Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Valerie

Here's my version of Valerie. I'm going to put my hand up here and confess to making a total wadder that preceded this version. You know when you love a fabric so much and your head says "that fabric's probably not going to work for this pattern" but you go ahead and do it anyway? Yeah, that. Anyway, moving on...


My subsequent (and infinitely more successful) version is made up in a rayon georgette that goes by the name of Shattered Dreams. Look, it even has mysterious looking women all over it. I don't normally go for faces on fabrics but I have inexplicably loved this one ever since it arrived. I'm neither experienced nor proficient when it comes to dealing with lightweight fabrics so I was pretty careful during the cutting stage (read: used an insane amount of pins when attaching pattern to fabric). It all came together very easily but I did have some issues with the binding. Because the fabric was so light, it moved very easily during bias-cutting stage. This made for some pretty irregular cutting which resulted in my first round of strips being too thin, which resulted in me cutting out another lot that were a quarter inch wider (but next time, I'm doing this - freakin' genius! Thanks for the tip Di).

The other tricky aspect, for me, was joining the binding tail ends. Now Colette has done this tutorial on attaching and joining the double fold binding (which is great, boss!) but if you're having trouble and it's all a bit fiddly and you're not clear on exactly which direction you need to stitch, here's my tip. Pin your binding to wherever it's going, measure and mark your binding join points, unpin the binding completely from your neckline/armhole, do a visual check to make sure you'll be sewing your join in the right direction (and not twisting the binding in the process), and THEN sew your join (I'll just add in here the vilene tip is a pretty damn good one).  After that's done, attach your finished loop of binding to your armhole/neckline and complete the sewing process. Man, that explanation feels (and looks!) a bit wordy so I hope it made sense. In a nutshell, I just found it a lot easier to join my binding ends together when it was completely detached from the armhole/neckline.

I love Valerie. I do. But my favourite part about her? The gathered dart...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gridlock Sewing Competition

Since launching our Gridlock sewing competition last week, we've had a few emails asking for more info and clarification on judging guidelines and design criteria. The truth is that we're deliberately being vague because we want you to make whatever YOU like! Sew something that you'd like to wear, something that suits the fabric and something that suits you. And if we like it too, you might just find yourself as the winner of $1000!

The following Terms and Conditions apply to enter the Gridlock Sewing Competition:

  • It is a condition of entry that the garment, images and any associated materials be permitted for promoting Tessuti and the images may be supplied to media for promotion.
  • The winning entrant gives permission for Tessuti to use images of themselves and the winning garment on the Tessuti website, blog and other promotional opportunities if required.
  • The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • If the winner is an entrant outside of Australia, money will be awarded at the current exchange rate equivalent to the AUD1000 prize relevant to the prize-winner's currency of residence.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Sew Inn - NEW skill building sessions at Tessuti, Melbourne

We recently decided that in 2013, we'd like to offer something new to our customers and to those of you who work in the CBD and are looking for a little working-week outlet. This idea has lead us to introduce a monthly 45 minute in-store session where you can come along and learn something new or just reinforce skills that you already know but might be feeling a little rusty on. Vanessa Lucas will be holding these lunchtime session, they're completely instructional and designed around building your sewing skill set. And best of all, it's FREE! Throughout the year, we'll hold sessions on different topics so if you'd love to have Vanessa talk on a specific topic, let us know and we'll see what we can do.

Our first session details are as follows:

Topic: Self bindings
Date: Fri 1st March
Time: 12:30 - 1:15pm (no food or drink allowed in-store so be sure to have your lunch before or after the session) Bookings are not required
Location: Tessuti Fabrics - Ground Floor, 141 Flinders Lane, Melbourne*

In our inaugural session, Vanessa will show you how to cut and join bias strips and then demonstrate how to use them to bind armholes, necklines and hems.

*At this stage, these sessions are only being held in our Melbourne store. Stay tuned for further details on Sydney events.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The clutch

Been on Pinterest lately? The world's gone all clutch-crazy. Check out this fabulous version, handmade by Melbourne staff member Brianna* and gifted to a fortuitous friend. The outer is a black French lace (Chanure Spiral Wheels - available in Melbourne only).

