The Esme tunic is my third sewing project from designer, Lotta Jansdotter’s book, Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. You can see my other projects, the Kiomi midi and the Kiomi maxi, here and here. I heaped plenty of praise on Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style after my previous projects, and after completing my first Esme tunic; my love for this book only grows. Without a doubt, I will get my money’s worth out of this book many times over. I’m always a little disappointed when I buy a pretty book, look at it a couple of times and then it sits somewhere collecting dust. I don’t think this is much of an accusation against most books, but it would certainly be the mark of failure for a craft book. A good craft book, like a good cookbook, should be a handy resource, well worn (and possibly stained) as a testament to its usefulness. Everyday Style is becoming that kind of resource for me and I can see myself working on projects from this book well into 2018.
The Esme pattern includes a number of variations, including a top, a tunic and a kaftan, all with three-quarter length sleeves. There is a cap sleeve option, which appeals to me least out of all the variations. No, thank you. I have broad shoulders for a little person. Anything with a cap sleeve makes me look like I’m wearing football pads. Besides, I’ve recently remarked on my sleeveless rut and challenged myself to mix things up with a bona fide sleeve.
This was not merely a stylistic challenge, but also a technical one, as I had not set a sleeve in many years. The directions for the Esme tunic are pretty easy to follow and make sleeve setting manageable for a beginner or rusty seamstress like myself. I’ll give myself a B- for the sleeves. Not bad, all things considered, but the sleeves should be set just about 1/8 of an inch deeper. You can’t really tell in the photos, but there is some very slight gathering at the top of the shoulders. It’s not enough to really change the fit or to deter me from wearing it, so I left it alone. I’ll do better on the next one.
The fabric I chose for this project is a beautiful, thin, shirting weight cotton I found it at a fabric store in Satwa. Satwa is home to Dubai’s fabric district. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have quite pinned down the location of this fabric district. I only found a couple of shops, the most renowned store, Deepak’s Textiles and an adjacent store, where I scored this purple printed beauty. I wish I’d remember to ask for information about this fabric. I don’t know where it is from of who manufactures it, but the print looks very Japanese to me.
Sewn in this particular fabric, my Esme tunic may be too sheer to wear as a dress, unless coupled with opaque tights. I don’t mind, because the weight of this fabric makes for very comfortable sleeves and the garment has good movement. That is one criticism I have of Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. I was at first a little reluctant to make the Esme tunic because, one of the versions, modeled by the designer’s mother-in-law, is sewn in a too stiff, Lotta Jansdotter-designed quilting cotton. I understand the opportunity to cross promote, but I think that weight of cotton makes the Esme tunic look rigid and uncomfortable. I don’t wear uncomfortable clothes. So I wanted to steer clear of that at all costs. If that means my garment is a little sheer, I don’t mind.
Lavender is very out of character for me. I first eyed this fabric in minty green, a color much more in alignment with my personality and wardrobe. But the green was too expensive. I took one look at the price and headed for the door. Before I could exit, the merchant steered me to 2.5 meters of the same fabric, only in purple, at a discounted price. Well, I was already wooed by the print and the lusciousness of the cotton. I settled for the purple without a second thought. I had intimate apparel in mind when I first bought this fabric, but I’m very happy with the way it looks and feels as the Esme tunic. When it came time to style this baby, I dug out the only other purple thing I own, my old wedding shoes by Miista, and we had a match. I think I’ve gained a little more respect for lavender. It’s not my go-to color, but I don’t have to relegate it to pajamas and robes either.