The Design Diary: First Toile

The past 2 weeks have been slow on the collection front. I adopted a rescue pup 2 weeks ago and I have been spending a lot of time with him, to insure he settles in. I managed to get a few things done this week so here is what I accomplished!

First Fabric Samples

The fabric samples I ordered from Top Fabrics arrived sometime last week. I ordered 6 swatches, these included a stretch flesh coloured mesh, Silk and Satin.


I was honestly disappointed with the Satin fabrics, they weren’t as heavy as I expected and the texture wasn’t what I thought it would be.


The Silk fabrics were very nice, in texture and colour, but I felt they were just a little too light for the garments I have in mind. This collection is aimed at Autumn/Winter, so a heavy fabric would be required.

The mesh fabric was perfect! It is the perfect tone and stretch, as well as having a soft texture!


If I was to pick any of the fabrics it would be the ones shown below, they are all silk and the mesh.

I will continue to look for the perfect fabric, because I don’t want to settle until I have the exact ones I want!


I visited another website called Truro Fabrics, they are also based in the UK. I have ordered fabric swatches from them in the past and they were really good quality and fairly priced!

New fabric Order.1

I have made a list on the website of 14 swatches I want to order. I have a range of colours and fabric types. I decided to look at some Wools, seen as it is an A/W collection, the Wool will add a nice texture mix and some warmth!

New fabric Order

First Toile

The first toile is a top from one of my garment designs, which was included in my first line up!


To create this pattern I used a dart-less bodice block. This way I won’t have any seams on the top, apart from the sleeve seams.


Once I have traced the block out on some spot and cross paper, I need to add my seam allowance and then cut them out to create my pattern.


I usually use calico for my toiles, but my local fabric shop was out, so I had to make do with some linen.

I simply pin the patterns to the fabric and then cut them out.


After they are cut out I just quickly sewed them up to get my first toile.

I forgot to take pictures of the sleeve patterns, but you will see all of that later when I am focusing on some different sleeve styles.

Once all the seams are ironed flat, I put the toile onto my mannequin to make sure the fit is right.

Here I make notes on any changes that need to be made, for example the sleeves didn’t fit into the arm hole, so I will need to reduce the sleeve pattern by 1cm to make sure it fits nicely.

Working on Illustrator is also a technique I like to use when I can’t print out multiple image of the top to edit by hand.

Here I made notes that I could shorten the sleeves, lengthen the top and change the neckline.


I felt like my collection needed something else, so I went back to my research and decided to look at adding Frills.


Firstly I went to Pinterest to do some image research on frills, I looked at styles, patterns and how other designers used Frills.


Inspired by what I seen, I sketched out some sample ideas to get me started!

I will create some basic samples which I can work with on the stand, and then some more complex samples to hopefully create some surface design and texture.


I went through some of my old work, I remembered I had some samples that I created using elastic gathering, which created a frill effect. I then started doing some stand work with this sample to help drive some new bodice designs!

I LOVED how this sample worked on the stand, and I definitely want to bring this into my collection!

By working on the mannequin, even if it is just with fabric, you will be amazed at what ideas you can come up with!

Straight after the stand work, I went and drew up some of my favourites, these I will further later and possibly toile!


It is amazing how you can start with something simple and end up with something so creative and unusual!

Although it wasn’t a huge productive week, I do feel like I got something done!

Now I have to go sample again and then start more design sketches!

If you would like to see some behind the scenes follow me on Instagram: this_is_tanya_ or add me on Snapchat: velvetvogue

Thank you so much for reading!

Love Tanya




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