Saturday, February 04, 2017

Out of the Works -- Or, Chambray Tova Love

What was once In the Works is now out of the works (and in my closet)!

It's been over two years since I made my first "Tova" (by Wiksten patterns), and while I made an un-blogged Tova in grey linen over a year ago, it was high time for another. I so, so love this pattern! I think it's one of the most flattering tunic patterns I've come across, and the details are just right. I made my grey linen Tova sleeveless (it's so simple to draft armhole facings!), because while I love the 3/4 length sleeves, I realized that it would be more versatile if I could layer it. Sleeveless in the summer, a light cardigan in the spring and fall, and a heavier cardigan in winter. This one is sleeveless, too, and I'll probably continue that in the future.

I'm loving my new Aise ballet flats in dark tan by Bali ELF! Spendy, but so far they
are super comfy and just right for my minimalist footwear requirements.

"But wait!" you say. "That's not a Tova!" 

You're right -- I did make some pretty significant modifications to the pattern. I wanted this pattern to be nursing friendly, because I'll be needing that in the summer, Lord willing. I didn't want to wear this tunic until-my-bump-is-too-big, only to put it away for over a year until I was done carrying and nursing this baby! 

In order to be nursing friendly, the Tova requires a longer, opening/closing placket in the center front. Not a modification I felt particularly comfortable with! I used the placket from Hey June's Cheyenne pattern, and lengthened it a bit. I did a lot of calculating as I redrew the bodice inset pieces, first removing seam allowances and finding center fronts, etc. The Cheyenne placket also has an angle toward the top, so I had to transfer that to my re-drafted Tova bodice. I also added just a tinch to the front gathering, and a little pleat in the back -- I'd really like to wear this for a while longer, so I wanted some extra bump accommodation. Fingers crossed that I won't regret that post-pregnancy!

And then, with much hesitation, I cut into my beautiful chambray. Which is, by the way, one of the most amazing and luscious fabrics I've ever worked with. Who knew that chambray could be luscious, am I right? Also note, I made no mention of a mock-up. Practice runs are for safe people, people. When you're a stay-at-home mom, sometimes cutting right into your fashion fabric is the only way to get your thrills! *wink*

"But wait!" you say. "There is no angle in that placket! And where did that collar come from?"

Well, I was handed a few lemons along the way. But I think I managed to make a tasty lemonade. First off, I somehow miscalculated and made the bodice insets too wide. It was nerve-wracking to cut them down, but all was well. The placket turned out beautifully (I made a tiny calculation error, but it was easily remedied!). I am thrilled with the way it turned out, especially the top stitching and the little "V" at the bottom. I really tried to be precise.

But then, the collar... I tried using the Wiksten Tova collar, knowing that it was probably not quite right. It wasn't. So I removed it, and tried a self-drafted collar. But being all "clever," I tried sewing it on in a non-typical way, and it backfired big time. I tried removing it and putting it on in a more traditional manner, but I'd clipped too much of the seam allowance away for that to work. By this time, I've had to clip away my neckline bit by bit, and I realized that I needed to do something more drastic. But I've already put the buttonholes in my placket! I took a huge gulp, cut a newer/deeper neckline, and then drafted a new lay-flat collar. And... it worked! I was as careful as I could be, and I think it came out quite nicely. 

So the angle in the placket is gone -- I'd really placed it too high, anyway, so I think it's better this way. Another minor change I made was to line the bodice inset pieces. I decided to do that because my fabric is a bit light and I thought it might need more body. As it turns out, it's also a really good way to enclose all of the raw edges in the bodice (if you've made a Tova, you know what I'm talking about!)

I'm also totally in love with the bronze-y metal buttons I used (stash!), and I think this will be relatively easy to nurse in. Button-up styles have never been my favorite for nursing, but when it's a choice between wearing a Tova and not wearing a Tova, I'll deal with it! Though perhaps it's a bit ironic that I've never yet made a Tova exactly according to the pattern...

This is already my favorite piece in my closet. I find myself planning when I can wear it again! I can style it with different cardigans to change it up a bit, too. Not all of my sewing projects turn out this well, or are worn this frequently (especially at first! Sometimes it takes a while for me to wear garments I've sewn), so I am chuffed about this success. I think it's a combination of right fabric, right design. Maybe I'm starting to learn what really works for me? Next time, I'd like to try that angled placket again.

I still have a scrap of my dotted chambray left, so perhaps I can sew something tiny out of it once we find out this baby's gender!


  1. That dotted fabric is just super cute. And the leftover would look cute for baby boy or girl I would think.

    1. Thanks! I've been wanting to make something with dotted chambray for the longest time. :-) I'll have to be a bit creative if this baby's a boy, but the girl options are virtually endless!

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by!


  2. Very pretty and useful Shannon. 'Love that fabric also.

    1. Thanks, Danice! I'm hoping this one lasts a long time! :-)



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