Tova – first dress

I finished my first linen dress last weekend (a Wiksten Tova dress with mods). It went surprisingly smoothly, overall. I managed to add inseam pockets, did french seams all the way through and even made continuous bias binding (that was interesting!). All fairly smoothly and painlessly…

Until I got to the neck binding.

I had been dreading the bias binding at the collar and either I psyched myself out, or was spot on with my paranoia! It sucked. I must have re-done bits of it at least 5 times before I was satisfied with it.

First I tried it on the outside of the collar but it looked awkward and amateur-ish so off it came. I also realised that I should have cut more material off the seam allowance as I had decided not to add the collar or sleeves. Whoops (toile anyone? I need to find some cheap calico, though this likely means a trip to the dreaded Ikea, which I avoid like the plague. Why can’t Ikea do proper online shopping? They would sell so much more.).
failed neck first
Another glitch was that the back seemed to gape outwards a bit at the back of the neck, so I ended up putting in a pleat to bring it in (box pleat?)…pinned above and sewn below. (please ignore the bingo wings!! Wow. Talk about a view of yourself you don’t normally see…or want to.)
first dress pleat
So here she is. Comfy and very airy for the summer.
tova dress
It is funny, I am much more thrilled with my finished knits and I don’t know if this is because of the better quality finish I can now get in the knits or if it is just the greater time investment. It is weird. I am proud of the dress, but a bit ‘meh’ at the same time, whereas I am still – daily – thrilled with my Audrey! It might be the yarn. I have turned into a huge yarn-o-phile and get such a kick out of different yarn qualities…

Anyway, psychological dissection aside – I am ready to take on the more complex Tova version now with sleeves and collar. I went to The Cloth House in Soho yesterday and they have some gorgeous linen fabrics, but I just can’t justify the price until I get much better! I have been trying to find cheap-ish yarn-woven black linen or linen/cotton blend to do a full-sized version (3-3.5yds) but the cheapest I have seen is £14/m.  Still a bit steep for beginner projects.

If anyone knows of a good supplier for nice light linens on this side of the pond I would love to hear of it…EU as well!


Taking the plunge

I have been so inspired by reading about the sewing projects that pop up on my regular blog reads that I am taking the plunge – properly this time.

No off the cuff skirts or free form alterations, as in past… I am going legit and have bought a pattern, Wiksten’s Tova.

image Wiksten

I am hoping that the last year+ of constant knitting has instilled me with more patience and that after many lacklustre and frustrating attempts in the past, will be able to pull it off this time

I picked up this length of vintage linen, below, while at the seaside a few weeks ago and the plan is to sew a sleeveless linen smock/shirt/shift-y dress. I plan to make a few alterations to make this a simpler, and therefore hopefully more successful, first attempt.
tova linen
I am going to use the wrong side of the fabric for the body of the dress and the brighter, printed side for the yoke and pockets. (I really love the faded ‘palimpsest’ effect of the dye soaking through the fabric and was drawn to the fabric when it was inside out! It is a faded orange and purple-ish grey that shimmers delicately together and reminds me of my favourite intaglio print from my undergrad)

Below is the pattern being pieced together as I bought the digital version online.
I might actually finish this one! Fingers crossed.

A huge thank you to Gail, JoKristin and Karen for help and the gentle kick in the ‘seat area’ to give sewing another try through their inspiring projects and posts! And Gail – a big, huge thank you for pointing this pattern out as a slightly easier option than the Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt pattern I have been eyeing up for over a year!