At the outset, let’s state the obvious – stash is essential. Without stash it is impossible to explore new ideas or make new creations. Good sewing practice dictates that all new patterns and new techniques should first be tried out in a ‘toile’, and for that you need stash. Now you are not about to try out something new on good fabric are you? This is when you are glad you kept all those odd bits of fabric that are ready for just such a time. However, there is a clear difference between keeping stash and hoarding. I try to only keep useful pieces of fabric that I know will be used in one capacity or another – discipline is hard. There are many ways of stash-busting and one useful way is the ‘wearable toile’.
I source a lot of my toile making fabric from Charity shops. Sometimes you find real treasures. Such as poly-cotton bedsheets still in their wrappers! Now a single sheet can make up very wearable toiles – blouse patterns or new techniques you’re not quite practiced in – nothing lost if it doesn’t work – or very little anyway. I recently bought two such sheets in grey and one in cream for £3 each, – I certainly couldn’t buy the fabric off the roll for this.
If I am trying out a new pattern [such as the vintage blouse, shown yesterday] I try and make it up as if it was the real deal, that way if it’s successful it becomes a wearable toile. I have quite a few in my wardrobe, e.g.a self drafted shift dress, with front darts and waist seamed. I wanted to try out a princess line drafting of an L.B.D.and came up with this in black crepe material.
Does this qualify for a wearable toile? even though it’s knitted? I think so, I had an idea in mind and some 4ply crepe that had been in my wool stash for years and I tried it out on this first. The idea was a ‘vintage’ short sleeved jumper for under jackets, such as I had in my childhood [but slightly bigger of course!] and I came up with;-