Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blue floral Wiksten Tova top

Finally, a bit of selfish sewing for me!  After much waffling, I purchased and traced the Wiksten Tova top pattern…and there I stopped, waiting for a nudge.  That nudge came in June on a weekend trip to Seattle, when I spied two Tova tops in one afternoon while wandering the boutiques of Ballard.  Both Tova sewists were happy to share their process, and suddenly, the pattern seemed accessible.  I let a good week of settling back into routine happen before I sorted through my fabric stash and cut the pieces.  But again, I paused with uncertainty…until I found an old but still-kicking Tova sew-along online.  Woo-hoo!

Thank goodness for that sew-along.  Despite the massive gushing amongst sewists online about the fabulous pattern design and easy instructions, I just squeaked by with a moderate amount of swearing during the bodice assembly.  I really couldn't visualise what should be happening there.  Then, the collar gave me fits and reduced me to tears after ripping it out twice.  I think I was stressed beyond all my skill-set at that point and lost the plot.  Unable to find any tips online for dealing with the collar, I felt like a lonely sewing failure.  Sniff.  I sadly hung up the almost-complete blouse and left it until our California trip was done…only to find I had no trouble at all with the collar when we returned.  Clearly, I just needed to cool down.*

So, was all the hype merited?  Will I make this again?  Definitely.
It's a gorgeous blouse, comfortable and classic, one that merits cutting into the precious Liberty I bought years ago (the highest compliment I can give, actually).  The fabric I used on this first go-round is Japanese, Liberty-like, a solid trial run.  It has a very similar weight and even similar pattern.  I feel I ironed out a few my kinks with the pattern skills, and I am ready to repeat.

I adapted it slightly, using tips from the sew along.  I doubled the fabric on the inset so I wouldn't need to wear a tank top underneath the thin fabric.  I also reduced the hem length by almost 3", which surprised me because I have a long torso (think tunic-length on the pattern and adapt for a blouse).  I almost wish I had understood the proportions better before cutting, because I probably would have gone for dress-length in this fabric and enjoyed a new sundress this summer.  The Liberty will be a blouse, but I'm guessing there will be linen, voile, corduroy and flannel variations in my future (glorious ambition!).  On my arms, the sleeves end up just below my elbows, which I find perfect for summer but I might increase the length in other fabrics.  Now, I just need to try the Wiksten tank, and I will feel fully initiated into the fan club.

*Meg at elsiemarley just shared a bit of her sewing and learning process on her blog.  I have found her site so encouraging and fun for her honesty and her attitude.  She sews awesome clothes for her kids.  It seems (to me) that she's always got something in the works, whereas I have a mountain of intentions (and the fabric stash to prove it)…but she makes it seem doable.  It's not all shiny-happy-people-laughing-at-losers-with-store-bought-clothes; it's about channeling creative energy into the process of making, even when it results in a lot of swearing and some tears (so, so familiar).  Thanks, Meg!

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