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Is it really worth making a toile?

Posted on May 15 2023

Jules pinning a calico toile on the mannequin


Is it really worth making a toile? 

I do get asked this question frequently and I have to say my answer is  - Yes it is. 

A toile gives you the opportunity to check to see if you have measured yourself accurately and made up the correct size. You can measure as many times as you like, but to really check the fit you need to make up the garment. This way you can physically see how much ease there is between you and the fabric of the garment. 

You can check the way the neckline sits on your own body shape and how the sleeves fit around your own arms. 

It is also worth thinking about how the garment feels to wear. Is it something you will actually wear and does it suit your body shape and lifestyle? 

There are so many points to consider when making up a successful project, and a toile will help you work through those. 


The last few weeks at work have just been bonkers busy with shows, retreats and getting our new premises sorted out (more on that later). So I was really looking forward to a bit of respite over the holiday weekends and doing a bit of sewing for myself. 

I am wearing lots of layers to get me through the winter as our current studio is rather draughty and chilly. And I feel like a bit of a bag lady at the moment with large sweatshirts and cardigans over jeans. So I really wanted to make up a couple of our new patterns to get me more into Spring. 

However, I am in such a mindset at the moment of “just gotta get it done” that I didn't really stop and consider what I wanted to achieve. I just ploughed on cutting out and making up what I thought was the correct sizes to make. The patterns were the right styles for me and I know they will look great - but they didn’t fit. 

Being in that mindset didn’t allow me to consider what I wanted to make and how I was going to best achieve the result I wanted. So I didn't make a toile for either pattern. Quelle Horreur! Not following my own advice. 


I ended up with a great pair of Winnie Culottes that are just a bit too snug around the waist. A good incentive to keep going with my healthy eating maybe? 

The Beth Blouse was another casualty of my tunnel vision. A tad snug across the shoulders and bust darts pointing towards the sky, not the apex of my bosom. The neckline was a little high for me too. All of which are alterable, but if only I had paid attention to my own worlds of wisdom and made a toile first! I would have had perfectly fitting clothes the first time around. 

Still, life is for living and learning, so I will be learning my lesson here. Please don't do what I did and rush into a project without proper preparation.

Even so called ‘experts’ cock up on occasion. So please learn from my mistakes and always make a toile for any new project. 

Jules x

P.S: If you fancy making The Beth Blouse, then why not become a Sewing Studio member.

And if you are making any of the new patterns, please do share your pics with us by tagging us on Instagram @sewmesomething and using the hashtags #smsbethblouse #smswinnieculottes #smspatterns

1 comment

  • Margaret Vincent: May 18, 2023

    I have just made a toile for the Perdita Pinafore. It was essential.
    I graded the pattern from size 8 bust to size 14 at the hem and I lengthened the bodice 2cm when a traced off the pattern.
    The pattern needed several more adjustments after I made a toile.:
    I moved the shoulder seam on the straps, to fit my shoulders.
    I took a wedge out of the back strap, to eliminate gaping.
    I moved the point of the bust dart to align with my bust point and adjusted the front armhole.
    The toile now looks like my pinafore dress. I’m looking forward to making it up in some nice linen, confident that it’s going to fit.

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