Simplicity 3965—The Toile

Peace out, dude.

I tend to use “muslin”, because that’s what the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing uses and that was my first sewing text, but I really do prefer “toile”. It’s shorter, for one thing, and doesn’t sound like I’m macerating someone’s religion in the pursuit of better fitting clothes.

Anyway, I made up a quick toile for the bodice of Simplicity 3965. I have decided I need to get my butt moving on this project so I can have it done before the Cambie dress pattern comes out later this month, because when that happens it is totally going to be All Cambie All The Time. Well, probably not, but I will wish it was. And, since I had the excellent example of Tasia’s muslin, I was actually good and thread-traced all my seam allowances and darts and EVERYTHING!

Ok, so, I got a bit ahead of myself, there.

To start with, the pattern ElleC sent me is an old-school size 12, that is for a 32″ bust and 25″ waist. The first is slightly smaller than mine (OK, let’s face it, since this past Christmas it’s a full 2″ smaller, 3″ if I want to wear a bra, which I generally do with wovens.) Having compared the pattern pieces to my body, it actually seemed like the length was going to be all right, and a little bit of pattern measuring suggested that there might almost be enough ease for the bust. The waist, of course, was laughable. Hilarious, really. “Vintage” figure, I do not have. Snerk.

So for the muslin, I added 1 cm to the side-seams of each piece, for a total increase around the body of 4 cm (just under 2″). Β And then I cut out and stitched up with, as mentioned above, traced seam-lines and everything.

I took proper fitting photos but the combination of a weird camera angle, bad light, and the total lack of makeup and hair makes me unwilling to post the rest of them, sorry. Only the goofy one was entertaining enough to make up for the weird angle, and even then you’re not getting the face. So you’ll have to take me on my word that the fit seemed pretty good overall. The bust was just about perfect, darts pointed where they should, the shoulders etc. look good, but the waist obviously needs a bit more (more) room. At least if I want to, y’know, eat or breathe or anything like that.A small swayback adjustment (raising the rear waist seam in the middle by about 1 cm) will be in order, and a couple more cm ease at the waist, and I think I’ll call it good. Which means I’ve made almost none of my usual adjustments to this pattern. Interesting. (I’ll note that Tasia had to lengthen the waist on hers by a good inch.)

Of course, now I have to face the next stage—the waistline. As I’ve said before, I have a short waist and rectangular figure, and something about this combination tends to make gathered, dirndl-type skirts that begin right at the waist, well, a bad idea. Dropping the waist-seam a few inches gives me the look of a longer body and puts the added bulk of the gathers at my hips—which can always use a boost—rather than at my waist, which doesn’t need any added bulk ever, thanks.

However, for a fitted bodice like this, that also requires a lot more work. For the polkadot sundress, I kind of freehanded the front and fudged the back with a shirred panel. I would have to be a lot more precise for this project. Figuring out the hip curve. Fitting the bottom half of my swayback (without a waist seam). How to continue the shaping of the front darts.

Waistline Placement

Part of me is saying “go for it!”—if I figure this out, I’ll have a basic fitted (albeit sleeveless) bodice I can use to adapt the zillions of waist-seamed dresses that are flooding my fantasy sewing these days. Part of me is saying “Give the gathered-waist look another try. You never know, it might be ok this time. Maybe the problem’s mostly in your head. Everyone else likes those gathered skirts!” Β On the other hand, looking at my little croquis there (which I traced right off the image at the beginning of the post) I know which one I prefer…




Filed under Sewing

35 responses to “Simplicity 3965—The Toile

  1. katiedmd

    Oooh, definitely the dropped waist… Not that you wouldn’t look amazing in oh, a paper bag, but I think that dropped waist would definitely do some nice elongating things for you. Is it the pose that is making that wrinkle above the bust? Or do the girls need a bit more breathing space? I only see it on one side, so maybe the pose. It looks like a good beginning!

    • I think it’s a combination of the pose, the tight waist keeping things from falling naturally, and the noxious fabric—there’s a good couple of inches ease at the bust, not a lot but enough for a fitted bodice, I think. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the feedback! πŸ™‚

  2. I hate the word muslin too, so stick with toile. I think you’re right. Gathers at your natural waist are probably not your best look, but who knows? it could also be that it’s just not how you think of yourself.

