Saturday, 17 October 2015

Tessuti Colette Top

I have a stash of lovely Japanese cotton lawn that was on sale last year at Spotlight. Every time they had a sale I seemed to come home with another piece. The lawn was light, floaty and beautiful and I couldn't decide what to do with it. Then I saw the new pattern release at Tessuti's of the Colette Top.

 Colette Tunic Top.   I downloaded it then went a bit nuts cutting and pasting the dratted thing together. I wish they would just number the pages once - in order - instead of their ABC 123 grid pattern. What a pain. Then I ran out of ink and had to go get a cartridge for my printer, thinking never again! But I guess that's the price you pay for get-it-now pattern gratification!

I love the top. It's just the thing for a summer cover up.

We are already getting some hot days and these shots were taken this morning on the way to the beach. Nearby is a strip of shops and one of them sells beach wear very similar to this. I looked around thinking I sewed mine!

The pattern comes in top or tunic length. The tunic length is five and a half inches longer and would pretty much be a mini dress on me.

I had not made any of Tessuti's patterns before and went with a Large going by my high bust measurement. When I measured the pattern in the flat this meant I would have about four inches of ease. I went with that as I was concerned about it being too tight over the bust but it's fine and I probably could go with a Medium.

The top is designed to be loose but not voluminous. The neckline and back are smooth, not gathered like other smock type beach cover ups. I like how the front button opening can be worn open or closed.
There is gathering at the centre front panel and at the sleeves. The top has raglan sleeves and princess seams. The sleeves and neck are finished with self bias at the neck and narrow bands at the sleeves.

Construction and changes:

My main challenge was to squeeze this top out of my piece of fabric. I had to do a CB seam and do a join in the bias and shorten the sleeves a bit.
The instructions are good. One spot where I did things differently was to do the buttonholes as soon as I had doubled over the placket during the construction of the bodice instead of at the end when I would have had to coerce the buttonhole foot to fight with the front cross seam. Been in that situation before and my machine doesn't like it!
I didn't use interfacing in the placket or at the neck. My material was firm enough for buttons and at the neck I just stay stitched.
For the next one I will gather the bottom of the sleeve edges and attach the sleeve bands before I do the side seams, then fold the bands back and finish them.

The pattern pieces go together well except for the front side pieces. For some reason mine was half an inch shorter than any of the other pieces. I don't know if this is a fault in the pattern or the way I pieced the side front together. Anyway at this stage I am not blaming the pattern!
It's probably good practice to compare the pieces of any print out pattern before cutting into material though.

The verdict: If you live anywhere that is going to be hot any time soon I recommend this pattern. It's quick to sew, nice to wear and has quite a few possibilites for top, tunic or beach dress.

Edit 2 November 2015

If you read through the comments there is a conversation between myself and Colette, the creator of the pattern.
I want to repeat - I Love The Pattern. I love the design and the instructions are good.
I printed it out again to make sure it was to scale.
I pieced it meticulously. I sewed it with mathematical precision, according to the instructions using - as stated - 1/2" seams throughout, except for the neck. The side front did match the side back at the side seams    but not at the front princess seams and it was still short.. However they did match once I had unpicked the side panels and sewn a 5/8" seam where the front bodice meets the gathered front panel instead of a 1/2" seam.
I don't want to start another argument. I am just telling what I found. I am an experienced sewer. I have made many big 4 patterns with far more glaring pattern or instruction inconsistencies.

I hope I can walk into Tessuti's again, but I have to maintain my own independent opinion. Thanks.

Happy Sewing,


  1. What a fun and pretty top! Looks so cool and comfy - and it's definitely on trend for the beach. I bet the ones in the stores were pretty pricey. Good point on the buttonhole!

    1. Coco you guessed it. Yes the store tops were pricey!

  2. The perfect summer top and your voice will be so cool to wear.

    1. Voile sorry iPad typing.

    2. It is quite cool and breezy, especially with two or three of the neck buttons open.

  3. I LOVE Tessuti patterns! And I was lamenting a lack of summery coverups during our heat waves this summer. Next year...

    1. Thanks Jilly. I'm about to make another one..

  4. Lovely top - and like you, I hate PDF's with a vengeance.

  5. Thanks Sarah Liz .. I don't normally hate them but for some reason this one took a while.

  6. I really must try some of this Japanese lawn, which looks so cool for summer. I have downloaded a similar Tessuti top - just need to get the fabric and get started. Your top looks lovely, and perfect for the hot summer they are apparently going to send us!

  7. Very pretty design and print on you! Always good to know you can beat the shops at their own game ;-)

  8. Hi Valerie,

    I love your Colette Top and the cotton voile is PERFECT!!!

    I had a sewing student this weekend with a similar problem with the side front panel. The pattern pieces are correct and when we checked that she cut out the pattern pieces correctly, by placing the pattern over her cut fabric pieces we noticed that the front yoke was not cut as per pattern. There was approx 1/2" difference at the top (peaked edge) of the seam allowance. We trimmed it back as per the pattern and the side front panel fit together correctly :)
    Precision and care needs to be taken when cutting the peaks on all the side seams, so that when they are placed together the pattern pieces fit and when the seams are pressed back they line up together nicely with the raw edges.

    Enjoy summer in your Colette Top.
    all the best

  9. Dear Colette, Thank you for your tips on how to sew the garment, but that was not the problem. I am going to print it out again to see if I pieced it correctly. I'll let you know how I go with a second print out. Val

    1. Thanks Val. I would love to hear from you, after your second go. Don't forget that you also have the Print At Copy Shop files too. Any Officeworks can print this pattern out on A0 size paper for Sheet 1 and A1 size paper for Sheet 2. Saves all that time of joining of A4 sheets together.

  10. Colette, After having paid for the pattern download and then paying $42.00 for a new black ink cartridge I was not willing to go to Officeworks and pay out more for them to print out a pattern. I did however print it out again at home and this time I made sure to do it through Photoshop and choose the 'print actual size' option and pieced it again and it did match.
    Next time I'll buy the hard copy. Thanks, Val

  11. Hi Valerie. Great top and love your fabric choice. I have free tickets for the Collette Dinnigan exhibtion this Sunday at the Powerhouse. Please contact me via the email address on my blog as soon as possible if you'd like to join the group and I'll forward details.

    1. Gail I am interested in coming but I can't find your email! My email is

  12. I just re-read this post after seeing the Colette top in your blog banner. Such a cute top! but what a pain as well! The Tessuti patterns are quite expensive for me - and no way could I afford to get them printed at a print shop. What a notion...

    Can you believe the price of printer ink? I think it should be regulated, like gasoline :-)