The citrus lining (beneath the lace) is our Canary silk crepe de chine (sold out) and the inner lining is a black silk duppion (available all stores).

Brianna used her own pattern but if you're wanting to make your own, there are some great online tutorials and patterns around. Here are just a few that I found via Pinterest:

Tuesday Leather Foldover Clutch
Fashionista Clutch Tutorial
Easy Envelope Clutch Tutorial
A clutch pattern by Nicole Mallalieu

Have you got any clutch-making links or tips to share?

*When Brianna's not making amazing clutches and working in our Melbourne store, she's designing, creating and running machine knitting workshops as part of her incredible knitwear label Jack of Diamonds. Check it out here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pattern Review - Drape Drape 2 (now in English) - pattern no.7

I'm totally in awe of this jersey dress, Tessuti Surry Hills customer Karen made up in our Italian Viscose/Elastane jersey  - Colour Slapping (sold out). 

The pattern used was pattern no.7 in Drape Drape 2 (NOW IN ENGLISH), the pattern is a clever two-piece pattern with open batwing sleeves. Karen chose to transform this dress pattern to a sleeveless version, personally I prefer her version better!

Ps. Don't forget our Gridlock Sewing Contest is running (ends April 3rd). To be in with a chance to win $1000 (AUD), see here for more details.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pattern Review: Vogue 8759 Men's Shirt

I received this lovely email from Rosalie last week:

Hello everyone at my most favourite fabric shop,

I have been creating madly in my new sewing room and I want to share my latest project. I have sewn for many years but had never tackled a man's shirt, but this fabric Vintage Jag Collection, needed to be made as a shirt. 

I used Vogue 8759 and I found the instructions easy to follow and I am really happy with the result. I would move the button placement slightly and maybe use a topstitching thread for the welted seam treatment but apart from those minor things the pattern fits really well and the shirt looks great on Stephen. Really very happy with the result.

Now what's next, more shirts or perhaps a enzyme washed linen shift for the hot days in the coming week.

Loving my holidays, loving the fabulous sewing room that I have waited a lifetime for, loving life really, what more could I want.

Cheers Rosalie

I'd be loving that sewing room too! Stephen looks great in his new shirt and gets top marks for creating this sewing space for you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Want to sew AND be in with a chance to win $1000?

Hey folks! We've sourced this fabulous fabric - Gridlock - through a prominent local designer. Compostion is 21% cotton, 77% poly and 2% polyurethane. It's a tricky one to photograph but the main colour is a kind of jacaranda blue (closest to Gutermann thread #218). It's the perfect weight for dresses, pants, jackets and skirts and we want to see what YOU can do with it! Our incentive? We'll choose our favourite garment and that person will win $1000 (that's in Australian dollars).

All we want you to do is design an outfit incorporating this fabric. Make it up however you like but make it just for you! Our brief is simply to create something stylish and appropriate as day wear. Both sides of the fabric can be used and for the duration of the contest, we've reduced the price to just AUD$12/m (originally $24/m). You're also welcome to incorporate another fabric or purchased item of clothing (e.g a shirt to go with the skirt you made). You can create a garment using a commerical pattern or an original design and there are no sizing restrictions. Entry is open to local and international sewing folk alike.

Make your garment/s, take up to ten great photos, email them to us at (Subject heading: 2013 Sewing Competition entry) and we'll upload them to our Pinterest competition board. Photo guidelines are as follows: 

Please ensure you include:
    •    at least one photo of your garment/s in the design/development stage
    •    at least one photo of the close up details of your design
    •    at least one photo of the stitching/construction inside the garment.
    •    only portrait photos (not landscape) as this will show your garment at its best.

