I thought about dyeing my Tova top, but to use natural dyes you apparently have to boil cotton fabric for a couple of hours to "scour" it. That would have shrunk my top disastrously. I suppose I could have just bought a pack of Dylon, because I've been told it's not that toxic - I don't think it has that symbol on it with the dead fish and the dead tree (I can't bring myself to buy anything with that on). But I asked my mum to add some embroidery to the front inset instead. I chose some threads from a bundle of half-used skeins that I got on Ebay a while ago. Then I picked the stitches from a book Mother has, drew the lines on the fabric, and gave it to her to sew. Didn't she make a nice job of it? I was so pleased when I got it back! We agreed that we might share out the designing and stitching like this again.
I thought it was best to have the embroidery on the outside edges of the inset rather than along the placket, because of the way the neck falls open. The design's deliberately not precisely symmetrical.
The stitches are back stitch, feather stitch (which the book said was traditional on English smocks, so seemed appropriate), French knots, and Danish knots. My mum used two strands of cotton and stitched very delicately to avoid pulling the fine fabric.
I'm entering this in Rae's Spring Top Sewalong, so - horrible! - I had to get a photo of myself wearing the top. I'm not a person who feels at home on that side of the camera. I just don't even know how to look "natural"; as soon as the lens is pointed at me a kind of appalled tension and awkwardness takes hold. (Or maybe I always look like that...?) Posing is so embarrassing - maybe even worse than having to look at yourself in the mirror with someone observing. Readers, have any of you managed to overcome this problem? What's your secret? It's such a relief that headless photographs seem to be entirely acceptable in the sewing blog world!