Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

June 30, 2010

A story of toile and error (or what the heck do I do with all these misfits?)

The more I learn about dressmaking, the greater my enthusiasm for constructing toiles.

Toiles (or muslins) are my insurance policy against my regular mismatch of intention and actuality. My buffer against buffoonery. Take McCalls M5522 as an example. Without a trial run I would have most certainly created a blouse that made me look like overcooked frankfurter bursting out of its skin.

At the time of writing, I am now up to toile #3 for this particular garment. Like its predecessors, its flawed. And missing bits. And sewn with white thread on black. But despite its failings, it - along with its kin - has helped me complete extensive alterations to the original pattern. Sometime soon I will be able to cut into my fashion fabric and make a properly-fitted, pretty blouse.

But what now for the toiles? And the two toiles of this Folkwear empire dress. And the two for these Burda trousers. And another this Simplicity tunic top? The list goes on. I am accumulating half-made, ill-fitting garments in ugly fabrics.

Help me here: what do you think I should I do with my growing collection of misfits?

Pictured above: Toile #3 - a one-sleeved, placketless, collarless, buttonless beauty. Please note that the picture has been edited and a posterize effect applied. That shadow round my chin and armpit are not of the 5 o'clock variety. Well, that's my story and I am sticking to it.


  1. I throw them out (once I have sorted out the pattern) otherwise they would take over my . This is why I have a new found love of stretch sewing - I just use cheap cotton stretch as a muslin and if it accidentally fits then great!

  2. You could let Argy and Bargy loose with the fabric marking textas and then add them to the dress up box???

  3. Textile recycling centre? If it's pure cotton (or other natural fibre like viscose) you could shred and compost it.

    The last and most successful muslin - with all it's markings might be worth keeping, one per basic type of garment, as proof against future size and shape changes. I own things that *used* to fit perfectly. They have obviously shrunk, couldn't be that *I* got bigger, oh no.

    Toile one!


  4. Sell as Design Stuff. Get rich. And then pay someone for sewing fitting cloths. ;-)

  5. I've only ever made one toile, and it was calico so I cut it up to use for stitcheries for a later date.

    I think you are very vigilant (and clever, and wise!!) doing toiles. At least you can guarantee your stuff will fit!!

  6. I keep all my misfit toys but they take up a bit less fabric that clothes....

    Is the fabric any good for anything else? If not, chop it up and bless your local kinder or school with it for art!

  7. I cut up big toiles to make smaller toiles.... recycling the calico until it's at fabric-marker and kinder-kid size. Scraps or smaller toiles end up in the kinder scrap bin.

    Tale a look at this for an idea - we do a LOT of this sort of activity (and risk being overrun by calico toys). http://nicolemdesign.blogspot.com/2009/10/my-creative-space.html

  8. Can't you just cut them up and use them for toiles in the future?

  9. Reuse them for smaller projects if you can, and then donate the scraps to the kinder.

  10. I donate mine to DH to use as rags.

  11. I like Nikki's idea of stuffed toys (despite the fact all children now a days are short of stuffed toys!)

    I wish I was a diligent as you with making toiles (perhaps that's why I rarely sew much for myself!)

    I'd be cutting them up for other projects, scraps, tomato ties, kiddo crafting.


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