The first time I saw this pattern, I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed. I thought that Wiksten’s Tova was a little too “granny” for me with its bib front and slightly puffed sleeves. I thought I’d see some cute Tova on even cuter long haired girls in pretty vintage florals, but on me? A pixie cut + bright, crazy fabric + floaty Tova did not seem to equate to anything good, and so I forgot all about the pattern and moved on. And then I saw this version, this version, and this version and everything changed. I saw how wrong I was, how this pattern was actually super versatile, how clean the lines on it were, how the bib could be, well, sexy. My taste in fabric is definitely on the bright, colourful, highly patterned side, but there just aren’t that many patterns where the full craziness of the print can exist uninterrupted without a dart or pleat yanking it about. But Tova, Tova actively encourages you to use crazy pattern on the placket and collar while the body can be a calmer counterpoint to all that busyness.
And so, I made full use of this contrast and made a highly patterned version from some incredible wax fabric from the Ivory Coast (but bought in Japan). I cut off the sleeves and shortened the body, but other than that, this pattern is as written. The wax fabric was perfect for this as it has so much structure to it – making the Tova appear almost like a work friendly blouse. I wish I could find some more here as the only other print I have has been whipped up into a By Hand London Anna dress and is now waiting to be blogged!
I have made a second sleeveless Tova with some Indonesian batik printed fabric that I bought here in Singapore. This bright red material is highly patterned, but had a more muted border which I removed and applied to the placket, armholes, and base of the body. As this Tova is much longer, it could probably be worn as a dress if I had a little more confidence! I also made a small tie-belt from the black and white border to give the dress more shape and help break up the wild red swirls!
The Tova pattern is beautifully drafted and the instructions are simple, clear and friendly. I downloaded my copy as a PDF and it was quick and easy to put together, but there is a paper version which looks really beautiful. Tova is not difficult to make, but the insertion of the bib part is a little fiddly, so take it slow the first time (or in my case, seventh…!) you make it.
As I said, I have made six versions of this pattern and they all look incredibly different, so I will try to post the others (with sleeves, this time!) later in the week. This really is one of the most versatile patterns I have ever used, and I am so glad to have been proven wrong by it! Have you ever had an experience where a pattern has been completely different to how you expected?