So here is the second instalment to my Spring 2016 Sewing plan. I have finally sewn up a Wiksten Tova - it has only taken me about four years! I've had this pattern in my stash for a ridiculously long time, and have always meant to make a version, as I have loved all the other gorgeous renditions out there.
My version is made up in some lovely salt and pepper wool mix fabric, which I picked up in my epic haul from Fabworks (for only £7/m!). They call it a Grey Woolly Chambray Flannel and I could see it made up beautifully in a whole range of different ways (jackets, skirts, trousers), but I decided I would try it as a Tova. Perhaps my first attempt at making a Tova should have been with a light cotton or voile because there were a few elements of this make that were tricker to deal with due to the weight of the wool. For example, I omitted a few top stitching instructions because I didn't think my sewing machine would cope very well with the multiple layers of fabric, and I also hand stitched the cuffs and collar (the final stage of each, not the whole construction!), again due to the thickness of the fabric. I also just overlocked/serged the hem, turned it up once by 1 inch and stitched in place to reduce bulk.
Overall, it's quite an easy make. The corners of the front 'bib' were a little nerve wracking (am I catching too much fabric here....I found myself sewing while holding my breath - you do that too right?!) but thankfully it worked out OK first time and I didn't need to unpick anything. The sleeves also went in beautifully, so I was really pleased about that. The instructions have you overlock/serge all your edges, and I would have done that anyway because this fabric FRAYS! As in, just look at it lying on the table and it appears to fray in front of you without even being touched! So if you do want to get any of this, do keep that in mind and perhaps pick a pattern which doesn't require you to handle/manipulate the fabric too much. Once the edges were overlocked though, it made all the difference.
In terms of style and design I sewed up a straight size Large without making any alterations and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Some of these photos do make it look like it's tight across the bust, but it's not in 'real life'. I have seen a few versions where they have left off the mandarin collar, and I was tempted as I'm not a big fan of that style of collar, but decided for this first version I would just sew it as it is and then see. It turned out OK, but I may omit it next time. It also doesn't sit very well, which I think is partly down to the bulky fabric. I was also nervous about the sleeves gathered into the cuff. I'm just not a fan of 'puffy' sleeves so didn't know whether to alter them or not but, again, for this time, I left them. I actually don't mind them. But they will make wearing a layer over the top a bit awkward, so we shall see what that is like in slightly colder weather. Speaking of which, this top should be great for early Spring and most of Autumn due to the colour, the weight of the fabric and the wool content. I know I don't look particularly 'Spring-y' in this outfit, but guys, I live in Northern Ireland. Our Springs are generally rather cold and wet!
The opening is a bit low in the front, which is what I have read in other reviews. I don't mind it for my current lifestyle, but if I ever wear this to work (our dress code is slightly more casual than 'business attire' so I probably could) then I would definitely wear a camisole underneath. The finally issue I'm not 100% sold on is the hem. I'm perhaps being a little over analytical and over critical, but I think I would suit a curved hem more as this top is essentially cutting me straight across my hips, which I don't think it as flattering. But I can live with it.
In general I'm happy with my new top, but I don't love it as much as I love my Vogue V1247. I think I would benefit from having a little bit of shaping either in the sides or perhaps some darts on the back as it billows out a bit there. Maybe thats the choice of fabric? I think it would be a very nice and relaxed Summer top made up in a light voile, so I'm tempted with that. I also think it would be a lovely Autumnal dress made up in a corduroy or similar, worn with thick tights and the addition of pockets - it would definitely need pockets!!
Right, that's half of my Spring 2016 plans sewn up - go me! The next two are a little bit more complicated so will take a bit more time, and I've got a few things going on at home, so it will be a little bit longer before they appear on the blog. But hopefully I'll get them sewn up before I start daydreaming about my next project!