Wiksten Tova

Just finished my second Wiksten Tova last weekend. The Tova has made the rounds in the online blogosphere; check out these several lovely versions from Karyn Valino. I found its design elegant, with its mandarin collar, placket, and gathered inset.

After three years of on-and-off sewing based almost entirely on instructions and projects from Diana Rupp’s fabulous S.E.W., I decided to take my first sewing class at the workroom in Bloor Parkdale area of Toronto. Over the four weeks, I patiently worked through elements of the pattern, with this nice result. Learnt lots of new features, including making a placket, raised collars and insets.

Here is the first version the Tova in dress length. The dress feels elegant to wear – the combination of the inset, collar and short sleeves feel feminine but practical.

While the Tova looked like it was supposed to, there is room for improvement. It felt baggier about the torso and more snug about the hips than I would like.

I decided to make Tova #2 at tunic length. Made this one in a happy spring-timey blue, selectingLizzy House’s “Pearl Bracelet” series. With the weather warming up, I decided to make it sleeveless. This was a decision I made half way through the piece, after having cut the sleeve pieces out.

Made two modifications. First, a preliminary try proved this tunic to be just as baggy as the last. So I took the seams in on either side, first a half-inch on each side, and then a whole inch. Each time, I set the stitch length to max, basted it, and tried on the top to test the first. So I ended up making the dress 2 inches narrower than the “S” pattern.

Second, a modification that took much longer: making the top sleeveless in time for the warmer weather. To give the holes a finished appearance, I used bias tape. Despite reading several blog posts and looking at numerous Youtube demos (the most useful of them being this one), I had a hard time doing this right and spent at least two hours with my seam ripper, taking out poor stitches and trying again.

So here is my take on how to face armholes with bias binding:

Step 1: Mark off the seam allowance. Trim it completely; i.e. cut up to the dashed line.