A shirt and a sneaky huntsman

I made this shirt and I don’t love it.

I loved making it, but wearing it is another story. This is one of my hesitations with sewing clothes — what if you spend all that time making something, and in the end it’s not meant to be? I know that alterations can help, and with experience I will hopefully learn how a garment is constructed and can change it to fit my shape. But until then, I have this shirt.

It’s not terrible. I put it on and I still smiled. After this photo was taken I was going to change into something else, but forgot and had to dash off to class. Both me and the shirt survived.

This was actually a practice shirt for some lovely Nani iro flannel I bought from Miss Matatabi, a fabric seller here in Japan. This practice fabric is some cotton I bought for cheap in Fabric Town, only because it has sneaky huntsman.

The pattern is Wiksten Tova, and the fit wasn’t quite right for me. It is a perfectly decent pattern with easy-to-follow instructions, but I learned that this style of shirt isn’t for me. I might be the only person in sewing-blog land to say that. Sorry everyone out there. Maybe I’ll try it again someday, but I’ll be ready to try some alterations. It’s not you Tova, it’s me. Let’s just be friends.

Have any of you made this shirt? Did you alter the pattern? I’m curious to hear!

24 thoughts on “A shirt and a sneaky huntsman

  1. I haven’t made this specific pattern, but wanted to just chime in and say that I’m a longtime lurker and I totally understand your predicament. I have a few things from when I first started sewing clothes that may or may not be salvageable later. I have learned from sewing for myself, however, exactly what type of patterns fit me well. For example, one reason I haven’t tried this pattern is because it’s neither my style nor the type of shirt that fits my body well. I also would love to sew myself a whole wardrobe of 1950s Betty Draper style dresses with big gathered/circle skirts because I love the aesthetic (and by god is it popular in blogland), but after I tried one, I realized that my body shape works best with straight/pencil skirts. Big skirts make me look dumpy.

    So anyway, that is a long way of saying: Don’t worry, it’s your first garment. It will get better from here. 🙂 Maybe you’ll figure out a way to fix it. Maybe you won’t, but you’ll at least have learned some construction and fitting skills!

  2. That is some beautiful fabric, and of course… it’s easy for me to say based on one picture, but I think the shirt looks really lovely! I happen to like necklines like that, so maybe I’m biased, and in the end, if you’re not comfortable wearing it, that sort of trumps everything. But for what it’s worth, I think it looks smashing.

    And, I also liked reading all the crazy flavors that foodstuffs seem to have in Japan, haha!

  3. You may not completely like the final result but from my point of view you should be proud of all the efforts you put in making it. I’m not an expert but it seems to be very well made and actually I also think that it looks good on you! 🙂 Keep up the good job!

  4. I like the idea of that pattern-comfortable and easy to wear, but I haven’t made it. It doesn’t feel like my style. So you’ve encountered early what most of us deal with at some point. Sewing your own clothes is a learning experience in more than one way. And yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I still do that occasionally. Either I get the fabric wrong or the style and feel so uncomfortable wearing it that it goes in the Goodwill bag immediately. Unfortunately, it’s part of the process of learning how to “read” a pattern.

  5. too bad it’s not to your taste – that’s such a drag after you spend time making something! i think it looks great on you 🙂
    i just finished making a tova dress. like you, i found it easy to make, and it’s super comfy, but i’m not sure it suits me. we’ll see if i ever actually wear it!

  6. Even if you don’t, I love this shirt! I think it looks great. The fabric is really well suited to the style and I live it looks lovely on you. I agree that it’s tough to figure out what styles you’re going to like before you make them. I think that’s a big difference with RTW clothes. The stakes seem lower if you’re just buying something, which I think is why so many of us have surplus clothes in our closets that we never wear. When you sew it yourself, you feel that not wearing it more acutely!

    • I totally agree! Though even if its not quite right, I think I’m more likely to wear something I made myself. It’s like a little secret only I know about, my handmade shirt hidden under a sweater. 🙂

  7. I have made this pattern too and it is indeed a great pattern, but I’ve found the style isn’t exactly right for me as a top. However, I like it enough that I plan to do it again as a dress next time (I’ve seen some great ones online paired with tights and boots, like in black or dark denim). If you haven’t seen it, you might want to check out Erin Harris’ blog “House on Hill Road” to read about her sagas with this pattern. Erin is a great seamstress and has had issues with this one too. Here’s a link:
    Oh and btw, I think the pic of you in your Tova is great! Ang, you really do look cute in it. That fabric is awesome too.

  8. I love your tova so much, that fabric is just brilliant, and it looks really cute on even if you don’t like it. I am a tova lover though, I’m wearing one right now, so I might be slightly biased!

  9. I really like the shirt and the material. I used to have a similar pattern. I thought the shirt was a comfortable shirt to wear. And being who I am, I altered where I felt daring. I always had trouble with the corners. I think you did a beautiful job.

  10. Oh, I’m so glad I finally found this post! I’ve made 2 Tova wearable muslins, each with the same fit issues… is that I can’t raise my arms. I did a FBA and graded up one more size, but there doesn’t see to be enough ease across the back shoulder blades. It’s been very frustrating to see only successful Tovas online (all mostly posed with arms down) and not know if I’m the only one.

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