  3. Thank whatever deity that there is someone else with a waist at the same (high) height as mine! I too prefer the dropped waist sketch too. We have the same horror of gathered skirts at our natural waist – unfortunately I just a void them so I can’t offer any help in extending the bodice! I know you’ll sort it though!

    • Glad I’m not alone! I have generally avoided them in the past, too, but somehow the patterns keep creeping in, so I think I need to find a way to conquer it!

  4. Yes! I have the same issue. I think gathered skirts look adorable on everyone else, but tragic on me. Dropped waist is almost always better. Or slim fitting skirts. Every time I get sucked into making a full skirt, I feel ridiculous in it.

    • Yes. This is it. But there is a way around it—I’ve done it with the dropped waist before. It’s still a bit ridiculous, mind you. But that’s part of the charm. πŸ™‚

  5. At the risk of being nit picky, I think you need more ease at the bust as well as the waist for the bodice. It looks a little tight, but it could be the way you are standing.

    • I *think* it’s just how I’m standing (and the awful fabric, one of those nasty poly broadcloths that folds and creases like crazy), but thanks for the input. I will keep it in mind. (Of course, if it does end up tight could always get a less-padded bra πŸ˜‰ )

  6. I feel your pain, gathered skirts are pretty awful on me too. I’d be interested to see how lengthening the bodice and dropping the waist works for you though. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  7. I personally am a big fan of gathered skirts at the waist (as you know!), but looking at your little croquis diagrams I agree with others on the dropped waist (which is a look I can’t do at all! My torso to leg ratio is off enough as it is), and you know you’ll be pleased with yourself in the end if you have a dropped waist block you can use for everything!

    • Yeah, they look fabulous on you (curse you, anyway! πŸ˜‰ ). Yeah, I do have plenty of leg relative to my torso (especially above-the-waist torso). Which I suppose I shouldn’t complain about…

  8. I pronounce “toile” as “toil” in my head, so I think it’s a perfectly appropriate substitution!

    • LOL. (un?)Fortunately, French pronunciation is sufficiently deeply embedded that I can say “twall” quite naturally…

      • Yeah, there’s a reason I never did very well in French class. I can barely pronounce English properly, and I got dirty looks from the French prof when he heard my attempts at pronounce things in French. πŸ˜€

  9. I have this pattern too! I was on the hunt for it after sewing it on Tasia’s blog – the first blog I ever read when I started sewing. I had no luck finding the pattern, so I blogged my frustrations…. a few months later I received an email from an Etsy seller, she had come across my blog and saw that I was after that pattern, and she sold it to me!! So lovely!!!!

    I too have to add 4 cms to the waist (as I did with my current vintage simplicity 3222), but I got the wrong size bust (32″) so Im now on the hunt for chicken fillet and mega push up bra.

    I think my simplicity 3965 is a 32″ too 😦

    I love this pattern, am in love with the back. Can’t wait to see ur finished dress!!!!!! What fabric are u going to use??

    • What a lucky thing to happen! So glad you found it. It really is a gorgeous, simple pattern.

      All my bras are of the mega-push-up variety… if I’m going to be bothered to wear one, I want *results* dammit! ;).

  10. Maya

    I wonder if it would be easier to try putting a point onto the bodice that extends down toward your hips, rather than drafting a whole hip section for your bodice- I have a dress like that which suits me, even though gathers right at the waistline make me look quite horrid with a straight waistband…

  11. Bri

    Yay for the word toile, it’s definitely better than muslin! The Reader’s Digest Sewing book is a great book and fudging is always a great way of solving problems!

