Tutti Fruiti, Aw Tessuti!

I have known about Tessuti patterns for a while now, but for some reason I have always passed them by. Their designs always seemed styled for an older, more conservative wearer, and they also seemed better suited for other bodies to pull off, bodies that were perhaps leggier or less stocky or more willowy than my own. Unfortunately most of us have hangups about our physiques, and mine is wishing that I was taller- although if I was, I am sure that I would focus on some other thing about my body that I wished was different. THAT’S THE PATRIARCHY FOR YOU.

Ahem.

So anyways, even though I had never bought their patterns, I do follow Tessuti’s awesome instagram account where they share lots of gorgeous fabrics sold in their store, along with photos of their fully constructed patterns. Recently they came out with a new design called the Annie Dress, and I could no longer convince myself that these were patterns that wouldn’t work on my body. The Annie Dress is flowy, with a beautiful bodice overlay option, and the detail of the familiar Tessuti pocket, whose shape is stitched on the outside of many of their garments. I liked that the dress, while long, was paired with a slimming shape on top to keep it from swallowing up more petite figures. But just to be on the safe side, I shortened my dress a tad on the bottom so that it hit above my ankles, and I gave it a slightly more curved hemline.

anniedress

I really love how this dress came out. I used an opaque lightweight cotton from The Fabric Store for the main part of the dress, and a small cut of white cotton lace that I got as a thoughtful extra from lafinchfabrics on an order I had received many months back. Lafinchfabrics likes to stick extra notions and bonus pieces in some of their packages as a thank you to their customers, and it has definitely kept me coming back time and time again. When I saw this pretty white lace in the box with my other fabric items, I had no idea what I would make with it because my experience with lace is limited to stretch fabrics which I use for lingerie. But even though this pretty stuff sat in my fabric drawer for a while, it did NOT get konmaried in the big purge, and it ended up being the perfect detail for the Annie Dress!

anniedress4

I enjoyed making this garment almost as much as I enjoy wearing it. Tessuti patterns have very clear instructions that aren’t fussy at all, and they have introduced me to a lot of interesting new techniques, like the use of Vilene paper (which after this make I opted not to use again, but I like having the option) and creating thick, flat strips of bias for the hems and edges of the garment- and they don’t make you iron folds onto your tape, hallelujah! The construction methods are simple and easy to follow, and they have a particular way of inserting pockets which creates a very smooth line that I love. I also appreciate that the pattern pieces are hand drawn and handwritten- something about that little detail feels sweet and familiar, and serves as a reminder that a real live artist is behind the design, helping me bring the garment to life.

anniedress3

The wearability of this dress is fantastic- it’s comfortable enough to walk the dog in but has enough thoughtful design elements to feel appropriate in virtually any setting.

anniedress2

After the success of this pattern, I immediately bought more of their designs- the Ruby Top/Dress combo, their long line cardigan, and their Demi Pant. Of the two of these pieces that I have made, I am pretty happy with how they came out.

rubytop2

My biggest mistake with the Ruby Top was to use silk fabric. The striped mint green textile (also a purchase from The Fabric Store) is stunning, soft and supple, but I just really hate working with silk, and usually when I hate something it’s because I am not very good at it. I have since read about all kinds of tricks used for working with slippery fabrics, like Lladybird’s suggestion of using a spray-on stabilizer on the fabric before cutting out pattern pieces, but I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. Anyways, not only was I forced to use a difficult fabric for this pattern, but I also bought a cut of fabric that was technically too small for the pattern, so I had to fudge the pieces  a lot, and ultimately the blouse had to be cut shorter than necessary to stretch my yardage as far as possible. This was the least fun project I have sewn in a long time thanks to my fabric choice, but the instructions for the top were clear, simple and easy to follow. My armhole binding looks dreadful, as the instructions require you to stitch in the ditch after folding the binding to the inside and the silk was just too unstable and would not stay in place for me.

rubytop

But the button closure detail in the back came out surprisingly good despite my finnicky fabric, and I don’t think that any of the terrible looking parts of my construction are very obvious to anyone but me.

rubytop1

When I make this again (in an easy-to-sew, law-abiding cotton!) I will probably adjust the armholes a bit in the front so that they don’t curve in as much; the design creates a pretty line along my arms and shoulders but all my brastraps sit further out on my chest than what this shirt is designed for, meaning that I am constantly having to push my straps in so that they don’t keep peeking out of the blouse. But that should be a simple adjustment.

