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The Francoise toile

February 19, 2015

Hi there!  Today I’m just going to quickly show you the first toile of the Tilly Francoise dress, which I deliberately made in a nice fabric and hoped it would turn out to be wearable.  The fabric is Amy Butler, and I got it in a fabric swap when I met up with some sewing bloggers in Leeds last year.  The print is pretty big and it just seemed perfect for a 60s style shift dress.


I had 2.2m of the fabric so I decided to also toile the sleeves.  When tracing the pattern, I knew it was going to come up pretty short on me so I added in an inch of length at each ‘Increase/Decrease Length Here’ line, so 2″ in total.  The first of these lines bisects the waist dart, so I had to redraw those to fit the amended pattern.


Foolishly using the ‘finished garment measurements’ as a guide, I cut a size 4, but I realise now that you don’t want the finished garment measurements to match your actual measurements in this style of shift dress, because it isn’t meant to fit your waist or hips closely!


I basted the dress together, tried it on and came to two conclusions: first, it was too tight for my liking, second, the sleeves had to go.  The print plus the style of the dress just demanded to be sleeveless.

Too close-fitting and the sleeves don't look right in this fabric!

Too close-fitting and the sleeves don’t look right in this fabric!

I unpicked it all, cut yokes instead of sleeves, and sewed it up again with a 1/4″ side seam allowance!  Luckily, this made all the difference and I feel a lot more comfortable in it now.  I still traced the larger size for my Valentine’s dress though, and will use the size 5 again for the version I’m making for White Tree Fabrics – perhaps with a swayback adjustment as suggested by some commenters on my last post!


Annoyingly, although I’ve pressed and steamed and ironed a billion times, I can’t get rid of that centre front crease!  Any tips of how to get rid of it?


I love the finished dress, anyway, even though it’s a little tighter at the top than my ideal fit.  It’s so 60s, I couldn’t resist pairing it with some knee high boots!  I was bloody freezing getting these photos taken though so for now it will be worn with tights, but it’s going to be great for the two days of summer we might get in August.


Also I have new hair!  I cut a fringe mid-January and I’m loving it!  It seems to complete the 60s look!  The next photo is a bit overexposed but I still like it so I’m adding it in just for the hell of it.  Indulge me.


  1. February 19, 2015 9:25 am

    Love it on you. Love the new look too! Completely transformed!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 19, 2015 9:55 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  2. February 19, 2015 10:48 am

    It looks great, definitely very swinging 60’s style. Visually it doesn’t seem too tight on the upper bodice on you, but your the one who wears it so only you’d know for sure 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 19, 2015 9:57 pm

      It’s okay…but I much prefer the larger size!

  3. anne carter permalink
    February 19, 2015 12:13 pm

    It looks really good – so much better without the sleeves but with the boots!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 19, 2015 9:58 pm

      Thank you Anne. The sleeves definitely didn’t look right with this fabric. Am hoping they will for my next version though as I have a vision of how I want it to be!

  4. February 19, 2015 12:42 pm

    Brilliant hair, and a most successful refashion. I’m trying Francosie as well soon/ Awesome.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 19, 2015 10:00 pm

      Thank you, I’ll look forward to seeing your version!

  5. February 19, 2015 6:37 pm

    What a great print! Loving the whole 60s vibe with your new bangs. Definitely better without sleeves on you 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 19, 2015 10:02 pm

      The fabric print does work well with the style of the dress! 🙂

  6. February 19, 2015 7:29 pm

    Wowsers! This is gorgeous! The fabric, the boots, your new do – love it!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 19, 2015 10:04 pm

      Thanks Lynne!

  7. Mary permalink
    February 19, 2015 9:18 pm

    Hi, that is a gorgeous dress on you! I’ve not tried it myself but you could try this to get rid of the crease:

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 19, 2015 10:11 pm

      Wow, thanks so much for that link, how interesting! I will definitely try that!

  8. February 19, 2015 11:29 pm

    Cute! And I agree with you on the sleeves–in that fabric they were just a little bit too much. But you look fantastic in it, so hopefully you get those warm August days to wear it out. 🙂 Looks like someone beat me to the vinegar suggestion (which I will warn you is going to stink to high heaven!!).

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 20, 2015 7:31 am

      Oh dear!!!

  9. February 20, 2015 3:08 am

    That fabric is just perfect for a 60’s shift dress. Love it!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 20, 2015 7:32 am

      It is a very retro print!

  10. February 20, 2015 1:06 pm

    The drag lines that run from your underarm to the high neckline may be eliminated next time by lowering the front neck at least 1/2 inch and/or adding 1/2 inch to the front shoulder seams only. This will allow the top section to slide down a bit and relax that front armhole too. Cute dress!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 22, 2015 9:49 pm

      Thank you! I found the fit of the size 5 to be better overall, although it needs a sway back adjustment 🙂


  1. My third White Tree Fabrics Make – The Tilly and the Buttons Francoise Dress | Thread Carefully

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