Making the toile for my vintage style graduation dress.

Sew-Easy? We'll see about that...
Sew-Easy? We’ll see about that…

My desire for a killer dress for graduation, as well as my own insatiable need to look just like Joan from Mad Men, has brought me to the decision me to sew my own dress from a vintage pattern. Because I’ve never done this particular pattern before, and I know that there are a lot of darts and pleats involved in this little beauty, I’ve decided to make a tiole just for practice. I don’t think people really needed to practise at making this dress back in 1959, but those were the good old days…

Now, you can buy cheap muslin at the market to make a toile out of. But why would you do that when there are 1980s duvet covers available for free? Raid your Mum’s cupboards, there’s bound to be one in there (might want to ask her first, though, just a thought). In fact, you’d be doing her a favour, freeing up precious cupboard space and doing something creative with a piece of fabric that would otherwise never see the light of day again. And if it turns out to be an awesome toile, then you might even be able to wear it as a dress.

Here’s the old duvet cover:

P1000268See how much like a dress this already looks once you’ve cut out the pattern pieces?

P1000270You can see on the pieces in the photo below that I’ve added a few inches here and there on the pattern (because I refuse to wear a corset and I need to breathe) by reducing the width of the darts and inserting strips of tissue paper:

P1000271And an afternoon later, here we have a lovely toile. A perfect practice run for the real deal. It doesn’t look at all like an old duvet cover… okay… maybe just a little bit.

P1000325I know it’s only got one arm. I was pushed for time. But on the bright side, just how exciting does this neckline look? I’m really excited about sewing this neckline, it’s gorgeous!



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