neck
  • changed the shape of the front and back armscye
  • added a self-drafted hi-low peplum
  • faced the neckline and armscye in one
  • added a CF seam for the stitching details, and to enable me to face it properly
CF stitching details. This also helps keep the facing sitting flat.

But it’s my facing that you might be most interested in. Facing it all in one creates a beautifully clean finish on both the armscye and the neckline and eliminates the need to line the top or bind it. I always interface my facing and then understitch before turning it out the right way.

Inside out from the front

Inside out from the back

 I’m super happy with this make. The top is easy-to-wear and perfect for slipping on in summer. I love the cool crispness of white cotton. And you already know how much I’m loving my Esthers this season. I can see myself getting some good wear out of this outfit in the coming months. 

A lace Kanerva hack and Rite of Spring Shorts

To continue calling this top a Kanerva may mislead some, given the amount of alterations that has been made to it. But I think it is important to still give reference to where it came from in the beginning, and to demonstrate just how crazy you can get with this pattern.

Firstly, the gorgeous lace is a product of Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney (oh how I miss my weekly visits!). There were two types of cotton laces used in this top and both were purchased as remnants. But I do have to thank the lovely Colette for an extra little gift of circle lace several months back, which meant I had enough to turn this top into a sleeved version.

For the photos, I paired the top with some Rite of Spring shorts I’d made last year.

But onto my long list of modifications now. The changes I made to my Kanerva were:

  • changed the shoulder slope by 1cm
  • increased the shoulder seam length by 1cm (my broad shoulder adjustment)
  • dropped the neckline by about 2-3cm at the front and 2cm at the back
  • removed the front waist dart and adjusted the bust dart accordingly
  • slashed to move the bust dart to the top of the bodice
  • increased the length by about 1-2cm
  • removed the back buttons to cut on fold at CB instead
  • skipped the peplum and self-drafted a short bottom panel instead
  • drew a front panel into the bodice and split into two pattern pieces to sew together

And that’s it! However, I should also point out an observation I made when wearing this top. Cotton eyelet lace isn’t a stretch fabric. But it does have a lot more mechanical stretch than I’d anticipated. For this reason, the top is a lot looser than the Liberty print version I’d sewn before. I will definitely take this into account next time I sew with lace.

Dressing up my culottes with a cropped Kanerva

Now this was the top I’d originally intended to wear with my culottes, before I was seduced by the novelty factor. If you look closely, you can see the back buttons match those on my waistband. This time, I’ve glamorised the old culottes a little with some sky high heels and a cropped Kanerva by Named.

I really like the Kanerva top. My first one was made in a lovely Liberty of London from Tessuti. It fits well enough but I was keen to try it in a fabric with more stretch. I chose a lightweight ponte knit for this version, purchased online from

Ponte knit is so comfortable and practical to wear and it suits the Kanerva perfectly. The cropped version is a great length for me as it is short, but doesn’t really show any tummy if you wear a high waist pant (bear in mind that I am 5″10 so the cropped version will come down longer on some). I made a few small changes to the pattern again this time. I started with a size 40, then:

  • lengthened the arms by 3cm
  • took about 2cm off the front neckline and shoulder seams
  • dropped the back neckline by 1cm
  • narrowed the waist a little by taking 1cm off each side seam
  • I also removed the front waist dart and increased the bust dart ever so slightly
  • I cheated with the back. The buttons are just for show. I overlapped the back edges to keep the centre back where it should be, and created two seams (one false) on each side. I then sewed the buttons straight down the middle without buttonholes.



I’m back!!!!! And with a Kanerva to show for it.

So for my first sewing project in my new home abroad, I chose to make a Kanerva Peplum Blouse by Named. I’d had my eye on this pattern for a while now, and it felt like the perfect confidence builder for a return to my machine. It’s amazing how strange sewing feels when you use new equipment. I’m also still waiting to purchase my overlocker so I’m finding it a little slower having to consider different seam finishes.

But before I start talking Kanervas, I must first extend a big thank you to Kirsty from Top Notch for this pattern discovery. I saw her bejewelled Kanerva a little while back and was instantly in love. The style struck me as so practical and pretty, but of course, Kirsty’s choice of Liberty print was just gobsmackingly beautiful as well!

I had some Liberty of London in my stash, purchased from Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney a while back. I didn’t love it quite as much as Kirsty’s but it was still very pretty and perfectly suited to a Kanerva. As much as I LOVE Liberty fabrics, I have to admit that I don’t usually think of it as a fabric style that suits me or my personal wardrobe. With it’s delicate florals and pretty vintage feel, it is a fabric that I mostly consider for my girls.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my Kanerva. It is a very simple and satisfying project to make. I compared the bodice pieces of the actual pattern to a perfectly fitting self-drafted shirt block I already owned. I made my Kanerva up in the EU size 40 which very closely matched my measurements. I only needed to make a few adjustments to the original.

  • lengthened the shoulder seams by 1cm to accommodate my broad back and shoulders
  • rotated the sleeve cap forward by 1cm (for my forward rounded shoulders)
  • narrowed the waist by 1cm.
  • lengthened the arms by 3cm  

The fit is better than I expected. (I’m always prepared for the worst when it comes to me and shirts). I find it very comfortable and only a little restrictive, mainly in the arms, but this is really only due to the lack of stretch in my choice of fabric, and the fact that I’m not used to wearing anything without significant stretch. I can just manage to slip the shirt over my head without undoing the buttons, which is fantastic. Although I do need to strike some yoga poses in order to undo the buttons in order to take the top off. The instructions actually suggest that this top is best sewn in a fabric that has some stretch, to allow for ease of dressing. I agree wholeheartedly!

So would I do anything differently next time? I’d probably only change my choice of fabric to have a go at using a knit in this style. Even so, I won’t rule out making another one up in a Liberty, or perhaps even a silk crepe de chine. The discerning viewer might also notice that the peplum flap is missing in my top. This was not intentional, just due to a moment when I was freestyling rather than reading the instructions as I should have been. The top works well with or without this flap but I quite like the look of it as a design feature and would definitely include it next time. I’m thinking I might also have a go at making a cropped Kanerva for summer.