Triple Toile Trouble for Sureau

I’ve been coverting the Sureau Dress by Deer and Doe for a few months now. Having seen in on so many blogs, it became really hard to choose my favourites but I managed to whittle it down to three:

I was so excited when this pattern was delivered but I’ve had a steep learning curve altering it to fit. I’m worried that all my novice alterations have changed the original features of the dress too much. Here’s my process (hours and hours worth) consolidated into one post:

1. I made the first full toile from the hideous fabric (which is now all used up!) using the pattern size that was closest to my measurements.

Sureau Toile 1

Two major problems were the excess fabric in the bust area and too tight round the waist.

2. At this point I switched to a gingham cotton scrap and just played with the bodice.

Sureau Toile 2a

I made a small bust adjustment (SBA) to the front bodice using Paunet’s and Moonbeam’s tutorials on this technique. At the same time, I made the legs of the dart narrower and widened the button placket to increase the waist. I then had to lengthen the bodice to keep the waist at the same level as before (SBA shortens the pattern). This was an improvement but it was still too roomy and a gape at the neckline had appeared. I made another SBA, shortened the distance over which the gathers are made and tackled the gaping neckline using Phat Chick Designs tutorial. The fit was now better but the dart came too far up and looked weird. I pinched, pinned and transferred these changes to the paper pattern according to Karen’s post on this technique.

Sureau Pattern Adjustment

Returning to my original hideous fabric toile, I replaced the newly adjusted pattern pieces and continued with construction. The sleeves required a 7cm reduction down the whole length but this seemed easy in comparison to the bodice.

Afterwards I had a complete lack of confidence to cut my fashion fabric for fear that I’d missed something crucial or hadn’t copied my changes to the tracing paper properly. I embarked on a third toile, cut fresh from another fabric from my “for toiles” pile. Cutting a fresh toile from new pattern pieces is a labourious but worthwhile task. It highlighted that I also needed to transfer my changes to the facings and it restored my confidence.

Sureau Toile 3

Unfortunately, cutting my fashion fabric and sewing up will have to wait for another weekend.

I can’t express how helpful the Sureau Sewalong was (even though I’m a year and a half late!), I’m sure there would have been more rounds of toile trouble without it.

Sureau Sew-along

4 responses to “Triple Toile Trouble for Sureau

  1. I made a wearable toile of the Sureau dress this weekend. I must admit I didn’t spend as much time as you perfecting the fit. I just cut a straight size and sewed it up (although I did check the waist and noticed it was small so reduced the seam allowance). I have gaping round the neckline too. I’d completely forgotten about the sewalong so thanks for the reminder. Good luck with sewing up the final version. Just take it slow and you’ll be fine, you’ve already done all the hard work.

  2. Great work. I love dressmaking myself but rarely have the patience to perfect them. Fair play on your dedication 🙂


  3. Wow it’s looking great. I also like how the Sureau looks potentially without the buttons! I love the Sureau and will probably get it at some point.

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