Tova Top in Heirloom Linen

Seems like the entire World Wide Internet Web is talking about the Tova pattern, so it was high time I made one for myself.  I chose a deliciously lightweight heirloom linen in a subtle lilac check–love!

The pattern is everything I’d heard it was: clean and straight-forward to assemble, with a great fitting sleeve and nice details that make it look high-end without a ton of extra effort.  The sleeve especially pleased me, since I really, really appreciate a sleeve that goes in cleanly, without a ton of wrangling.  This one reminds me of the Schoolhouse Tunic in the way it fits with so little easing and finagling.

I hemmed and hawed a bit on what size to make.  The M is for bust 35-36, and the L for bust 37-38, but I measure 36.5 over my bra, so I was torn.  Ordinarily, I’d jump in and make the smaller size, since I know I prefer a slimmer fit, but I’d heard that the Wiksten tank is snugger in the bust, and I didn’t want to risk it with this linen.  So I went with the L.  It’s looser than I would have chosen, but I think that’s a good thing–because I tend to get things that fit more closely to the body, I don’t have a lot in my closet that is loose and easy like this.  And in trying it on, I realized that the few things I do have that are easier in fit I wear over and over, so I’m pleased to have something new that I can throw on for carpool or put over my swimsuit or just wear on those not-feeling-my-skinniest days.  Which happen more frequently the further behind me 35 gets, but that’s another story.

This sleeve hem is pretty nice, too, with the itty bitty cuff and the loose fit.  I imagine in the dress length, maybe in a pinwale corduroy, I’d love this in the winter and fall.  The fit of the inset is nice and easy, too, and so soft and unstructured over a simple camisole.

I was hesitant to make this with no interfacing, and had to turn to Twitter this morning when I realized the pattern doesn’t call for ANY.  What??  No interfacing?  But really: she doesn’t use any interfacing.  And a big part of me, the one that’s been sewing for a long time, pushed back on that HARD.  Because how do you make a placket and a collar with no interfacing, right?  I’m super glad I elected to trust the pattern and my fabric choice, because I think the loose and relaxed result is just the right note to hit with this shape.

I’ll be teaching a class using the Tova top this summer, too, as one of the pre-day sessions at the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion.  If you take the BabyLock school, or any other school during the last full week in July, you can sign up for any of three additional days ahead of time, making one project each day.  If you’ve been wanting to do a retreat but haven’t found one, or if you’d like to refine your garment-making skills, it’s such a fun chance to do that–and they have lunchtime prizes and lots of goodies to go along with everything, too.  It’s like summer camp for grown-ups, but with sewing machines!

I think the part from this pattern that probably benefits the most out of having guidance when you haven’t used the technique before is installing the yoked inset.  There’s a trick to getting the corners to fit and having a smooth result that gets easier the more you do it–but isn’t it always nice to have someone blaze the path and give you some pointers to get it done?

I’m not entirely sure what this look is on my face, but I think I was trying to show how comfortable this top is to wear–I’ll for sure be making at least one more, probably a stripe.  My one regret is that I didn’t cut the inset on the bias:

I love, love, love this fabric, but if I had one thing to do over, I’d have cut these checks on the bias for the inset and the cuff, to add a little visual interest to the top as a whole.  I’m thinking for a striped version, it’ll have to be a mix of directionality in order to keep this simple shape spiced up. Other than that, I think it’s totally dreamy!  I’m wearing it right. this. second.  And I’ll be wearing it Thursday night to suck up to the local PTA as we head to our first meeting before our #2 child goes to the local public school.  I’m hoping this top will hit just the right note of chic-but-confident-and-relaxed so that they’ll want to play with us.  Ah, the suburbs!

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  • Lizzy House
    June 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    You are too stinkin’ cute.

    • Deborah
      June 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Dude. You should see the outtakes–some of the ones from yesterday and today are so totally goofy that I saved them in their own special folder. I have no idea what happens to my face when I’m in front of a camera, but it’s good for some serious comedic relief. I can tell you that today consisted of at least one Superman pose, and one YMCA reference. For real.

      Having said that, I will accept your compliment and thank you! 🙂

  • Kim
    June 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Love that! Must get pattern and try myself!

    • Deborah
      June 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      You can totally do it! I cut last night and stitched this morning while the kids were at camp–maybe three hours total, when you deduct baby chasing and checking email. So much fun, and I’m wearing it to the pool this afternoon! Whoot!

  • Darcy
    June 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Love this! Teach this class HERE so I don’t have to drive to Huntsville (insert whining here 😉

    • Deborah
      June 21, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Duly noted, and I have my elves working on it! Hee!

  • Megan
    June 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I’m working on my second Tova (between Quilting class and other projects) and I’m still not happy with the darn placket corners. But, considering I’ve only been sewing since January, I’m trying to relax about it. Yours is beautiful!

    • Deborah
      June 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

      They’re tricky, but if your fabric will tolerate the unpicking, it’s totally worth taking them out and re-sewing in order to be happy. Having said that, the whole lower edge is gathered, so if your corners aren’t flawless, it’s pretty doubtful that anyone will notice! Thanks for the compliments–I’d love to see photos of yours!

  • Sewing Princess
    June 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    You look gorgeous in that top! I love the smirking pose! well done, really. I wish I could join you on the summer camp. Must be loads of fun!

    • Deborah
      June 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Oh, you’re so sweet to say that! Would love it if you could be at “camp” with me–I won’t have many familiar folks around, would be fun to be a newbie with someone else! 🙂

  • Norah Kellerman
    June 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Looking gorgeous. I love the way you are rocking those poses. I will have get the pattern to that I can try making it too.

    • Deborah
      June 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Aren’t you funny! My daughter took these photos for me, and she asked if I “love being a model.” So I told her the truth: “No, mostly I just feel silly.” But it was fun, and I adore the top. I can’t encourage you enough to make one–sooooo summer-friendly!

  • Michelle
    June 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I bought this pattern after you mentioned it the first time. I hesitated because I thought it might look like maternity wear, but after seeing it on you, I’m glad I got it. It’s looks great and comfy!! Please tell me how you sew with a two year old around?? I have not mastered that task.

    • Deborah
      June 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      After spending most of the last five years either pregnant or breastfeeding, I had the same worry–but there’s something about where the yoke hits at the bustline that’s just right on this. Like I mentioned, I made the L, but probably could have worn the M and been fine. Will make another and let you know how the sizes compare!

      As for sewing with a 2yo, I do occasionally dose her up with Barney and work feverishly for 40 minutes. 🙂