A very wearable toile

So as many of you will have gathered from my post about the shrinking Bettine dress, I have many bad sewing habits. These range from not pre-washing my fabric to ignoring notches (about which more soon). One of my bad habits is not making toiles before I make garments.

For those of you unfamiliar with this term, a toile (pronounced twahl) is like a mock up of a garment made to assess fit, usually in a cheap fabric called muslin. However, one may also make a wearable toile from a cheaper but similar fabric to the one you plan on using eventually. I never usually make either of these. Usually I see a pattern as either a first time lucky make or one that I will get better at making with subsequent attempts if the first doesn’t work. I also try to buy cheap fabric anyway so I don’t have to worry too much about messing it up.

However, because I had just under 2 metres of some lightweight rayon, this time I decided that I should try a wearable toile of a pattern I’d had my eye on for a while. The pattern in question is one of my famously ambiguous freebies from ‘Love Sewing’ Magazine, the Key hole blouse. I thought it would be a nice top for work and casual wear,so the perfect addition to my home made wardrobe. It has the option to put pleats down the front, three sleeve lengths and has a cute pleat at the back of the neck (which it turns out is totally necessary- who knew?). I opted for no pleats, 3/4 length sleeves, and not to make my own binding but to go with a plain black shop bought one.

I just about squeezed the pieces out. I had slightly less than I thought. The fabric was a slippery thing from one of the remnants baskets in abakhans in Manchester. It moved a lot while I was pinning and cutting so it probably wasn’t as accurate as it could have been. But I cut it, pinned it, sewed it.  AND WORE IT!


It is a work in progress. The key hole opening is too large, but I can wear a vest or bandeau top underneath to hide gratuitous cleavage. I will make this smaller in future versions. The bias bound neckline is too thin and done in a rather haphazard way (due to its narrowness – twas the only binding I had). This is being redone as I type (well not literally, I only have two arms) and will be remedied in future versions with a wider, better quality binding. Also the curved hem was stupidly difficult to sew. In my next attempt I’m going to use bias binding as a facing to hem it. Hopefully this will make the curve easier. I also took the bias tape across the key hole in by about a centimetre just to decrease the gaping hole across my chest.

But generally, I love it. I wore it to lunch with my boyfriend and then to an open air Shakespeare performance that my friend was in last week. It was light and comfortable, looked really good with jeans and I think she is gonna be a firm favourite year round.

My next version will be orange. I’m very excited.




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