Sew House Seven | Tea House Top
So this summer has been h.o.t. (for Wellington) and it has been loooong (for New Zealand island life). In my brief time in Wellington, I've never had such an extended period of not having to wear or carry cardis, jackets, coats and jumpers, but I have had a lot of need for loose, comfy, breezy tops and dresses. I saw this pattern made up as a dress by the inestimable Emma's Atelier a while ago and realised that this was the top of my 2017/2018 summer dreams!
The pattern is The Tea House Top and Dress from the designer Sew House Seven. It comes with several variations including two tops and two dresses, each of the dresses with two lengths. I made it from some utterly glorious light-weight, mustard linen from The Fabric Store. I am besotted with their linen range. I want all of their linen. All of the time.
Process and Progress
My lovely husband bought me the pattern for Christmas from Sew Indie NZ, bless him. The pattern is printed on pattern tissue. I found the pattern directions mostly easily to follow although I did make some mistakes that I feel could have been better signalled within the pattern (such as a reminder to make sure the ties will end up on the outside when assembling the front pieces—massive eye rolls and expletive-laden discussions with myself in the third person when I realised THAT mistake).
The pattern has good, clear diagrams, and offers a strong glossary and preparations section, although 'crackstitch' as an alternative term for 'ditchstitch' caused a snort of mirth. I also like that it includes how to block your fabric when it seems to be off-grain. I love learning little things from the inclusion of these sorts of details.
You'll notice that my top sits higher at the front than the back; this isn't a pattern detail but because it was my first time working with linen and I didn't know about how wibbly-wobbly the grainline can become in linen. If you're new to working with linen, I found this tutorial here and this tutorial here very useful. I'm lucky that my inexperience ended up looking like a cool design thing instead of a heartbreak. I love working with linen now, though, so am working on extending my skills with it.
Fit and Finish
I made a straight size 10, although my measurements place me closer to a size 12 or 14. But this pattern has e-a-s-e. I mean it has a serious amount of E—A—S—E. I would highly recommend you pick your size based on the finished garment measurements. My top is lovely and loose; had I made it at 12 or 14 I would feel completely swamped.
One of the many things I love about this top is the guts are very tidily finished: I have a few exposed overlocked seams that could possibly be French-ed if the desire took me, (the pattern does contain directions for Frenching particular seams) but otherwise the seams are mostly contained within the sleeve cuffs or neck facing. To achieve this, I chose to hand-stitch where the pattern directed, and it was well worth the effort.
My favourite thing about this pattern is the result I got with my neckline using its directions. Necklines are a particular issue for me—I have a knack for messing them up, sigh. However, this is very easily the best neckline I have ever sewn. It takes a little more time as you very slightly gather the two sides, but whoa is it worth the effort! I plan on trying this method, in combination with a few of the points on Closet Case Pattern's Charlie Caftan Tutorial, on aaalllllll of my future necklines. Buy this pattern just for the neckline directions!
Okay, I'm going to say it. This is my favourite me-made garment E.V.E.R. You can probably tell by the millions of photos in this post that it makes me feel a million dollars. I love the fabric: the Fabric Store's linen range is a triumph of both feel and colour. I love the fit and the shape: it is comfortable to wear and makes me feel glorious (the perfect garment!). It's simply a joy.
Here's a photo Justin took, complete with a blushing husband-photo-smile, to show how happy I am in my delicious-like-mustard Tea House Top.
Notes to future self for future makes
Make more. Make it as a dress. Make other variations of the top. French the seams, it's totally worth it.
AND MAKE SURE THE TIES END UP ON THE OUTSIDE WHEN YOU ASSEMBLE THE FRONT!