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a chambray wiksten tova

Posted by Jessica Povenmire on

As we get closer and closer to the launch of the La Mercerie shop, I've been desperately sewing, knitting, and planning into the wee hours of the morning to get everything prepared. Which, of course, hasn't left much time for some of the more fun projects on my list. Slowly but surely, I'm making my way through them. I just finished my second Alder Shirtdress with the Grainline Studio sewalong (blog post coming soon-I've got some more thoughts on the pattern!) and will be starting on a flannel variation in the next couple of weeks. The Alder Shirtdress couldn't be more versatile if it tried...

I've also come to love the Wiksten Tova pattern over the past couple of months. My first attempt didn't fit quite right-it was too short, too tight, and needed a bust adjustment-and so I set it aside for awhile before making a second attempt. But after spending some time at Drygoods Design with their apparel construction genius, I finally got it to fit me just right. The biggest change I made to the pattern was adding a full bust adjustment. This was a completely new technique for me, but it completely changed the way the dress lay through my chest. If you don't have a local sewing studio to help you do a full bust adjustment on your own, By Hand London and Colette Patterns have great tutorials online for both full and small bust adjustments.

The pattern itself is very well written and easy to follow. With the ability to make a pattern for both the top and the dress, it offers a lot of versatility. Although the finished product looks somewhat complicated (or at least it did to me), Jenny Gordy writes clearly and takes it one step at a time throughout the pattern. She includes instructions for top-stitching and french seams, which just creates an even more professional looking finished product.

For this Tova dress, used a Robert Kaufman reversible double cloth to take me from summer into fall...who doesn't love a good chambray in any season?! Plus, using a reversible fabric means that I don't have to worry about what's showing if the placket falls open. To customize the fit, I did the full bust adjustment, as well as lengthened the dress pattern by about 2 inches. I also decided to make short sleeves instead of the full sleeve that comes with the Wiksten Tova pattern to make it more versatile through the seasons. To do this, I took a shirt with a sleeve length that I wanted and traced out from the armpit to the sleeve hem. I then took that measurement, added the seam allowance (I doubled it to allow for folding up twice before stitching), and applied it to the Tova sleeve along the seam line.

I think I'm seeing a combination of this Tova dress and the Alder shirtdress in my future...I love the fit through the body of the Alder dress, but love the placket at the neck of the Tova Dress. How many shirt dresses is too many? Oh wait, it's never too many.

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