The Demi Pant is the other pattern I made from Tessuti’s arsenal of designs, and it has been a struggle not to wear them every single day.

demipant1

Since the fit is so relaxed and loose, the pants are wearable even on the hottest LA days, and my fabric choice, a linen+rayon blend, is perfect for keeping the sun off my skin while still being breathable. I was afraid that the silhouette as designed would look huge on me so I cut out a decent amount of width in the pant legs starting from the top of the thighs and tapering in to the ankles, making sure that the openings at the bottom would still be wide enough for my feet to go through. In adjusting the width of the legs, I ended up cutting out so much of the ankle pattern pieces that I couldn’t really follow the design lines for the pleats at the bottom.

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After several attempts to recreate the original notches and lines, I ended up just constructing the pants as written and, once pieced together, I created my own pleat lines for the ankles which worked out beautifully. I think the shape looks great, and I love the pockets and the super comfortable elasticized waist. These pants give me the comfort of wearing sweatpants without the reality of wearing sweatpants. That is not to shame anybody who wears sweatpants- I LOVE sweatpants! I wear them all the time when it’s cold outside and I don’t plan on leaving the house. But this demi pant is a perfect way to feel comfortable and still look like I put a little bit of effort in, and that might be my favorite kind of pattern!

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12 replies
  1. Portman
    Portman says:

    I haven’t tried Tessuti yet, but also follow them online. After seeing these pieces, I’m going to have to try them! Gorgeous!

    And, hey, have you tried using washaway wonder tape to tape down your bias tape? I use it for my knits (as it stabilizes and keeps things from waving) and also for finishings on slippery material (no pins and everything is really stable). If your fabric is super, super delicate you can’t pull it away and retape, having to get it positioned right the first time. Otherwise, it’s re-positionable, and also washes away without a trace! Totally helps getting the finishes perfect!

    Reply
  2. Renee
    Renee says:

    I *think* you have a Bernina, no? I just scrolled through your instagram to check. But, instead got distracted and wanted to comment on posts that are six months old. Anywho, if you have the Bernina — and, are willing to give up a few meals, their walking foot is incredible. The walking food also comes with a stitch in the ditch foot which I think is the best I’ve ever used. I am absolutely not a blind Bernina Fan Gurrrrl either. I’ll sew on any machine and my preference overall is vintage mechanical. But, when it comes to feet, Bernina wins hands down.

    Reply
    • Jasika Nicole
      Jasika Nicole says:

      I DO have a bernina and I DO have a walking foot, but I had no idea there was an attachment for stitching in the ditch! That’s amazing! Let me go find this thing and put it on my christmas list….thank you, renee!

      Reply
  3. Genevieve
    Genevieve says:

    Nice Tessuti crush going on here! I made up the Demi (need to blog them still), and I know what you mean….I have worn them 3x in the same week…eek! I just figure if the people I see each day are different, it doesn’t matter. LOL
    x,
    G

    Reply
  4. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Your Annie is so cute! Love the lace panel. With my first Ruby top I decided to hand stitch my binding as I just can’t possible get a nice finish from the right side stitching in the ditch. I bitched about it the whole time as I hate hand sewing but it looks amazing I must say. For future versions I then added some extra seam allowance so that I can do some normal binding (because as drafted the visible binding does add a little extra width to the armscyes).

    Reply
  5. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    All look fabulous. That blouse, despite the hardship of working with silk, is very flatering. I have 2 questions for you. 1- folks commented something about “sewing in the ditch?” I am not familiar with that term. Can someone enlighten me? Any webpage with info on that? 2- What type of fabric did you use for the demi pants? They look so great and comfy!

    Thanks for continuing to be so inspiring!

    Reply
    • Jasika Nicole
      Jasika Nicole says:

      Thanks! The demi pants, as mentioned in the original post, are made of a rayon and linen blend.
      “Stitching in the ditch” means you are putting a line of stitching directly inside the seam of where you have previously stitched in order to catch and sew the folded bias down on the other side. When done slowly and carefully, the new stitches will be hidden inside the “ditch” of the seam, essentially creating an invisible stitch. As with pretty much everything else sewing-related, google is your friend- simply typing the phrase into any search engine will turn up hundreds of results with pictures and tutorials. Good luck.

      Reply
      • Lisa
        Lisa says:

        Thanks so much for clarifying that term and. Describing the fabric. I really appreciate that. I mostly learned to sew in french, so some things don’t quite translate. ;0)

        Reply
  6. Sarah Scott
    Sarah Scott says:

    Great reviews of Tessuti patterns, they all look great on you! I recently made the Annie Dress in a dreamy Nani Iro double gauze, and I, too, found the pattern to be well written and simple. I love it so much that another is in the line up ( made in a linen that I indigo dyed) but I’m going to make it knee length, and take some of the width to make it slightly more figure flattering.

    Reply

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  1. […] it, as not being my style. But when I saw so many beautiful versions cropping up online (e.g. here, here and here) I started to like the style more and more. Not knowing if I would like the look on […]

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