Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Vionnet test-toile

Finally, five minutes (more actually!) to post about my Vionnet-blouse-test-toile, AND it's daylight, AND the builders have removed the plastic sheats that have covered my window since november, relief (we are refurbishing the facades and balconies)! No flash needed, finally...

I'm spending the day at home, a suspected Norovirus kept me up for a couple hours during the night but I'm really quite well so I think it might have been something else. I'm still staying at home to save the colleagues from running the risk of catching it... (it's apparently extremely contageous), and there is quite a lot of it around at the moment so I might just be part-immune (if that's possible...).

Now, the toile! I chose to make a toile of this blouse because it was the most simple of all patterns in my recently purchased book with reproductions of Madeleine Vionnet's patterns. Purpose: to see if the size fits me.

After making it I've seen a couple of copies of it, I think I remember correctly when I say I saw a very similar blouse at Anthropologie, and there is a sewing pattern at Marfys that has a striking resemblance to it, interesting... makes me wonder if they were conscious copies or if they just happened to invent the same blouse, it's quite possible.

Now, remember I made the toile in a very simple cotton without much drape. I think it would turn out a lot nicer in a drapey fabric. Also, I haven't ironed it and I haven't finished any edges. Which btw makes med very curious about the threads-issue with information about how mme Vionnet used to finish the edges...

The size, I can't say I'm much wiser! I think it's a little bit too big, which makes sense if I have come to the correct conclusion in my guess that the patterns in the book are made to fit a japanese size 9, and that a japanese size 9 equals a European size 36. I'm a size 34. 

I had to take it in quite a bit in the back to make the toile fit my dressform, but then I think the blouse may have been  intended to be a bit loose-fitting, since it's tucked in in the picture in the book.

Still, I think I will plot the patterns a little scaled down, I really don't like too big clothes (since they make me appear totally shapeless).

Here's what the pattern looks like (update: in the book). I inserted a scanned image in AutoCad, redrafted, scaled and plotted it. A lot easier than to enlarge it manually, and I could fit the pattern in just one A1-sheet.

This is how the pieces fit together. Only the cowl is cut on the bias, which I think is quite rare with patterns by Mme Vionnet.It's actually a surprisingly simple pattern, but it was for an underblouse, I think the jacket that came with it was the real focus piece.

And here are the instructions on how to assemble it. Like I said, I didn't finish the edges at all.

There are also pictures of the details of finishing it in the book, and I think it's quite possible to follow the pictures without reading the text.

Still can't really decide whether to make a real blouse from this pattern or whether to move on at once and try making one of the dresses!

But first up on the list is making a couple of pieces of clothes for my nieces, whom I will go to Bergen to visit this weekend, I can't wait!


  1. It will be stunning when complete and in the drapey fabric. I love how you've shown us what it looks like in autocad. That is brilliant! Does autocad grade it down automatically or do you have to put in certain calculations to have it do it for you?

  2. Good luck on completing this challenging project! Can't wait to see the final product.

  3. Thank you both!

    Cupcake Goddess: The picture I posted is actually straight from the book, the page that I scanned and inserted into AutoCad. I then scaled the picture so that the little 10cm-square is 10cm's on the final drawing, instead of about 1 cm as it is in the book.
    When I print the patterns that I've redrafted in AutoCad I will scale them down a few % to make them fit me, not actual grading and not recommended but I think it will work because of the way the patterns are constructed.
    The reason I can do this quite easily is that I use AutoCad all day at work... I don't really know how easy or hard it would be for someone who is not used to using AutoCad!
    The cad-drawing looks pretty much like an ordinary one-size pattern :-).

  4. I don't mean to be a bother, but I have a question about dress forms and you seem so knowledgeable! :) I made mine this past weekend out of the gummed packing tape, about 2-3 layers thick. When I took cut it off and taped it back together it was a full 2" larger than my measurements! Did you have this problem when making your dress form? I put a few of my tops on it and they seem to fit okay, so I'm not sure it will be a problem, just curious if this was a normal construction issue or not. I might have to go back to the drawing board on this one, which would be such a shame! Thanks very much for any advice!!
    bethany0728 at gmail.com or www.craftopiaonline.blogspot.com

  5. P.S. I actually do computer aided design work all day at work as well (AutoCAD and Solidworks), for an architectural company! Very neat.

  6. Bethany: I think there are two options, the easiest first: Check out my post about how I made my dress-form, read point no 6 about making it the right measurements. It's tagged with "tutorial".
    The best option: there is a fabulous tutorial on Burdastyle on how to take your paper-tape dress-form to the next level, I've considered doing it myself but have been short of time: http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/dress-form/instructions/1
    Ah, you're a cad-worker too! Cad-knowledge can come in handy when you expect it the least, never thought I'd use it in my sewing, but it's a great bonus :-)!

  7. I can't wait to see it made up in the drapey fabric. I agree - that lovely neckline will look gorgeous in fabric with drape. It is a beautiful design.

  8. It's going to look really beautiful when you finish it! I'm curious, are you going to finish your toile too, and use it for a summer blouse? I would!
    If you're interested the Vionnet article was in the Feb/March 2010 issue. It may be on their website? but I haven't checked this. I'm planning to trial one of the finishes on a blouse I'm currently making and will post about it probably next week some time.

  9. OoOoOo make it in sandwashed silk! That would be gorgeous! Lovely blouse. I also hate things that are loose fitting. I like the IDEA but I look terrible if you can't see my waist.

    Can't wait to see it.

  10. Hm, I'm so with you on the issue of fit, ladies. That said however, a LOT of Vionnet's clothes were intended to be loosely fitted. By the look of the pattern, so was this blouse (body pieces cut on the grain, but without darts or extra seams = loose fit). It might work though, in a drapey fabric and tucked into something high waisted.

  11. Hi Karin,
    Could you please tell me the title of the Madeleine Vionnet book?
    I am looking for one, but since I have to buy it online I am not able to check if it has patterns in it...
    Love to hear from you!

  12. Marieke: It's called Vionnet, not very helpful I'm afraid, but if you look through my books in my Library Thing-widget to the left you will find it with a picture of the cover of the book there.
    Good luck!

  13. Thanx for posting pics from the Japanese book, I missed those on other websites, now I'm sure I need it next to the Birke book, which I just purchased.


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