Back in the day, pre-blog, I made a simple skirt from some Tina Givens quilting cotton. It was one of my favorites for a long time. I actually wore it out, though that was probably from shoddy sewing more than anything else. I have another cotton print of hers that has survived a couple of stash purges now even though I don't sew with quilting cotton anymore. I've always liked her fabric prints. They have a cool, global feel. But really, I like that you can tell Givens' original designs were most definitely done by hand. That they began as an actual physical brush-and-paper artwork.
I came across Tina Givens' sewing patterns one day while browsing the interwebs. I am fully aware that they are not every one's cup of tea. I can admit that they might look like something an aging art teacher would wear. But I say that with love. There is something about about her patterns that I really like. I like linen, especially rumply linen. I told you in my last post that I am drawn to volume here lately. And I just so happen to be an art teacher- ha! Maybe that's it.
I made the Luella tunic twice. Both from some fantastic, rumply, medium weight linen which was so much fun to sew with. The first version was the midnight blue one which I made up exactly as it was designed except for a change to the neckline. The white version I made next with a few more changes. I shortened the back skirt, as you can see. I also shortened the sleeves some, reduced the width of the bindings and widened and lowered the neckline. I found the v-neck to sit high on me when I sewed it up as drafted. When I realized the neckline was too high on the blue version, I just lopped off the binding and scooped out the neckline pretty haphazardly. I probably should have left it alone because I ended up with a great big sloppy-looking neckline. My solution to fix it was to put in an inverted pleated at the front before finishing it with bias.
After looking at these photos, I think I'm going to back and tweak the blue version. I'd like to try and bind the neckline like the white version even though it will be deeper. And I'd like to shorten the sleeves.
I do, however, love the crazy sweeping ruffly hem. And I'm not normally a ruffly sort of person. Don't be fooled by the ease. Yes, this is an over-sized pattern but it is not a bunch of rectangles. The seams are curved and unusual. And those funky little pleats in the side seams are really something special. I think, anyway. I made a size small, which the pattern says fits a 2-8. I normally wear a 10 for reference.
I finished my ruffles with a rolled hem on my serger. They kind of remind me of napkins. The instructions tell you to serge the edges or zig zag and let them fray. I almost wish I had done the frayed edges. Seems fitting on a top like this. There is quite a bit of ruffling to do! I found the best way to do the gathering was to zig zag over a piece of upholstery thread. I love how the ruffles are sewn on the outside of the top.
I do have a couple of negative observations to make. I ordered a printed pattern because I hate, like hate with a passion, taping together pdf patterns. So imagine my disappointment when I got my printed pattern and still had to tape some of the pattern pieces together. I got over it, though, when I realized that it was only a minimal amount of taping. I think there were two pattern pieces that had to be pieced. It was really not a big deal. Also, the instructions are pretty vague. You have to know your way around a sewing pattern to sew this up. There are a couple of technical drawings included in the pattern instructions, but no finished pattern line drawing. I use pattern line drawings more than anything when I'm trying to figure out how to sew something.
I am thrilled with both finished tops. Especially the white one. I know I will wear it with shorts for the summer like above but it will transition perfectly in to fall with jeans and boots. It's different and swingy and fun to wear It's a weird and wonderful pattern! I bought another Tina Givens pattern that I plan to make up this fall, but her Zoe dress pattern is calling my name for this summer.