Wednesday 9 January 2013

The Tova

I am sure most of you have come across the Tova pattern over the past couple of years as it has been very popular amongst the 'Sewista'. There is even a flickr group for all 'Wiksen patterns'. For a while this pattern was only available in print and rather pricey at that but since last year it is available as download for a reasonable USD 10.
Every time I see a Tova on anybody's blog I feel compelled to try the pattern although I must confess the Tova isn't actually my style. But there is something about it obviously otherwise I would not feel so attracted to it and I think I am happy to wear the blouse/caftan style in holidays.

In my late teenage years I did a lot of garment sewing which means that I am familiar with the techniques but I still thought it would be a longish process. One of the reason I gave up garment sewing was that it got on my nerves that you have to very frequently try on your cloth to make sure you are on the right track. Luckily you don't have to do that with a quilt !

I bought the pattern months ago but stalled and stalled until eventually I bought the right fabric (read all about my double gauze Nani Iro fabric here) and as I have a holiday coming up I thought I better get on with it.

So I started sometime last Saturday thinking I would cut out the pattern and see where it gets me. I wasn't feeling all that good anyway but wanted something to do. Little did I know that a few hours later I had a finished Tova hanging outside my wardrobe to admire. The pattern is great and easy to follow and the whole sewing experience was fantastic. I made a few changes along the way though and have a few tips on sewing with double gauze.

  • I used a jersey needle from Schmeltz to sew the double gauze as the fabric is rather soft. This worked a treat. 
  • I used 2 m of fabric
  • I did not sew a decorative 1/4 inch stitch around the inset (above) as it did put to much strain on the fabric ( I did sew it but took the stitches out again). I only secured the overlap in the end as seen above.

  • I shortened the lengh by about 4 to 5 inches. I think the indicated lengh in the pattern works best for taller people. I am of average hight (1.68 m) but prefer blouses or caftans to be no longer than a quarter way down my derriere.

  • The pattern calls for a 3/4 length arm of which I am no fan of (at all !) so I lenghtened the arms by about 5 inches, ending including the cuff just above the wrist. If you like to do the same then make sure you measure the lengh of your arms when you have the front and back stitched together; i.e. trying it on. If you have very long arms then make sure you add enough lengh when cutting out the fabric (you can always shorten afterwards).

  • There are a lot of areas that require gathering which got a tiny bit on my nerves but it adds to the charm of the pattern and really isn't that difficult.

  • Overall as already said this was a very pleasant sewing experience but I do think that you need some exerpience in garment sewing before attempting this. Kerry from Verryberrykerry did host a Tova sew-along a while back where you can get more tips if you wish and there are also discussion threads on the flickr pool that might be helpful.

I am rather pleased with the finished result and a bit proud because I had my doubt I could pull this off so easily having only sewed a simple skirt in Spring 2011 after years of garment sewing abstinence. So pleased in fact that I am already planning to sew another one but I'd better wear this one a couple of times to make sure I am actually going to like myself in it.


  1. Wow Judith it looks great! It will be so soft and lovely to wear. So far I've only made scarves out of double gauze but I'd love to make a top.

  2. That looks absolutely fabulous! I avoid garment sewing, but having been eyeing this pattern up for ages, as this is definitely my style, but possibly above my skills at the moment. What type of garments would you suggest to make as a beginner to help with the garment sewing process, so I can move up to this at some point?? Ange : )

  3. Looks great! I love that fabric! I love how you photographed yours.

    I too had avoided garment sewing for the same reasons. But I love my tovas. So I may have more garment sewing in my future!

  4. What a beautiful Tova! I wish I had your dressmaking skills! Jxo

  5. Such a lovely Tova! I made one last year and have got the fabric lined up for a second - going with long sleeves this time as the 3/4 ones get stuck on my elbows sometimes!!!!


Thank you for your comments! I love reading them and will answer every question you have on my projects. But I have a very busy daytime job and am therefore not able to thank each and every comment. Please don't be offended if I won't reply.