Welcome back for the third part of Create Your Own Clothes – DA1 – From Jumper to Top!
Cutting up the jumper
Making The Toile
In order to test the fit and check the overall design and proportion of our pattern, we need to make a toile or muslin.
What is a toile? It is a test garment. It is the first 3D version of a design. Sometimes your design may only need one toile, sometimes you may need to sew three or four toiles. The quantity isn’t an issue, as it is a way to tweak a design until it is perfect, so that time and money isn’t lost in producing a product that doesn’t fit or look good.
Because we have cut up a jumper made of knit fabric, we DEFINITELY need a toile from our pattern, despite the simplicity of the design. Remember all that gaping when we cut open the armhole? Yikes! 😮
So, here is the breakdown of making the toile!
Cutting Out The Pieces
Firstly, make sure to start with properly prepped fabric! Remember that old saying? Do as I say, and not as I do? Well, that CLEARLY applies here. This is my fabric for the toile, laid out on my window work space.
As you can see I REALLY prepped the fabric properly here tight? *Eve hits forehead with back of her own hand*
Use a tape measure and measure the distance between the grain line and the selvedge at various points along the pattern. The reason for this is that we want the pattern to be perfectly on grain, and measuring makes this to be more accurate than guessing. When my pattern is perfectly places on the fabric, I find a weight of some sort to hold the pattern down in the centre. Here I’m using my box of pins!
To pin accurately, I tend to work my way out from the centre of the pattern towards key points of the pattern, using light smoothing action on the aper so that it doesn’t shift and to ensure there are no accidental pleats or folds in the fabric underneath. I pinned here at the side seam / hem points, the underarm points and the high neck points. I then filled in the spaces in between with more pins.
HEADSUP: If you had cutting mats to go underneath, you could use weights and a rotary cutter instead. Mine are in the studio, so maybe next time. Just be sure to use cutting mats with a rotary cutter, otherwise your table / worth will blunt your blades!
As you can read on the pattern, the front piece is to be cut as one piece of self fabric. The back piece is to be cut as one pair self.
Once both pieces have been pinned down, perfectly on grain, it’s time to carefully cut them out.
Carefully cut around the pattern pieces, being sure to make small snips into the fabric where your notches are. Don’t snip in more than 3mm as you don’t want to accidentally go through the amount of seam allowance and into the main fabric section. ON these examples, I used an orange pen instead, so you’ll be better able to see the markings!
Front piece cut out
Back piece cut out ready
Remember that there is a right way to sew up a garment, and darts are one of the first things to sew. If you’re a little uncertain, why don’t you subscribe to get my FREE sewing guide? It’ll guide you step by step through the whole clothes making process!
Dealing with the Darts
When you’ve cut all pieces out, clear the excess fabric away so you have space to lay out your three different pieces.
Check your notches and then un-pin the paper pattern carefully. I use a pin and a pen to mark my dart notches in, before fully unpinning the paper pattern.
Darts are marked in here with orange ink
A pin is dropped into the dart point from the right side of the fabric
Pin protruding upwards
Turning the fabric over, you can see the pin protruding upwards. I match up my dart leg notches, holding them together in my left hand, and use my right hand finger and thumb to grab up the pin. Using the two hands in this way means I am able to draw the dart together and finger press the fold line.
Prepping the dart
The next job is to pin the darts down, so that we have them contained ready to sew.
All set on the left
All set on the right
Voila, two darts pinned up!
I also pinned in the back darts too, but forgot to snap pics of that bit! Oops!
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Lets get Sewing
When sewing darts, I tend to use a medium length stitch, and starting at the dart leg in seam allowance, sew down towards the dart point. As you reach the point, shorten your stitch length. I go from a 3 down to a 1 on my old Bernina. I also do a couple of back stitches to reinforce though others will have you run off the edge and tie a small knot in the threads.
Sewing the first dart
Spot my mistake?
I have now have sewn up four darts – two on the font piece and one on each of the back pieces.
HEADSUP: Beware the *Eve mistake* … Also known as Eve forgot to check the underneath of one dart and stitch away happily. Only to find when complete that part of the dart seam allowance had gotten folded over, and caught in the sewing. Doh!
If you were doing this properly – which you should be if you download the free pattern next week – BE SURE to press these dart stitch lines. I rarely drag my iron out, as I HATE ironing, but pressing properly makes your clothes look professionally made.
Use the iron to first press the dart stitch lines and then press the dart to one side. Be careful not to over press, we do want the dart to shape the garment!
Front piece with darts sewn
On the stand
Back piece with darts sewn
Back piece on the stand
This photo is why you should ALWAYS prep your fabric first before cutting out. BAD EVE and BAD PHOTO!
Bad fabric prep – creases EVERYWHERE. Naughty!
Next, lay the back sections on top of the front pieces, matching the side seam notches. Consider how you will be sewing this seam. If the final garment will be made from silk, consider using a French seam. Otherwise an open seam should be fine. Using your machine and your chosen seam allowance, see these two side seams, from hem to armhole.
Sewn, and laid flat, your piece should look like this.
Just the final side seam to go!
When the final side seam is stitched,you’re left with attaching the necktie. Without this being added, the top will fall down and hand around your belly… not a great look at a all!
I started by pinning my neck tie to the front and back pieces. It’s a tad tricky as we are capturing them within the tie, and there are sections that are open too. To attach the necktie I pinned the right side of the tie to the wrong side of the front and back pieces, working my way from the centre front out to make sure that the excess would work as ties at the centre back.
Not sure that makes sense, so here are the pics…
Necktie is pinned in place to make sure all is correct
The black stitch line attaching the necktie
The seam allowance from both the from / back pieces and the tie are pressed upwards, into the necktie. The tie is then folded down to cover the previous stitch line, and stitched very close.
Continuing the stitch line to finish the necktie
This didn’t really take very long to sew up… I’m sure I could have whizzed up a top or maybe even a longer dress version in no time if it hadn’t been for all the photo breaks, but it is important to do this step by step process.
So here you have it, the finished toile!
Front view of toile
Side view of toile
Back view of toile
So.. What are your thoughts?
Critiquing the Toile
I tried the toile on myself – even though i’m about two sizes bigger than my stand – and it looked a tad rubbish.
- The front bust darts are not in a good position for someone with boobs.
- I would maybe transfer these darts into the side seam or have the excess made into pin tucks or gathers from the neckline instead
- The styleline of the front arm hole seemed to make the bust are look bigger. I think i’ll modify the pattern before sewing it up in final fabric.
- The armhole needs to be finished properly. I’m thinking it would looks best with a thin binding rather than a facing, as this would have continuity with the necktie.
- Must remember to press the centre back opening.
- Possibly make the necktie narrower once it is finished enclosing at the centre back. It feels a little bulky at the back neck when wearing.
- Consider cutting on the bias so it drapes more?
Okiedokie… I need to buy a nice fabric to make this up with the new changes ready for part four.. That post will be significantly shorter as the making it up process is all here, so i’ll just write up any modifications that I make.
Right’o… Til next time…
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