In the past year, I’ve tried to add to my wardrobe, but I always get discouraged shopping. Everything at the stores is so cheaply made or way too expensive, and I don’t have a lot of kid-free time to browse consignment and thrift stores. In my dream life, most of my wardrobe is from Alabama Chanin. While I am making my own organic cotton Alabama Chanin clothes, hand sewing a garment is slow going. I realized I should spend more money and time on machine sewn patterns and fabrics, or else my wardrobe is always going to be in a sad state. It’s gotten cold here quickly (there was a freeze warning yesterday and another one today though we were in shorts on Tuesday), and my cold weather clothes are probably the most pathetic part of my wardrobe. Since I was at home this week with my son who is on Fall break, I pulled out the Wiksten Tova shirt/dress pattern I bought a few weeks ago, and started on my muslin. As I’ve learned more about garment sewing and sewn a few items for myself, I’ve realized I always need to make a muslin first. Even when I choose the right size, there is always an adjustment or two I wish I had made once the garment is done and doesn’t fit as well as it could. Plus the anal sewer in me likes to have a practice piece for troubleshooting the tricky parts before making the real thing. For my Tova top, I bought a really nice cotton shirting fabric my local fabric store labeled Steven Allen. I wasn’t sure if they meant Steven Alan, but Google yielded nothing about this fabric nor the proper spelling of the designer’s name. I didn’t have any throw-away fabric similar to the shirting, so I made my muslin out of one of the 10 bolts of quilter’s cotton I bought at auction a few years ago. I knew the quilter’s cotton wouldn’t be quite right and I wasn’t that fond of the floral print, but if the muslin came out okay I figured I might wear the shirt sometimes.
The sewing of the pattern went well, and I felt the muslin came out better than okay (though I was right quilter’s cotton isn’t the best choice as it’s too stiff, and a fabric with similar right and wrong sides is better for this pattern). The size I chose was perfect, and the only adjustments I will make will be to take in the sides slightly and to hem the top shorter. Jenny did a great job with the instructions, drawings, and photographs (though a few are a little hard to understand due to the photos being in black and white), and I learned a couple of new sewing tricks from her too. Despite always liking this top/dress pattern in the myriad of fabrics Jenny and others have used, I was a little reluctant to buy it as the cost was more than I wanted to spend on a single pattern. But I kicked myself for not buying it the first 2 times, thus couldn’t click the buy button fast enough the 3rd time. I have a feeling I’m going to make several of these tops and maybe even a dress, so I should probably invest in a roll of oak tag. I know my improved wardrobe will appreciate it.