Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Drop Waisted Xmas Dress

Before we sign off for 2009, I thought it best to post my Xmas frock, made initially for Tessuti Melbourne's Christmas party and also worn on Christmas Day for the family festivities. This dress has become a bit of a's just so darn comfortable! The style is an easy drop waisted dress - a style I haven't worn since the 80's! I still love this style for my shape and I've noticed that this style dress is making a bit of a comeback.

I decided to make the dress in Floral Snowflakes a printed silk crepe de chine piece I found on the remnant tables at Chatswood. No pattern was required - I traced out a favourite razor back tank top I'd bought - which is 61cm finished length (from base of neck) - cut the gathered part of the dress to measure double the width of the base of the top - 2 x rectangles 122.5cm wide and 38cm long.

The remnant piece wasn't long enough to cut self bias binding, so I used a 15mm satin rayon bias binding in black. I did however have just enough to cut out a 20cm wide strip the length of the fabric 140cm - folded it in half (right sides together) stitched it around the edges leaving a small gap to bag it out.... Note: you want to end up with a finished piece that is approx 135cm x 9cm. After ironing it out flat , I made sure to press the seam back approx 1cm - I wanted a lovely folded edge particularly on the top of the frill. Then I box pleated the whole strip (making 4cm wide pleats with 1.5cm return on each side of pleat) and stitched the pleats down 1.5cm in from the edge.

I added the pleated strip around the neckline, starting it 10cm down from my shoulder seam - also lining it up to sit out 1.5cm past my finished neckline (when positioning the stitch line on the pleated frill should line up with the bottom edge of the neck binding). I pinned the pleated strip around the neckline until I come to the end of my frill piece and stitched it into place (over the first seam line). My frill finishes two-thirds around the back neck. I really like the effect and it adds a nice touch to an otherwise very simple style dress.

I hope that all made sense!!?! If I've confused you terribly with my instructions, feel free to let me know if you would like me to do a step by step tutorial (with pics) of the frill detail -just leave me a comment. Come to think of it I wouldn't mind making a new top with the same neckline detail or this dress in a linen....hmmm the possibilities are endless!

Thankyou again for stopping by to check out the latest news at Tessuti and for leaving your encouraging comments throughout the last year.

Happy Sewing and Happy New Year 2010 everyone!

Colette and Lisa xxx

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas.....

Just in case you are not on our email list, here's to let you know the trading hours for our Tessuti stores over the holiday season:

Friday, 25th Dec 2009 – Closed

Saturday, 26th Dec 2009 - Closed

Sunday, 27th Dec 2009 - Closed

Monday, 28th Dec 2009 - Closed

Tuesday, 29th Dec 2009 - Open

Wednesday, 30th Dec 2009 - Open

Thursday, 31st Dec 2009 - Open - Chatswood store only

Friday, 1st Jan 2010 - Closed

Saturday, 2nd Jan 2010 - Open

On behalf of all Tessuti staff, we would like to wish you a merry and safe Christmas.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lisa's Vogue 8184 Xmas Frock

Here's a peek at Lisa's strapless dress made especially for our little soiree last Thursday. She chose Liberty Tana Lawn Tooth Parade for retro style Vogue 8184 (view F, minus straps). Isn't it fabulous?

Lisa made up a *muslin first, sans boning, and it was a perfect fit ( *the muslin - cut out in a cotton from Lisa's stash turned out so well - it's now going to be another version with contrast straps and bodice cuff) . The final version, however, was not quite as straightforward. After adding the boning to the lining, the bodice sat out quite a bit above the bust line which was not nearly the snug fit she was after. By removing the boning along the side seams (only), she was then able to take in the extra room there.

Lisa says...I don't actually think the boning is absolutely necessary for the other versions of this pattern, particularly those with straps. It definitely helps to create a lovely shape though. And don't let the boning put you off this pattern - it's really very simple to sew in. After I made this dress, I spoke to Georgia who is a five version veteran of this pattern (here are two versions) and she only applies boning from the waist to just below the bust. So experiment a little, and do what works best for you and your shape.

Who would imagine making up a Liberty lawn in a fitted strapless bodice dress with boning??? Well done Lisa.

Monday, December 21, 2009

And the winner

of the Beyond Biba DVD is.......

Congratulations Keri!

We'll be in touch with you very soon to get your postal address.

NOTE: A huge and special thankyou to James Collie from November Films for offering this great giveaway.

We're all anticipating the release of the film here in Australia.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tessuti Melbourne - 2009 Christmas Party

What a fantastic night! We held our very first Tessuti Melbourne Christmas party at Seamstress in Lonsdale Street .... a fitting (pardon the pun!) venue don't you think?

Of course we all donned our Tessuti frocks for the night. This is what Leisl, Hannah and Nichola wore. Stay tuned for Lisa's dress in this Liberty cotton and my new favourite drop waisted dress.


Photos courtesy of Nikkishell.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jenny meets Nikkishell

Check out Nichola's latest post about Jenny, the latest Burdastyle pattern. It's a fabulously classic pencil skirt design that comes in three variations. This one is made up in our cotton/elastane Swimming Paisley.


Heading down to Melbourne...

today.... looking forward to catching up with all the girls.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gift giving made with love.

Cute little dresses made by Sarah in Japanese 100% Cotton 'Magnified Dot' in Night and 'Winter Nights'. So lovely and a wonderful gift idea.

Contrast details

How's your Christmas shopping/sewing going?


Sunday, December 13, 2009

High School Students Sewing Course - 2010 Summer School Holidays

Bernadette Doherty, a Sydney dressmaker with over 25 years experience, currently runs small sewing classes from her workroom in Roseville, Sydney.

