Kate - Version 1 and 2

Hello lovely seamsters and others who find their way here today! Hope you are all well. I'm rather excited as I am getting new carpet laid as I type, which means I am surrounded by stuff, literally trapped in my kitchen and unable to do much for a couple of hours. So what's a girl to do but catch up on some blogging?!

Now you wouldn't know it but we are but 7 days out from the start of summer. It's been the wettest, coldest, crappest spring in about 50 years, but I live in hope that I will be able to wear something sleeveless soon, and so was determined to perfect the fit of the Tessuti Kate Top

The Kate has 2 versions, a basic scoop neck that doesn't really thrill me, and a higher neck, with a slightly cutaway armscye that I love. Both have a truly beautifully drafted mitred split hem that I foresee will be transplanted onto many a future pattern. 

I made my first Kate at the end of last summer. I made a size Small, and after some flat pattern measurements felt confident I didn't need to toile. Foolish fool that I was I merrily cut straight into this beautiful inky navy/purple Indian silk I snatched up from Spotlight a couple of years ago (the day I found it reminded me of that Simpsons episode where Marge finds the Chanel suit in a Springfield clearance store - an improbable diamond in the rough!). 

Now it was many months ago, and the exact details are a little sketchy, but I found the armscye very low, the bust dart too low, the bust dart too short and a fair bit of gaping around the back neckline. My silk, whilst lovely, unravelled with the merest of glances, so playing around with the dart position and length was not an option. I managed to at least make it wearable by shortening the straps, which raised the dart and the low armscye. I played with the neckline, and slapped on some bias binding, and convinced it was an epic fail stuffed it in the cupboard, shitty with myself that I'd wasted my lovely silk.

But come this spring, when I was planning my Refashioners Kate, I pulled it out with a view to starting afresh with a toile and realised I was being a bit of a drama queen and it was actually quite wearable. Yes the dart was still too short, but in this fabric it's not terribly obvious. Here's a closeup for you:

That my friends, is a good 2 inches from my bust apex. It's hard to show in photos but it is way too short. Crazy short! 

 Anyway, here's a close up of that gorgeous mitred hem, and the texture of my fabric:

If you don't have a pattern with a proper mitred split hem I think it's worth purchasing for that alone, as it gives a beautiful clean finish.

Anyway, I have some thoughts on that dart. In addition to being short it's very small, and I think it contributes to the front of the top swinging out on me. In the interest of science I'll submit that fact that I am a C cup. Here's a couple of side views.

Now if I pinch a little more fabric to mimic a longer dart that finishes closer to my apex that swing is much reduced (and I think looks better)....

(insert the pondering emoji here)....

So, version 1 - entirely wearable but could be improved upon.  Enter version 2 - dart raised and lengthened, armscye raised (a little too much as it turns out, I need to go back and lower it maybe 5mm) and 2 small darts in the back neck to take out the excess.  This is a lightweight cotton shirting (probably a lawn weight), from Philips Shirts,  a Melbourne shirt manufacturer that has a marvellous warehouse of shirting fabric that goes on sale from time to time. 

 I ended up removing the darts completely for my denim version, and lowered the back neckline a little. I didn't bother with the keyhole opening for this one as it was technically another toile.

Here's a profile view of version 2 - it still looks quite swingy in this shot, you'll have to take my word for it that it is a little better than this. But the bust dart is in the right place - happy days!

I'm really pleased with my tweaked Kate - it's a great basic worth perfecting and making in a million lovely fabrics. I think the cutaway shoulders are very elegant, and very bra-strap friendly. And that mitred hem - makes this sewing dork very happy indeed!