  12. Eh, like some other commenters, I’m wondering about the ease at the bust in the toile, but as you wrote, that could very well just be down to pose and camera angle (in fact, I know I often use more than standard ease there, to compensate for my A cup. So I may be used to a different effect). I also wondered about those darts, they seem to end too high on the bust. Of course, that could also be caused by that over-tight waistline creeping up and twisting about.
    For that bodice… yes a longer bodice would probably work better for you (most of us who sew a lot learn how to deal with our on body shapes quite well, so I see no reason to dispute your analysis πŸ˜‰ but I think trying to lengthen a waist-length bodice is taking the diffecult route to that. I would start with a longer one (or by drafting a hip-length sloper to your measurements), a pattern which could even be something like a fitted sheath dress (doesn’t really matter what pattern you use as long as it has a simple fitted bodice of at least the length you want with darts in the normal positions). In that case, making the bodice shape you want would ‘just’ be a matter of making, fitting and adjusting another toile. Trying to add a piece to what you’ve got now would mean entering a whole new world of guesswork.

    • If I were an experienced pattern-drafter, I would probably favour the drafting route, but being the muddler that I am, I suspect either way is going to involve a lot of fiddling and fudging. I do have a hip-length sloper drafted, but I haven’t made much (er, any) progress fitting it and I think it’s got rather more ease than this pattern was intended for. And I don’t (that I can recall, although I will check again) have *any* patterns with the right kind of fitted, drop-waist (or dart-fitted sheaths, for that matter…) I really appreciate your input, though, as someone much more schooled in patternmaking than me. I know it must be frustrating watching me bumble around when you already know better ;).

  13. i am not a rectangle and i still don’t like gathered skirts on me! all they do is make my midsection look shorter and wider. not my favorite look! i say drop the waist, maybe try some soft (small) pleats instead of gathering (unless you have your heart set on trying it) and good luck!! can’t wait to see the outcome πŸ™‚

    PS my fabric buying willpower has been at an all-time low this week…. i have 2 different shipments coming from… this after i hid fabric from myself to make more room!! whoopsie!

    • Well, I’ve tested the drop-waist-with-gathers thing before and it works fine (for me) as the added bulk at the hips is a plus for my figure. Maybe it’s a short-waisted thing as much anything?

      LOL! I find my willpower goes in cycles… I can make it months without splurging, and then all of a sudden I buy a bunch. /sigh.

  14. I linked here from Vicki Kate’s mention on her post, of your mastery of the Jalie jean, and found this post… I had to say I felt so great to find another lovely sewist with the same waist height and proportions as I; I’d be a rectangle if it weren’t for my bust so a lot of the same issues plague me – I find I can pull off a waist seam but as you say – the gathered skirt styles scare me. I’m afraid of looking pregnant or dumpy LOL.

    Have you seen the new Hazel pattern from Colette? I’m pretty sure it has a dirndl skirt but I’ve seen it made in lightweight fabrics and it’s actually quite flattering – maybe it’s fabric choice and size of the rectangle skirt piece that makes the difference. Perhaps as long as there’s not TOO much fabric being gathered, it could be ok? πŸ™‚

  15. Wow, excellent demonstration of the usefulness of a personal croquis! I agree with everyone else that the dropped waist is a better look.

    • LOL! Thanks. πŸ˜‰ I have a hard time dealing with tracing my photos… I don’t mind how the photos look, but the tracing almost always drives me nuts. /sigh.

  16. Amy

    Hehe, I understand the dilemma and why you like the waist to appear further down. I have a high waist but rather wide long hips. (Where most of my torso is.) So I don’t like full skirts because they really make me ALL hip. It’d be cool to have a bodice shape that suits you that you can use against other patterns. Are you thinking of lengthening down to the belly button, or further?

  17. Ali

    You are too funny (toile vs. muslin). I enjoy these posts since I have such a similar body shape — and THANK YOU for pointing out how funky drindls can look with a short waist and a rectangular frame. I’ve been eyeing the new Colette Hazel but I’m a bit worried about the shape. I’ve been thinking instead of trying a half-circle skirt — do you think that’d be more flattering on my/your shape?

    Anyway — I think you should go for it, and we can witness all the bodice/dress variations you’ll cook up πŸ™‚ And I love the Cambie, so pretty.

  18. LOL! Funny how having someone else say it makes it more real, right? Sometimes I think all this stuff must be in my head, but really only about half of it is ;).

    I think a half-circle for Hazel would be really nice as long as you can handle waist-seams generally. Although I would probably play down the seam, not pipe it or add a belt or anything. Sounds cute! πŸ™‚

  19. Pingback: Project Drop Waist | Tanit-Isis Sews

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