Bernadette has decided to organise a new range of classes specifically designed for High School students with an interest in sewing and those currently studying Textiles and Design - to assist with improving students sewing skills by teaching the basics of garment constructing.

These short courses will be run during school vacations, the first commencing on 6th January 2010. The 10 hour course will run for three weeks on Wednesdays commencing at 1.00 pm. The first two sessions will be three hour sessions and the final one four hours.

Classes groups of no more than three students, so book in early!

For costs and more details visit Bernadette's website

Saturday, December 12, 2009


To our warm, funny, thoughtful and beautiful Gabriella. Happy 13th Birthday darling...this is for you.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Beyond Biba - Special Edition DVD and GIVEAWAY!!!

You may remember I posted about a documentary Beyond Biba back in October. I just received an email from the one of the producers of the film letting me know that they are releasing 1000 special edition DVD's of the film, all orders will be posted out by the 14th December and the first 500 copies will be signed by Barbara Hulanicki herself.

So, if you're stuck for ideas for a great Christmas present and want something out of the ordinary, then consider giving this.


NEW UPDATE: The producers are offering to give a signed copy of Beyond Biba DVD to one lucky Sew Tessuti winner!!! Simply answer the question below :

" The Pink Gingham dress which launched Biba in 1964 was a huge success but how many were sold in the first two weeks?"

Answers will be received by 12pm AEST, *Sunday 20th December, the winner will be chosen randomly and announced shortly thereafter.

PS. If you're not a blogger please leave your name and an email address so that we can contact you.

Goodluck everyone.


* We're extending the closing date for the giveaway to Sunday 20th. Everyone should get a chance to win this fabulous DVD for Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feature Fabric of the Week - Laminated Cotton Spot

Thinking of making some Christmas gifts in the fourteen (fourteen?!? That's FOURTEEN!!!) days left before the jolly red man arrives? Just arrived in-store is this laminated cotton in navy, sky blue, green, pink, black and red. Perfect for aprons, pencil cases, totes, coin purses, bibs, make-up bags, tablecloths, a kiddie raincoat and hat. Or if you're a messy eater, you could even make a wipe-down frock. Oh man, the possibilities are endless....

Available in all stores and soon to be on-line.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Alex's hand-painted silks

I have something I wanted to show you. What do you think of these handpainted silk designs that a very young and talented Alex created back in high school (she's now in her early 20s)? Her mother Eva has made every single design into garments and you can sometimes find her in them at Tessuti Surry Hills....they're truly incredible!

Alex handpaints on silk habutai, crepe de chine, georgettes, duppions and raw tussah silk on natural or coloured bases. Using silk fabric paints and gutta to outline her designs.

These designs below have been hand-painted on silk crepe de chine and the spot design is on silk duppion.

Anyone interested ( DT students too) in learning to hand paint on silk or to have a one-off design created for you .. can email Alex -

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pattern Review - Vogue 8530

For any of you wondering about Emma (who is living in Singapore these days) I recently received an email from her including these pics of her with Zac who's now 9 months ...sheeesh time flies! Life in Singas definitely agrees with them don't you think?

Apparently Emma's had to sew up a few more cool and summery pieces for the hot days...and nights!!! Here's a great dress made up in our 100% cotton Eyeball Garden in Vogue 8530 with no changes made except for the length and a self belt added and says that the pattern was 'great and very simple'. I've seen this pattern made up in a jersey knit by Katherine, love that it works so well in wovens too.

Missing you Emma and I'll be working on getting you some samples soon. We hope you have a glorious 1st Christmas with Zac.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thankyou Lisa!

Have I told you enough times that I loooove my earrings?


Daily Sewing Book - Lemon Licorice slip dress

This is my first venture into the world of Japanese Pattern Books, an easy slip dress pattern (#G.02 from Daily Sewing Book) made up in our Italian 100% silk crepe de chine Lemon Licorice. I love the print and wanted to make it up for last Saturday's Christmas party - but as usual I left it to the absolute last minute and had to find something quick and easy to whip up in a day!!!!!

And this pattern was perfect for that - first thing Saturday morning I traced out the pattern onto our spot'n'cross paper, adding seam allowances and pivoting extra width and flare to the hem of the dress - slightly more in the front than back - similar to a dress I had. It was easy enough to work out what pattern pieces I needed from the diagrams and referenced back to Label Free's post on translated Japanese terms. I cut out the largest size (size 11) but although it still worked out in this style I'm sure that next time I'll make it a size smaller.

I then cut out the crepe de chine sandwiched between spot and cross paper - to stop the fabric from slipping off grain and to have the bias strips cut evenly. The dress took hardly anytime to sew up and I love wearing it, just perfect to wear during our hot and humid summer days and looks great worn with heels, as it does with my new favourite Lombok plaited strap sandals. Now i just have to work out what to make for the Tessuti Melbourne Christmas party and give myself a bit more time...wishful thinking :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ladies and ladies, we have a winner...

Congrats to Vicki, our Blog Anniversary Giveaway winner!

"Happy 2nd Blog Birthday :-) My most used pattern is Vogue 7802, a great Betzina A-Line skirt that I must have made about 4 times in various Tessuti stretch denims - it is a very flattering cut with nice seam detail panels. Vicki"

Vicki, I'll be in touch with you soon!

We were thrilled with all the comments (a Sew Tessuti record!) and I've been thoroughly enjoying my introduction to a whole lot of new patterns and tips. Hope you have too.

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