Tag Archives: toile

A slight diversion

As well as the wedding dress, I am also going to be making my bridesmaid’s dress:


I have been going to a sewing class this term – or strictly speaking I suppose I should say I signed up for a sewing class but have so far not been the best attendee – I think I only have a 50% attendance rate at the moment.

Now though, the class is going to be a great way to have at least a few hours every week working on my own dress alongside The Dress – which as you can imagine is currently taking up most of my headspace and energy!

So veering into bridesmaid territory, I now have pieces to be sewn up into my toile – two toiles on the go at once, can you believe it?!  Such precision has never been seen before here at Maison Bold.  Is this the strangest pattern piece you have ever seen?

This is the right front – it’s so huge it doesn’t fit on one pattern sheet and you have to tape the 1A bottom section onto the top piece yourself before you cut them.

I’ll try and get it basted together before next week’s class so that I can move onto proper fitting.  According to the pattern companies my body is all over the place size-wise, so I expect there’s going to be quite a bit of adjusting to do.  I normally always have to do an FBA, but don’t have the first idea how I would go about doing one on a pattern piece this shape, so I’m hoping I can take away excess rather than adding in extra.  Maybe with the back darts and the side ruching it could just be a case of cinching it all in, as my waist and back are small compared to my curvy bits – but wouldn’t that just be a bit TOO EASY?!  But it would be nice to have an uncomplicated ride on one of the dresses at least !

I took along my upgraded bodice toile for a bit of input from my teacher too – it’s currently looking like this:

Boning channels basted in place (ignore the wonkiness of some of them, again, it was late! but I can see that I need to reposition a couple) and seams adjusted to hopefully give a better fit.  My sewing teacher made the suggestion of putting boning just next to rather than on the side seams so that you have somewhere you can nip in in the event of pre-wedding weight loss, so I’ll move those too and see how that works.  I also want to do a test with all the layers I’m planning to use in the real fabric to see if it’s stiff enough, because I’m thinking I might need to plan for an extra layer of underlining.

Anyway, we’ll see on Friday how successful this version is!  I’d better go cut out the polyester skirt toile v2 now so I can fit the whole thing together.

And the eagle eyed among you may notice that even my ironing board has had a brand new cover and underlay in preparation for the precious material it will soon be having smoothed over it.  I’m now on the hunt for a dry iron too, which Susan Khalje assures me (and all the other readers of Bridal Couture) is the way to go with these precious silks to avoid the unexpected splutter of water and scum which can happen with a steam iron on a low setting – I can definitely do without that kind of mishap!  In John Lewis today I was told that it might be better to get a new iron and never put any water in it so that you don’t get splutters, but have the benefit of the non-stick plate.  But then he said that might still burn the fabric.  Yikes!  Does anyone have any experience or suggestions?  Unfortunately, I’m not in the market right now for the gorgeous professional iron he was marketing!

Oh dear.  This sewing thing is really getting a bit out of hand, I can’t believe I just called an ironing contraption gorgeous.


Toile, v2

As I mentioned in my first post, it was difficult moving on from the first toile to the second, partly because it felt like I had loads of alterations to do, but mainly because I didn’t really know how I was going to do them, or have a really firm idea in my mind of how I was going to get this dress to be a couture wedding gown (well, a girl can dream, can’t she?!) rather than a homemade hodgepodge.

Enter my new best friends, who will be holding my trembling hand along this journey:

I ordered the Bridal Couture CD a few months ago, but when I first read through it, it was all a bit much to take in.  Now though, since I have more of a concept of The Dress, it all makes sense, and I got really excited about all the hand-sewing, underlining etc which will make this dress special (positive thinking!).

First though, I needed to take my sorry-looking yellow bedsheet to the next level, as well as create the organza overlay pattern.

I should take a small step back and explain that having zero drafting experience, I had cobbled together the strapless bodice from this pattern:

and the panelled skirt from this pattern:

plus added a train on to give this:

Back view before dismantling

What you can’t see here is that I made the beginner drafter’s error of only adding the train shaping onto the two back panels, so before dismantling the toile I took 15cm off the length of the train and altered it so that the grading started from the side seams.  I also added 15cm onto the whole length of the skirt to accommodate wedding heels, and eliminated the seam from the front skirt panel.

