Thursday, 6 June 2013

Silky Tova

Sorry I've not been around much! I've been a busy bee working on items for my Etsy store, as well as generally settling back into a normal routine after the wedding stuff. Our twins are also starting school in August, and so this month has been chocka with all sorts of meetings and events. I've been checking out everyone's Me Made May posts, and getting super jealous - wish I had the time (and enough me-made garments) to join in! If I haven't found time to comment, I'm sorry again, but I have been reading all your blogs!

So onto the last garment I made, right before the wedding, my crepe de chine Tova

When I made my last Tova, I mentioned how I'd like to make it in something with a bit more drape, and with that in mind, I was idly browsing eBay, looking at various types of crepe and georgette, when I came across a lovely 4m remnant of crepe de chine. I loved the print because it's prettily retro without being kitsch or looking costume like, which I generally try to avoid. I thought it would be perfect for making the 1940s Swing Dress from Sense and Sensibility patterns, so I bid enthusiastically (probably more than I intended to!) and won it. It worked out at £5 a metre, which I'm fairly happy with. As I was waiting for it to arrive, I began to wonder if I could get another Tova out of it, as well as the dress, and once I decided that I easily could, I went ahead and made one!

Now, I've never sewn crepe de chine before, or any kind of silk, but I have sewn a fair few slippery polyester dress linings, and foolishly thought I'd be good to go. I'm not saying it was a complete chore, but it was definitely slow, careful work, unlike my last Tova. I also learnt that you really can't unpick mistakes in this kind of fabric, as it will leave ugly needle holes. And since I'm the kind of sewist who does a lot of unpicking, that was a bit of a shock to the system. There is a lot to be said, however, for having a bit of confidence and jumping right in, as I still managed to produce a wearable top, despite the steep learning curve. Now if only I could apply the same attitude to knit fabrics!

Sorry this photo is so dark, I couldn't seem to get a decent one! Also, what the hell is going on with my hip in this shot?!

Remember how I said I was due some bad sleeve karma? Well this is it right here! The sleeves were a nightmare in this top, and they ended up looking uneven at the shoulders - one is more puffy than the other. I don't know if it's the type of thing that's only noticeable to people who sew clothes, and certainly nobody has pointed it out, so I think I got away with it ;) I added two little square buttons from my stash to stop it from gaping - they don't work, they're just decorative. I toyed with the idea of having working buttons, but then I saw sense!

This top has done something weird since I first made it though. I prewashed the fabric on the handwash setting on my machine, with a dash of silk and wool detergent, and it turned out fine. I wore it the day before my wedding, when I was really busy and had loads to do, and it was perfectly comfortable. In fact, I even wore it while I was setting up the decorations, and despaired a little when all that work made me sweat a bit, but it survived all that lifting and moving no problem! When I got home, I washed it again, on the same setting with the same detergent, and now it feels a bit snug along the shoulders. I feel like I can't reach forward in it easily, which is a shame, since I love it. I didn't have the same problem with my other Tova, so I know it's not a problem with the general fit. Maybe just a case of shrinkage, despite me being so careful to prewash it :(

It has also started to come undone a bit on the inside of the collar, as you can see below. I didn't quite catch the folded under seam allowance in places either. I think the hasty construction of this top has done it no favours, though I intend to wear it until it falls apart! It looks great with my navy linen Hollyburn skirt, and despite the shoulder issue, it's pretty comfy to wear.

The nitty gritty...
Pattern: from stash
Fabric: £7.50
Thread & buttons: stash
Total: £7.50

This is where investing in classic, reusable patterns really pays off. I think I'll probably make at least one more of these Tovas in the near future, so the pattern was definitely a good investment.

One of the interesting side effects of making my own clothes is that I wash them less. That's not as gross as it sounds! The simple fact is, very often, I'll just bung a top or dress in the washing machine, despite only having worn it once and it not being especially dirty, which isn't very eco-friendly! My worry about my me-made garments falling apart in the machine has led me to be a little more discerning about what goes into the machine and when, and I consider that a good thing :)

My clothes sewing is on the back burner while I restock my Etsy store, and I've got a craft fair in July that'll see me kept quite busy. But I'd like to get a few items made in time for our holiday at the end of July, so hopefully I'll have something new to share soon.


  1. It looks great, the fabric is gorgeous!


  2. Love that Tova! I think the crepe de chine gives it a lovely drape.

  3. It's very pretty, hope it's still wearable despite the fit, that's really annoying.