We’re a Couple of Toiles

Swelled up and wearing a happy face today.

This toile is for a tux for a daughter who doesn’t live near to me, never likes anything I make (generation label!) and vanity sizes when asked to measure up. I threw in the towel long ago, but was begged to recreate a suit seen in rtw.

Tux Toile

Tux Toile

I knocked out a pattern per the description and approximate measurements, ran up the toile and buried it waiting for a visit. To be brief, she tried it on and exclaimed ‘that’s lovely Mum’, to her surprise and mine. Praise gets no higher. It almost fits (just fba one cm.).

Details – hip length jacket with princess seams, two piece sleeve and shawl style collar, wraps over and fastens with a tie at waist level. The tie and pockets weren’t done for the toile, interfacing etc left out as well.

This half scale toile is a first response to the Six Napoleon Challenge Marianna threw into the ring, which Kate has written about here.

Preliminary Mock Up

Preliminary Mock Up

Side of Dress

Side of Dress

The pattern was flat drafted from half scale blocks which are not exactly the same measurements as my stand, Aldrich blocks, PGM stand. The eagle eyed will spot that I forgot to redraw the back neck.

Bodice Pattern

Bodice Pattern

From the photo it looked to me as though the bodice had two sets of vertical seams in the front, a classic princess seam from the armhole and a seam from the neckline to hem. It also appears to be cut higher on one hip than the other and has a point asymmetrically placed. The skirt has pleat folds and some kind of hi-low hem. I don’t have a back view to work from. The bodice part is straightforward enough, but the skirt has several variables. How deep are the pleats? Are all layers of the organza pleated together? How much flare is in the skirt? What happens at the back?

Skirt Pattern Roughed Out

Skirt Pattern Roughed Out

I took the simplest route for the back view, but think that I’d prefer more interest in it and a skirt which was basically midi all round with some ‘hi’ rather than a shorter skirt with one ‘lo’.

Back - Easy Option

Back – Easy Option

Working the pleats, I made these quite deep and flared out at the hem. Careful planning will be necessary to hide the seams in full scale, as a flared and pleated skirt this full and long would need to be pieced. One of the nice features of the design is the hem with a deep facing. This adds some weight and emphasises the shape.

There was some discussion about doing a corset style construction for the bodice. I would not do this on the model as shown. The shoulder seams will allow normal foundation wear and using a firm fabric and side zip it should be possible to get a close fit without using boning. Aficionados of the corset construction may disagree.

I’ve made a few dresses with a similar bodice.  A zip down the side seam on the longest bodice side has been the best solution for getting in and out of the garment. Making up in full size I’d cut a full lining for the bodice and bury the bodice/skirt seam between the layers, probably taking the zip from the bottom of the armhole. It is usually a little easier to get into a very fitted bodice when the zip uses the full length from armhole to hip, instead of being set in the classic position a couple of inches down from the armhole.

I like Kate’s idea of doing the bodice and skirt as separates.  That’s another solution which would lend itself to some different design possibilities, especially with the fastening. Small covered buttons and rouleau loops anyone? Or, of course corset lacing if you go that route.

On the standard 12 the position of the princess seam I used was a little to the side of the BP, the extra length on the central piece which is represented by the pointed end of the dart on a block was small enough to ease in. If I make this up for dd2, it may need a different arrangement for D cup. A small dart here would be discreet in black anyway.

Has anyone more detail on the original dress?



About jay

I design and draft patterns
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6 Responses to We’re a Couple of Toiles

  1. sew2pro says:

    Wow, Pella, you’re well ahead of me there and your many thoughts on this are so helpful. (e.g. I hadn’t given the zip any thought except to assume it’s on the side but of course it would have to be a long side.)

    I like your bodice shaping. I wonder if I could make them even more exaggerated – more sweeping – or whether this would pull on the grainlines.

    As the skirt fits onto an asymmetric line, I’m not sure it would work as a separate stand-alone garment. But I did wonder if it was easily detachable, could I make a day skirt as well as a more refined evening one, to give the dress more of a chance of getting an airing.

    I have posted some stuff on the Dogstar facebook page fishing for info about the dress (but am not hopeful that this gets many views). I will start dedicating more of my time to this challenge from Wednesday.

    Well done on your daughter’s tux. It even looks good in calico which is not true of many garments. Will it be a traditional black?


    • jay says:

      The bodice seams on this stand don’t fit ‘her’ as closely as I would envisage for the real deal. They could end up with greater curves, depending partly on the person it fits. Kate’s separates idea could work, the bodice would go over a skirt which could have a yoke exactly matching the bodice dips – but it might move around a bit in wear. Tux will be black, got to buy the fabric ( probably satin backed crepe).

      Liked by 1 person

      • sew2pro says:

        I suppose it could be tacked on invisibly and removed when no longer needed.

        When I mentioned the bodice seams, I didn’t mean fitted to the body but left to right, like swaying in the wind type of effect. Geez, if I think too deeply I could spend months on this 😯


  2. fabrickated says:

    Thanks so much for your design development Jay. It is so helpful. I have done a drawing so far, imagining the back view. I am going away for a week so won’t start until mid June, but I will be thinking about it when I am away.


  3. jay says:

    I’m not happy with all of that toile, but it has got me sorting out some of the construction details I would use Kate. Can’t wait to see how you interpret this idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Six Napoleon dress update – Fabrickated

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