A toile, saving me from impending doom!

I have been lusting over one of my vintage patterns for ages, visualising the end result and loving it.

Very well loved (even before it came into my possession!)

It was time to get it underway when a niggling thought in the back of my mind stopped me. The last time I made this dress was in the late 90’s, pre-kids. My body shape has undergone so much since kids, it’s basically ruined.

So, I decided to make a toile. A toile, for those who don’t know, is basically a trial garment. I watch my sewing friends make endless toiles and most end up being completely wearable. I don’t often make toiles, mainly because I mostly use second hand fabric which is cheaper than muslin or calico, so I just plough on and tweak as I go.  I am also lazy and sometimes can’t be bothered!

I thank the sewing gods that I made a toile with this one. I remembered from years back that the waist sat too low on me and there wasn’t enough room in the hips so I thought I would retrace the pattern and make those adjustments.

I am so glad I decided to retrace this pattern, it is in a terrible state. There are tears and even a piece missing.



The fabric I used was a charity store find of yellow cotton gingham. It has a nice feel to the fabric but I don’t do yellow (as you will soon see) as it does nothing for me. It’s also a bit Daisy Duke (without the good boobs). But I used it because it is the same fabric weight as the good stuff I was hoping to finally make it from.

I am not exaggerating when I say a toile saved me from impending doom. If I had ploughed on and made it I would probably be crying by now.  My initial idea was that I refashion this beautiful kimono into this dress, a sleeveless maxi version. Disaster averted!

My kimono to be refashioned!

I made a terrible mess of the front bodice centre seam, I even under stitched it and the facing will still not sit flat.  I also failed miserably when attaching it to the skirt – eek!

Must try harder…
The waistline was too low so I moved it up a little
I added some width to the hip area

My main issue is the way it skims my stomach, I know I would spend my entire time sucking it in and feeling paranoid that is was too tight and pulling. It just has that maternity feel to it.  It’s the one bit of my post-kid body that I really can’t shift or come to terms with! My friend calls it my body dysmorphia issue! Perhaps she is right, but the last time I wore an empire line dress someone asked me if I was pregnant.  Well I had been, two years earlier!

I am sucking it in here!


I find the overall pattern unflattering. It really isn’t my cuppa tea anymore. I am a little sad about it because I love this pattern and I love all the dresses I made from it in the past. I think it’s time to realise that clean lines and perhaps more modern shapes are my style these days.

Hi5 rubbish toile!

3 thoughts

  1. Oh no! It’s so sad when a beloved item of clothing or pattern is just no longer “you”. It’s slowly starting to happen in my wardrobe. I had gotten to the point of thinking “how many dresses can one girl need?” when assessing my sewing plans. I really thought I still loved all my makes. But…. my very favourite dress got retired this summer. Not worn out… just a little twee, a little “young” and ill-fitting. It was from a very favourite vintage pattern, but it’s just not me anymore. The consolation? You have so many new “friends” to make, so many new vintage patterns to discover and a chance to evolve. Evolve my friend, because your style is awesome!! xxx


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