Then I had to draft the organza bodice overlay – the skirt will be the same as the main skirt, but the overlay bodice is sleeveless rather than strapless.  Again, no drafting experience, so I started with this to get a neckline and armscye:

Vogue 8615

but I had to change it to a) make princess seams, b) eliminate the side seams and c) have the back v meet the top of the main bodice, all while trying to get the  two layers of princess seams to match.  This took me ages, and a lot of stress and fear, but eventually I ended up with this:

Next, some jiggery pokery to add seam allowances and then refit to the adjusted toile bodice.

I made toile v2 out of polyester satin which I underlined with calico, with a polyester organza overlay.  Believe me, this is nothing like the real thing!

To cut a long story short, when Sue tried on the polyester bodice toile v2, it wasn’t exactly perfect!  She didn’t have a strapless bra, it was too tight in various places, and gaping in others.  We adjusted the organza neckline to be rounder rather than a pure boat neck. Oh yes, and the whole effect wasn’t helped by the fact that I sewed the seams on the right hand side of the bodice on the outside rather than inside – it was quite late at night by this stage (too much Bury St Edmunds chilling / procrastination).  On the plus side though, the princess seams almost matched!

Just a few (!) adjustments to be made:

What a mess!

I’ve now decided to get round the potential danger of back bra-show and bridal weight loss by trying bra cups in the dress instead.   I bought some at Maculloch & Wallis the other day – now I just have to find out how to put them in.  Does anyone know any good tutorials?

I have also decided to whizz over to Cardiff this Friday for another toile fitting, this one including bra cups, bones, seams on the inside rather than outside, skirt…

Breathe, Nancy!  It’s all a process…



Welcome to To Boldly Sew!

Since I started sewing about a year ago, one of the things I have found hardest is starting a project.  Now, part of this is the fact that there are just so many things I want and need to sew for myself, that committing to just one thing at a time can be an issue, especially as I generally start sewing about a day or so before I plan to wear the new dress, top, whatever.  As you can imagine, this has led to more than a few late night sewing sessions, which generally end with me falling into bed, defeated, at some ungodly hour, vowing never again to fall into this trap!

As handicapping as that is, it is not the main problem.  No, the main issue I struggle  with in my sewing is FEAR.  Paralysing fear, that the various pattern adjustments I invariably have to make will not work out.  Of course, many people would do the sensible thing and make a muslin / toile first, but I refer you back to the paragraph above as an explanation why this does not generally happen.

Fast forward to a few months after I made my first dress, to when my gorgeous best friend asked me if I would make her wedding dress.  Crazy girl, crazy plan, and I of course declined.  But when she asked me again a couple of months later, and we went dress shopping, I found myself agreeing most boldly to attempt to recreate a gorgeous £4000 custom made designer dress for her to wear to her May wedding.  Yikes.

Since then, the fear has been rearing its ugly head most vigorously and persistently.  So I have decided to conquer it once and for all, at the same time tackling my poor forward planning / lack of muslining, and be BOLD.

And how is progress today, you may ask, with the wedding a mere 14.5 weeks away?  Hmmm.  I present you with my beautiful toile (which sounds much more elegant than muslin I think, and is entirely befitting this beautiful dirty yellow polycotton ex-bedsheet):

Cinderella, still firmly in pre-ball mode

Please excuse the background and poor lighting, although under the circumstances, it’s perhaps quite fitting!

Believe it or not, this is going to be a gorgeous (hopefully!), 2 layered dress, a flowing silk strapless underlayer as you see here, with a sleeveless slightly boat necked organza overlayer.

So encouraged by Karen and Jane whom I was lucky enough to meet in real life a few weeks ago, and all the lovely bloggers I’ve learned so much from and been so inspired by in the past year, I decided a blog would be the perfect way to document and track my progress in this rather daunting project.  I hope you might join me on my journey – I could definitely do with some external support!

Next up:  project planning!