Tessuti Kate top

Tessuti Kate top

It’s not every day you get to host a prize-winning singlet on your blog – in fact, it’s not every day that the simple act of sewing a singlet wins you a gong. But that’s exactly what happened to our friend Justine yesterday, when she scooped second place and fabric prizes in Tessuti’s Kate Top competition. Coincidentally we had already twisted Justine’s arm and begged her to show her face and amazing singlet-y makes on Bombazine this week, so we can now happily ride the crest of her wave and cash in on her success by featuring further pics of the celebrated singlet. And what a lovely singlet it is.

As for me, it’s not every day a singlet pattern is named after you (ahem…). So I had no choice but to give the Kate a go – luckily for me it’s a pattern I would have chosen regardless of the name. I promise.


Tessuti Kate top

Tessuti Kate top


Pattern: The pattern is Tessuti’s Kate Top, a slightly cropped, boxy singlet with visible binding and side-split hemline. There are two versions – one with a scooped neckline and the other with a higher neckline and keyhole back opening. The Kate comes as a PDF (with A0 option, praise be), and limited edition hard copy.

Fabric: Coincidentally, Justine and I both made our Kate singlets from Japanese cotton barkcloth. Justine’s prize-winning print is from Miss Matatabi (I don’t think it’s still available), and mine was the very last thing I bought in my recent shopping frenzy at Tomato in Fabric Town in Tokyo. I grabbed a couple of metres when I realised my entire purchase pile was blues, chambrays, denims and subtle (blue) prints. It was a small but brave last-ditch effort to push myself beyond my fabric comfort zone. I haven’t seen this version anywhere else, but you can still get the print in a couple of different pastel colourways here at Miss Matatabi.

Justine’s second version is a black and white remnant moda piece from GJs, which she managed to squeeze into a singlet by splitting the back piece in two. This fabric is much drapier than the barkcloth, and we both agree the boxy shape works better in a more structured cloth.


Tessuti Kate top


Tricky bits and adjustments: We both chose Version B of the Kate top, which has the higher neckline and back opening. We can both get the singlets on without undoing the button, so unless you have an unusally large head, you could skip this step. But then you’d lose the sweet back detail, which is half the fun of this top. All three of our versions pictured here are straight up, unadjusted B’s.

The pattern instructions are pretty clear and are backed up with links to tutorials on the Tessuti blog, for extra support. I must admit I skipped the tearaway Vyline facing on the neckline and arms, and just stay-stitched instead. The barkcloth was very stretchy on the bias, so the Vyline might have been a good idea.

The only challenge for me with this make was the mitred corners on the hemline. I haven’t used this technique before and admit I stared blankly at the instructions for quite some time before calling my personal sewing hotline, Klarissa, for advice.  Otherwise, everything made perfect sense and the visible binding was a joy to put together – it gives a very professional finish.


Tessuti Kate top


Verdict: I think these photos show that the Kate is a total winner (literally) for Justine, and she’s got the fit just right. As for me – while I love the idea of a more 60s style, high-necked, boxy singlet, I just don’t think it’s a shape that suits me. I’m long in the body and suspect the boxy shape emphasises this (let’s be honest – I think this pattern works better with boobs!). I’ll try the lower neckline next time, as I think that would break things up a bit.

More Kates: Check out the other cool Kate winners: Funkbunny got third place with her white linen hack, and @mypickle took the whole thing out with a pretty Nani Iro version.

I also love this one by Miss Pippilotta – it’s a blue Liberty check print with chambray on the back. Totally in my zone!


Tessuti Kate top

Tessuti Kate top


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  • Congrats to Justine & to you Kate for stepping out of your colourway comfort zone. I love the idea of the Kate Top but after trying on the shop samples, I’m not sure it’s for me. I’ve traced the short sleeve version of Butterick 5817 (minus the daggy neck art) in the hope that french darts suit my shape. It’s not a singlet, but it’s a summer top that’s not an Aeolian! Wish me luck…

    • Good luck with the Butterick 5817 Anna, I’ll be watching your blog for a verdict! I haven’t given up on the Kate completely, but the higher neck is definitely not for me. The singlet quest continues…

  • Aww, thank you! I love your Kate Top too. We need a Kate Top party!