Try to ...
    •    crop the photos to 500 pixels wide, 750 pixels high.
    •    submit photos that show off your creation, at least one front, side and rear photo.
    •    photograph the outfit being worn on a real person! (ie not a dressmaker's form).
    •    have a photo or two of the dress under construction.
    •    have a photo or two of close ups of the garment/s, to show features and the quality of the     construction.
    •    take the photos in natural light

Contest closes 11:59pm AEST Wed 3rd April which gives you 6 weeks to make something fabulous and have fun in process. If you have any questions, please email them to 

Go forth, sew and all the very best of luck!

PS Just a note to say that this contest is not replacing our annual Tessuti Awards. Details of our 2013 awards will be announced shortly after the conclusion of this sewing competition.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

White Check, once more (plus our giveaway winners!)

Loathe as I am to discuss the weather on this here blog, I will. But I'll keep it brief and just say it's been pretty damn hot here in Melbourne. The kind of hot that makes you want to walk around in your knickers when it's deeply impractical and entirely inappropriate to do so. So what's the next best thing for a girl to wear on a stinking hot day? My go-to is always the dress. And as it turns out, so is staff member Courtney's. Hers is made up in our linen/viscose blend White Check and the pattern has been taken from one of her blocks. Now we've blogged about this fabric twice before - once for my girl's dress and another time for a groom's shirt. That officially makes it good AND versatile. It's a (cream-y) white on white, self-woven gingham check that has a wonderful seersucker look with a soft, drapey handle. And it also dyes up a treat if white isn't your thing.


Thanks to all of you who left a comment on our Valentine's Day giveaway. Our winners are VivJM and Anonymous (mos12@optusnet...). Congrats guys! Please email us with your postal details and we'll send the fabric out to you soon.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fabric Feature Of The Week - Double Agent Scuba/Neoprene Fabric

 image (source)

image (source)

When I spotted this very cool scuba/neoprene fabric on our last overseas buying trip, the beautiful images I'd seen on Chiara Ferragni's blog - Blonde Salad - immediately popped into my head. I couldn't resist and had to grab it! 

Double Agent  is a tangerine/red polyester/nylon blend with a black backing which gives the fabric a soft padded texture and also allows for raw edges and outer seams to eliminate bulk. This fabric is also available in a bright turquoise colourway with a navy backing (Two Blue Wonder). These fabrics are perfect for jackets similar to this boxy style or tops like this simple version. 

For a jacket style similar to the above (source unknown), a cropped version of Vogue 8794 (minus the pockets) would look fantastic and keep the winter chills away! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Noon Yesterday Ponti Knit Skirt

I spotted this stand out pencil skirt at Tessuti Surry Hills store this week! Made by long time Tessuti customer Louisa in our digital printed ponti knit, Noon Yesterday.  

Well done Louisa, you lined up the stripes beautifully on those side seams!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sleeping Beauty and Tessuti

Image © Martin Philbey (source)

How this picture rocks my fabric and colour-loving world! Through our stores, we have the very good fortune to deal with a number of incredible costume designers and buyers. Last year, we had Victorian Opera snap up this amaaaaaaaaazing Italian designer printed silk chiffon (now sold out) for a feature costume in their production of Sleeping Beauty.  Even though this jade colourway has gone, we still have Pink Fioriture and Spatolata Water in stock.

And here's Tess doing her best J-Lo impersonation in the pink version... 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Micky In the Van

Check out the awesome-ness of this raglan jumper from local Melbourne label Micky in the Van. The printed fabric is our (now sold out) digitally printed ponti The Sitting Room. Follow The Estelle Store's Facebook page to see more designs made up in this print and if you want to check out our current stock of other ponti digital prints, you can view the online range here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sharing the love (aka a giveaway!)

I'm not one for Valentine's Day. Back in my insecure, teenage youth it was just a tad too anxiety-provoking for the thin-skinned, awkward teenager I was and so I'm happy to let it pass as just another summer's day. I'm far more partial to the 'just because' and not the 'because it's Feb 14th' approach. Give me flowers? Thanks, they're beautiful. Make dinner AND do the dishes? Even better and damn, I love you. Having said that, I'll still give kudos to those who make a gesture to their loved one. Take the fresh-faced young fella I served yesterday. His girlfriend is starting a fashion design course this year and asked me to recommend a book (this one, if you're interested). He then asked me to wrap it and as I was doing so, he spied this fabric...

