Trapeze Dress Toile

I’m really enjoying my weekly sewing classes at All Things Creative! Working at home can be isolating – so it’s great to have a few hours each week to spend time with creative people, learning new skills and doing a bit of selfish making.

For those not familiar with the term toile – it is a sort of practice garment made from the pattern so you can check the fit and make any alterations before cutting into the final fabric. I’m taking the dressmaking slow and steady and learning how to do things properly – so making a toile is really important.

I want to make the final Trapeze dress in some gorgeous Anna Maria Horner fabric which I’ve had in my stash for years and I adore!

Toiles are often made in calico, but I wanted to check my fabric wasn’t too heavy for the dress style – so I decided to use some Denyse Schmidt fabric I had which is exactly the same weight. My hope was that the toile would be wearable and I would have two trapeze dresses!

I made a few alterations to the pattern before starting. I used the long sleeve pattern but made them narrower and shorter and I made the overall length shorter so it would sit above the knee.

Jem Westob blog | Merchant & Mills Trapeze Dress

I also made it a size smaller than the pattern recommended for my measurements so that it would be more fitted at the top. And of course I added pockets… essential!

I did my usual trick of cutting along the wrong line on the pattern so I made a size 8 with a size 18 neckline!

Because the neckline is quite high I actually think that making it wider was a happy accident. For the final dress I’m planning to make the neckline slightly deeper at the front because it’s not super comfortable.

Over the last few weeks I have learnt that I’m not very good at putting in sleeves… it’s really difficult! I’m definitely improving though and I can see a big difference between the sleeves in this toile.

It’s a bit difficult to see in a photo – but on the right side the fabric is pulling a bit across the front of my shoulder and the neckline is poking up. I think this is because of my poor sleeve insertion skills!

I spent much longer doing the left sleeve and it sits much better.

Overall – a very wearable toile! Although I do think the shape will suit the bigger bolder print of the Anna Maria Horner fabric better. What do you think?