A toile is a 3D (fabric) version of your design usually made in calico (fashion equivalent of a prototype.). We use this fabric because it is great for getting the right fit and allowing your to see what your design will look like in your final chosen fabric.
(The pic below is of a calico toile in the making)
Why do I need a toile?
A toile allows you to see what your design will look like in fabric. Most designers/brands toile their looks first before they go into production. There are many reasons for doing this. One reason is that sometimes a design may not look as good in 3D form as the 2D (flat) paper design. The aesthetics of any garment are important for sure, but fit triumphs everything! For without a good fit, you do not really have a good design.
The most typical fabric that we toile in the fashion industry is with calico.
The properties in calico allow for hardly any stretch (apart from on the warp and weft) so that when we transfer the pattern into the calico, we retain as much of the paper pattern design/shape as possible.
Calico comes in different weights, but typically the most common ones are medium weight but are light enough to replicate most fabrics.
How many times do you toile?
The amount of times something is toiled all depends on the design. Most fashion companies, will toile as many times as it takes to get the desired look. If you are serious about making a good quality brand, getting the fit, shape, and aesthetic good by way of pattern cutting, should be the top of your priorities.
Can I toile in my own fabric?
We would always advise to start with a calico toile first. If after the first toile you are quite close to what you want then for sure by all means toile in the fabric that the final garments will be made in. This way you can see how it will look and also give you the ability to make small tweaks/changes.
If I toile in my own fabric, won’t that be considered as a sample?
No. A sample (in the UK) is the complete look as to what you will be selling to your customers. You make your sample once your patterns/ toile/s are complete.
Pattern cutting & sampling
What is a pattern cutter
Why is sampling important