you guys would be proud of me…over the past week or so, i have been devoting maybe half of my sewing time to art fair inventory. it’s creating an irrational fear that if i spend so much time making pouches and bags, i won’t have anything to blog about. but in fact, there’s no reason i can’t also share those projects with you (and maybe you’re sick of seeing my squinty face in a new dress every week anyway), and my self sewing fever hasn’t fully subsided, so i’m accumulating a steady backlog of projects. so today, squinty face in a new dress it is. i’m sorry; there are no clouds in this part of the country.
if you dabble even a little bit in the online sewing community, this garment requires no introduction. obviously, it’s the 803,671st wiksten tova sewn to date. i have a bit of a rebellious streak, and it’s hard for me to conform to trends. this top/dress is just. so. popular. and for good reason. it’s loose fitting but also flattering, and easy to construct but with enough pizzaz to make it special. i didn’t scourge the flickr pool for tovas…i really just saw one that sold me. and because i want to do everything karyn does and be just like her, i set out to find plaid shirting to make a cute little tova dress of my own. as it turns out, [affordable] plaid shirting is hard to find. i’ve searched many an online store, drove cherie halfway crazy rifling through plaid for an entire day in san francisco, and still couldn’t find something quite right. it was either $100/yd for something beautiful at britex, or $3/yd for something perfectly suitable and practical on sale at joann’s. you can guess how that ended.given i’m still in the mindset that whatever i make for myself won’t likely be wearable, i have to say, this was a pleasant surprise. i made a few minor alterations to the pattern (no muslin…) based on the fit of the dress. i cut it in a small per my measurements, but graded to a medium in the shoulders. at least i tried to. i noticed in my long sleeved darling ranges dress that the shoulders felt snug when i lifted my arms and assumed this would be the same. i have a long held belief that i am broad shouldered, because early in high school i began to notice my head looked too small for my body sitting atop my linebacker wingspan. people try to talk me out of this to be polite, but now that i’m sewing for myself, it’s confirmed; i have proportions like michael phelps with hips and i’m trying to embrace it, so back off. i also graded the pattern in to the xs line at the natural waist and then back out to the s over the hips to the hem to give it a more flattering and feminine shape. i really believe the only people who can get away with super boxy dresses are the thinnest of the thin or totally curveless, and i am neither.
since my shirting is really more striped than plaid, i did a fair job matching the print, since i have a special communion with stripes. i even paid attention to the varying colors of the stripes at the side seams, you guys. one is dark grey, the other is *light* grey. the placket is cut on the bias a la karyn‘s, and the only place i really screwed up matching the print is at the collar, where it didn’t occur to me (obviously, did not read the whole pattern through before cutting) that i could match the collar print with the back print, so the stripes are slightly off there. i’m dealing with it.
other than that, i lengthened the hem by about 4″, then cut it into a men’s dress shirt shape. the whole thing looks like an oversized man’s dress shirt, so why not go for the whole look, right? i got a little steep on some of my hem curves since i go for the “just eyeball it” technique, which made hemming a little sloppy and a bit of a pain. for reference, the hem is (purposely) higher in the front than the back, and the curves at the side seam are as short as the original hemline in the pattern–for me (and my toddler chasing) that would be too short to have all around. i felt self conscious about the back of my wiksten tank dress…the back of this one with the lengthened hem felt very appropriate for public spaces where legislation is passed. other than that, it’s quite nicely constructed, french seams and all. the only other place i struggled was sewing the placket in at the corners. i know i’m not alone here. it made me angry. any suggestions from tova placket experts? i’d like to just get it on the first vs. 18th try next time.
and there will be a next time! again, i liked how the dress looked on the hanger, but didn’t know how it would fair on the michael phelps with hips body. david too was on the fence when he first saw it–neither of us are accustomed to me wearing dresses not cinched at the waist. we took this little tova on a trip to visit our state capitol for high noon squinty sun face photos, and it grew on both of us as the afternoon went on. the loose fit and the light colored shirting made it so comfortable to wear, even on an august afternoon in sacramento, when people walk around with umbrellas to shield themselves from the cloudless sky and desert heat. the longer i wore it, the more i loved it, and now i can’t wait to make another one (maybe sleeveless, since the shoulders were still a bit tight and i haven’t figured out how to fix that without messing up the sleeves and arm scythes…tips?). we ended our outing with a little summer shandy at a favorite local watering hole; a perfect summer afternoon. yes, that’s the september martha stewart living in front of me. i’m sure everyone takes that on a date to a bar, right? anyway, i already have some fabric from my india stash prewashed for the next one, so after i earn some self sewing time with a few more zippered pouches, i will tova once again.