Bridal sewing- The toile 

How could I say no when my younger daughter asked me to make her wedding dress….many people told me I was mad or stupid but apart from the odd moment of terror it was a great experience😃

Before the decision was made to make it plenty of dresses of all shapes & styles had been tried on. Some styles were liked, many discarded, and we worked out she liked something with a bit of structure to it. 

Once I had a shape to work towards it was on with the planning! 

Being a hairdresser that works on site for weddings, it’s surprising how many times I end up helping a bride do up her dress as the mothers or bridesmaids hands are shaking too much! I remember one bride having an internal corset in her dress which I thought that was a fantastic idea…..this sprung to mind as I started looking at construction. 

I made sketches & notes, many of which were in the middle of the night when I woke with a brainwave! 


Using a selection of different patters for reference I drew out the panels for the dress body &  cut the first toile. 


Then cut a hip length version in coutil for the corset section. Drawing on the lines for bone casing placement. 


With both layers the front and back sections were stitched together but side seams left open for fitting. After each fitting any changes were noted back on the paper pattern. The back corset panels were faced in lining and eyelets made. 


With the front corset added to the outside of lining & the back inside (hope that makes sense to you!) the side seams were stitched 

It took a bit of playing to get the shape of the skirt next for the upper curves on the front & back. In the end I found the best way was to draw the shap then  cut & spread the pattern to gain fullness, the butterick pattern back skirt panel was used for the hemline shape. 

Once all together it was time for the brides verdict… 

Didn’t get a pic of her trying the toile on but she loved it…….great result when you think it was made out of remnants & old curtain lining!

I’ve never spent so much time & effort on a toile but it was well worth it. I was able to work out problems and get the process straight in my head before starting on the real thing. It also helped to work out the fabric required before we seriously started looking😃

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