...and asked me to wrap the book in that. Full marks, young man. Full marks. 

Anyway, despite my ho-humness about this day of love, we're doing a giveaway because we know that despite whatever you may think of Valentine's Day, you will always LOVE fabric! We're giving two readers the chance to win 1.5m of the following fabrics - The Emerald Heart (top) and Within the Heart (bottom)...


Both fabrics are jerseys (viscose/elastane). You can see the latter made up here in The Maker's Journal's newest pattern, the Little Truck Stop Top - a wee version for girls size 7-10.

If you want to see the big girl's version made up in The Emerald Heart, check out last year's post...  

To be in the running, all you need to do is leave a comment and indicate your preferred fabric. If you don't have a blog or blog profile, please be sure to include your email address as well. Giveaway is open to local and international readers, comments will close Sunday 17th Feb at 11:59pm AEST and two winners will be chosen at random.

Forget happy Valentine's Day. I'm wishing you a happy Heart Fabric Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pattern Review - Vogue 8582 in Ten Seven Jersey

I recently received an email and photo from Deborah to show me this great top she made from 2 panels of our Italian viscose jersey, Ten Seven.

The pattern used was Vogue 8582 (Marcie Tilton).

Deborah  says she found the sleeve cap too shallow, so adjusted this by adding an extra 2" height and also recommends Very Easy Vogue 8371 for an alternative, as it has a similar style and body fit but with a better cut sleeve.

I just love the placement of the panel print on one sleeve edge!

Thanks for the inspiration, Deborah!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pattern Review - Style 3062 (uh oh, the 80s)

Once upon a time, particularly when I was on maternity leave, I used to spend a fair chunk of time op/thrift shopping. We were skint, she slept better in the car, I had to get out of the house and it was a mighty fine way to break those groundhog-y days that made up life with a baby. And there was, of course, the thrill of the find. Back then, good op shop scores were a LOT easier to come by.  These days, not so much. Or maybe I've just lost the patience to scour. Anyhoo, most of my pattern stash has accumulated over years and years and years of op shopping. This one's a more recent score, copyright 1982, and apparently came from one Mrs Wood. Or maybe it was made for Mrs. Wood...?

I love a second-hand pattern that has scribbled notes as much as I love those patterns that are still pinned with their original owner's adjustments. And if I find a pattern published in my birth year, well I do believe that's just a gift straight from the sewing gods.

I'm generally a bit 'meh' on eighties patterns and I suspect that's largely to do with the big shoulder thing (Linda Evans anyone?). Don't get me wrong, I too used to position my shoulder pads under my training bra straps so that I could look all broad-shouldered, on-trend and, as it turns out, completely disproportioned. Oh, and then there was this silk taffeta bridesmaid ensemble that I wore in 1986 and to which I rest my big shoulder case. A special mention must also go to the bride's VISIBLE shoulder pads...

And so that was just a really, really long-winded way of saying that this pattern - Style 3062 - has gone some way to restoring my faith in the pattern decade that was the 80s. It has side-seam pockets and the bodice is pleated into the midriff (back and front) and shoulder seams.

Despite being relatively true to the indicated sizing, a few adjustments were most definitely needed. I made a muslin and discovered that I had some pretty major gaping at the front. This was eliminated by making the following pattern adjustment to the front bodice...

I also had to take it up at the shoulder seams and in at the (torso) side seams. Other than that, easy-squeezy. I went with View C because I like the cap sleeve and I had some leftover fabric so why wouldn't you make a matching tie belt? The belt is a hell of a lot longer than it appears on the pattern cover but there ain't no care-factor on that point.

The fabric I chose was our gorgeous Gold Classico Spot - a mid-weight viscose/acetate crepe that has the perfect weight and drape for such a design. It's unlined, finished with an invisible zip and, sure, it wasn't quite ready in time for the Christmas day I'd intended but I'm still pretty damn pleased with it.

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