Friday, May 15, 2015

Patriotic Plaid Tova Top

A few years ago Lauren and I really got into the idea of sewing our own clothes, so much so that we quickly purchased several indie pdf patterns. Although we loved the concept, we never really jumped at the actual producing anything.

Lauren received a new sewing machine for Christmas and our desire to sew was soon rekindled. I have bins full of fabric that I bought a while ago, many with the intention of making specific garments. So, I decided to pull out the red, white, and blue woven plaid and get started with a Wiksten Tova Top for myself. The patriotic-ness of the fabric didn't occur to me when I bought it, I just thought it was the perfect weight with plenty of softness for this specific pattern.
It took me about a week to sew up this top for several reasons. I do have a lot of patience when it comes to sewing which is a blessing, but also a curse. I know I need to stop sewing when I get too tired because I'll just keeping making mistakes which will take even longer to fix. I tell myself I should put off the next step till tomorrow when I have a fresher mind, but then I end up doing this every night instead of just pushing through. I'm grateful that this prevents me from making as many mistakes as I normally would, but this also means that it takes me easily twice as long to finish a project. I actually finished sewing this Tova Top several months ago, but it's taken a while to get blogged since being photographed like this in public can be a little intimidating to say the least.
I would love to own a serger someday, but right now it's not in my budget. Maybe if I get a lot better at sewing and I start sewing a lot more of my daily clothing, I'll find more a need for one. But right now, I'm all about the French seams. I love stitching 1/4 inch seams thanks to the ease of lining up my fabric against the foot of my machine. So when I do French seams, the total seam ends up needing a 1/2 inch seam allowance. This pattern though was designed with a 3/8 inch seams allowance. I did take these facts into account, but I decided to just cut my fabric with the existing pattern pieces and hope for the best. I figured it's a pretty loose fitting top, and mostly I honestly didn't want to have to do any extra work.

The biggest difficulty I encountered was sewing in the placket. It wouldn't have been an issue at all had I not chosen to use French seams. After a little frustration and a lot of seam ripping, I managed to make my placket look decent and I'm perfectly okay with its finished look. I had some issues understanding how to sew the sleeve cuffs on, but after some Google searching and stumbling upon a Sew Along, I finally figured it out! I also realized that I need to practice top stitching a lot more. This technique required a lot more seemingly endless seam ripping to achieve my desired finished look.

I sewed up a size small in the top length versus the tunic (and still needed to take an additional several inches off in length). Besides the length, the only other adjustment I made to the pattern was increasing the overall seam allowance from 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch, as mentioned above. Luckily, the finished garment fits perfectly even with this slight variation! And hey, now I have the perfect top to wear on the Fourth of July!
Even though they were a little annoying to sew, I love the details of the top. The adorable collar, sleeve cuffs, and placket completely make the piece and I'm sure I'll be using this pattern again. I want to make a tunic now! How cute would that be with some leggings/tights and boots for the Fall?