The One Where Good Undies Count

Me, my toile and my tutor. It’s all about meeee!!!

Okay, birthday’s over. (Thanks so much for all the good wishes.) Back to school for final adjustments to the V8667 toile.

Lessons for trying on a toile in class:

1. Make sure you’re wearing decent underwear or at least not that pair of baggy grey pants that live at the back of the knicker drawer, there for emergencies when the laundry hasn’t been done. (Come on. We all have a pair.) Calico doesn’t cover everything.

2. Wear something that’s easy to slip out of as you change behind a set of filing cabinets in a corner of the classroom. I chose my Rooibos dress. One tug on the zip, a shrug of the shoulders, and that baby was around my ankles. Speed and simplicity – that’s what you need in a dress!

Our teacher, Gillian, asked me to turn up to class half an hour early so that we could go through adjustments together without holding up the rest of the class. I’m an idiot, so I arrived a full hour early. Fortunately, so did Gillian. We cracked on.

How did we adjust the toile? I stood in front of the mirror and Gillian circled my body, tweaking and pinning. I had my usual issue with my narrow upper chest, hence the pinning you can see in the first picture. We also adjusted gapes around the back neckline (I’ve had this issue before) and made a few other pinches.

I have to say, this really felt like a two-person job. Ideally, a two-person job when one of the people ie the tutor knows what she’s doing. I’d have struggled with these relatively simple adjustments alone.

After that, I climbed back into my Rooibos dress, squirrelled away behind the cupboards. When I surfaced, I had no idea how to transfer the pin adjustments of my toile to the pattern pieces.

Gillian advised me to pencil in little dashes following the line of the pins:

Do this on either side of the fold.

Then I

  • removed the pins
  • opened the toile back up
  • laid my pattern pieces over the toile and transferred these lines to my pattern
  • pinched and adjusted the pattern pieces until all tweaks had been transferred.

Phew! Quite a lot, huh? The total adjustments made this evening (with the magnificent help of a French curve) were:

  • Adding 2cm to depth of the bodice.
  • Pinching out 1cm from the upper chest.
  • Add 1cm to top of the shoulders.
  • Add a tiny bit of extra ease to the bust.
  • Pinch out 1cm to either side of the back neckline.
  • Pinch out 1cm from either shoulder blade.

One of the adjustments.

Double phew! What does this mean in real terms? It means that I’m halfway through the course and haven’t yet cut into the final fabric. Get a wiggle on, Karen! Though someone told me recently that the final make should be the quickest part of a sewing project – preparation is all.

I’m pretty pleased with the way this dress is working up. It’s half term at Morley College next week, but I want to crack on in my own time with cutting out that gorgeous magenta wool. There’s lots of work to be done, but I’m loving every moment of being back at school. Those three hours a week are such a blessed reprieve from the workaday world of deadlines. The only person I need to please is myself. Reason enough to keep on sewing.

There’s one lesson it’s taken me half a term to learn: take comfortable shoes to change into. You’re on and off your feet for three hours after a day in the office, so my decision to take some ballet shoes to change into was inspired.

Onwards and upwards! In comfortable shoes.

Gargh! Headless toile!

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10 Responses to The One Where Good Undies Count

  1. rachel says:

    I can’t wait to see the finished dress – it is going to be fantastic. And what an excellent teacher – I want to do a course with a teacher like that.

  2. You look like you’re having loads of fun (yay) :)! It’s so nice to have that teacher/expert there to know what to do isn’t it?

    We’re making toile’s of our bodice-blocks on my course v. soon – I can’t wait to get to the fitting sesh to sort out all my niggles!!

  3. Thanks for the information on how to transfer pinning onto the pattern, I’m trying to sort out a toile myself. Well done with where you’ve got so far, it’s going to be a dress you can be really proud of.

  4. gabrielle says:

    That class sounds – and looks – great! Thanks for sharing some of what you’re learning, I’m going to try some of this pinning out of excess fabric too (I have that same narrow upper chest thing going as you :-)).

  5. Roobeedoo says:

    Oh my! Part of me wants to run away scared – is sewing clothes that fit really that hard? This must be why I don’t make frocks! Your dress is going to be amazing!

  6. Myrna says:

    I sewed that dress earlier this month and it’s a great pattern. You’ll be able to use the bodice pieces over again with other variations for the skirt – or at least that’s what I have planned for my next project. How wonderful to have access to sewing classes and a tutor. Great for learning. Enjoy.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    It looks fantastic! I too bemoan the lack of a quality (qualified?) fitting buddy. You should move to NYC!

  8. Bold Sewist says:

    That is looking great! It’s going to be lovely – are you doing with or without the collar? I can’t wait to see it in that fabulous fabric you chose. I’m going to come back after half term and work on my bridesmaid dress now that has been decided -can’t wait to get back in the classroom!

  9. Carly says:

    Thanks for demystifying the whole toile -> pattern change thing a bit! Can’t wait to see the finished item.

  10. Spikeabell says:

    Yes the final make will be sooooo easy once you have done all this. You certainly need two people to fit..unless you have a dressmaker’s model to your size. I don’t at the moment…and it’s so hard. I have one pattern that a friend (a dressmaker also) fitted the toile on me and I can make that dress in about 4 hours..(from cut to out the door). .OK it’s not very difficult V8184. Can’t wait to see the dress, it’s worth it!

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