Toile for the 1940’s S-curve dress

I’ve had this pattern for a while but never bought fabric specifically for it. Last year, I took a class called Home Sewing with Professional Fit and Finish at the London College of Fashion, which wasn’t as great as I was expecting it to be. But there was another student there who made this dress and I learned a few things from her mistakes.

  1. Patterned fabric hides the best part about this dress  (the lovely S curve and gathers)
  2. It really needs to be made from a lightweight drapey fabric – anything with any stiffness won’t work
  3. The neckline is really high

I have some periwinkle blousing fabric in my stash from a trip to Malaysia a few years back. It’s nice and lightweight, a very pretty colour and I have loads of it. So the dress will be made of that. One other thing I got from that class was how useful it can be to make a toile to get better fit, especially in those cases where the pattern is complex and you can’t just raise/lower a bit or take it in/out a bit.

So I got out my copy of The Perfect Fit and set to adjusting the pattern. First, I taped together the pattern pieces and tried it on so I could adjust the bust point and lower the neckline. I also always need to adjust the bust to a larger size. After adjusting the darts, adding extra seam allowances and redrawing the neckline, I decided I’d best try this out on a toile first. So I searched through the stash for this lovely yellow lightweight cotton which I bought, even though yellow looks quite bad on me, no matter how lovely the shade.

1940's S-curve dress - right side view

1940's S-curve dress - right side view

1940's S-curve dress - left side view

1940's S-curve dress - right side view

1940's S-curve dress - front view

1940's S-curve dress - front view

1940's S-curve dress - back view

1940's S-curve dress - back view

I didn’t have enough fabric to make the hem the right length on both sides, but that wasn’t what I was worried about here. For the most part, the adjustments worked, but there is some pulling at the sides on the front and back, pointing up towards the bust point. Going to work on this this weekend, to see how it can be fixed – any advice out there? I think I just need to pull it up at the shoulders and lower the back neckline to compensate, but am open to other suggestions…

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