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Jun 14, 2012

Toile de Jouy - YEA or NAY?



You've seen it in decorating magazines...



You've seen it in bed linens...



You've seen it in tote bags...



Are you ready for mens pants?



Readers, the same day I picked up the linen border print for Michael's shirt and the lavender corduroy for my just-completed shorts, I also bought a very wide yard and a half of this:



It's cotton canvas toile de Jouy.  I'm too lazy to tell you how to pronounce it, but click here if you're interested.

Toile de Jouy is a design that goes back to 18th Century France and usually depicts rustic scenes.  My fabric shows happy peasants doing, well, what happy peasants do.  It reminds me of Jacques Demy's Peau d'ane, my favorite musical in which Catherine Deneuve wears a donkey on her head.  Actually, maybe that was the 15th Century.  But no matter.


Here are what the peasants are up to on my fabric.  Serving yummies.



Playing what looks like Bocce ball.



Feasting.



Frolicking.



All in all, it looks like a pretty good life except for the periodic famines and epidemics.

Anyway, friends, my intention is to make myself a pair of toile de Jouy pants.  I showed my fabric to my mother, whose reaction was the rather leading, "Don't you want to make that into shorts?"  To which I replied, "No, I want long pants."

But now I'm wondering if my mother wasn't perhaps right, which she often is, much to my frustration.  So, predictably, I turn to you.

1) What do you think of toile de Jouy (enough italicizing) for anything -- upholstery, wallpaper etc?  Does it have any negative associations -- peasant revolts, Martha Stewart, the preppies in your high school?

2) If one were going to make pants out it, do you think it's better suited to shorts rather than long pants?

3) Do you agree that long or short, an entire suit of toile de Jouy (as shown by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac in the photo below) is a bit too much?



Toile de Jouy -- YEA or NAY?

(The fun begins around 1:30)



FRIDAY UPDATE:  A number of commenters have (hilariously) made reference to The Sound of Music.  While Maria did make play clothes out of curtains, they were NOT toile de Jouy.  (Can anyone name the fabric?)



80 comments:

  1. i say go for it; live on the edge. I've been contemplating using this fabric in a pinky/red colour for children's clothing...i'm oddly drawn to it.

    Why not make the fabric up in shorts and long pants?...if you've got enough fabric.

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  2. Unless you're making jammie pants, your mother might be right. For street wear, shorts might be the way to go. Personally, I'm waiting until I can find just the right version of this fabric on sale so I can make myself a skater dress.

    and, um, as strange as the suit is above...what is with the girl in the toile de jouy over-panties (too short to be shorts) with the show-through from her tights in the background? Couldn't they at least have made the top of her tights white? or given the panties a lining?

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  3. Isabel's DaughterJune 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    In clothing,I think that toile, like animal prints, is great in small doses. Short pants would probably work better than long. You now have a TNT shorts pattern, so new ones would be a quick make.

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  4. My very classy grandmother had blue toile wallpaper in her dining room (before toile was chic) so it's always been a happy association for me! I think it could work with pants only if you pair it with a solid color shirt of the same shade. I used to have a wrap skirt I made myself out of toile upholstery fabric - it was black and cream and I wore it with a black shirt and looked smashing.

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  5. I say go for it!!I'm thinking skinny jeans. In the interest of full disclosure, I have made a couple of toile skirts.

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  6. I mean, if you make pants you can cut them off into shorts afterward if it doesn't work out, right?

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    Replies
    1. Of all the sewing chores in the world, that is, I think, my least favorite!

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  7. Hell yes!
    I LOVE this design and agree with Joni. Teamed with a solid shirt I think it will be fabulous.
    A suit, on the other hand, leans towards sofa territory!

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  8. Maybe I should have been a bit clearer...yes to pants! I was over excited by the lovely fabric.

    It happens!

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  9. Long pants, go for it. :-)

    Beth

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  10. Long pants, solid shirt - I agree with Joni and Evie.

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  11. Go for the pants but wear something plain with them. You will rock them like that, in my humble opinion.

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  12. For me it's a Nay, it's like making kid clothes with curtains:-)

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  13. Don't let me have to tell you again. I think it is the models jacket that at first put me off but I thought sans the jacket competing, those pants would look da bomb. Go for it! Getting excited now lol. Plus you can carry them off.

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    Replies
    1. Someone said skinnies. Whoa they would look the biz.

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    2. A plain tee would be fierce. Anyway enough of me assaulting your blog. Am done lol

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  14. Yes to statement-pants! The fabric is so out there, you have to go ALL OUT or go home. And you cound totally rock such pants.

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  15. i think less is more in this case. i like the style, but it has to be used sparingly and in the right context. The bedding--way too much. the wall in the first pic--gorgeous.

    i'd say shorts... maybe pants. definitely not a suit! ;)

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  16. I can see I'm getting older - everything old is new again. I have seen toile pants before, in 1968-69, on what we used to call "rich hippies." They were jeans-style, cut close and basket-y in the mode of the day, and they offended hell out of older guys and corporate types, which was their raison d'etre, of course.

    My vote is for pants. They look great on the right guy.

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    Replies
    1. P.S.: That bed is blinkin' OBSCENE. Who on Earth has time to foof all that up and arrange it all oh-so-prettily every morning?

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  17. Go for the trousers - don't be half-arsed about it ;) They make more of a statement than shorts.

    I love toile, I've used it for corsets. Have a look at the Glasgow and London toiles from Timrous Beasties - slightly less pastoral and romantic :D
    http://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/fabric/75/glasgow-toile/
    http://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/fabric/77/london-toile/

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  18. I love toile de Jouy, and think it would make some cool skinny jeans. Just don't try matching the pattern or anything!

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  19. I really like that fabric and would love to make a dress out of it. I say go for it, if you don't like them you can always wear them round the house.

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  20. On behalf of France, toile is awesome. I have a short skirt and a long skirt in fabric much like yours, and I love them both. Shorts would be cute, but pants would make a Statement--go for the pants!

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  21. I generally have disdain for toile de jouy because I perceive it as VERY conservative and fussy. BUT I think it could be almost subversive in pants and I like that kind of thing. Shorts would be great too, but a bit more expected.

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  22. Hey ParisGrrl, where do you live? I'm from the North, lived in Paris and I am now in CNY...;-)

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  23. I love it and have a pile of it, but nothin Martha Stewartesque for me. My bedroom curtains are made from it, yes, and I make tea cosies out of it too: http://amamus-amatis-amant.blogspot.co.nz/2010/06/cosy-to-t.html
    As for what to do with this fabric, I REALLY love the jacket in the suit pictured. Would you consider a jacket instead of pants? Mix it up with some denim maybe? :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree here! The jacket would be much more interesting, specially because it gives more surface to show the fabric and second, it would gives you more possibility of coordinates it with different pants styles, colors, etc.

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    2. Yes, I was thinking the same thing.

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  24. no skinnies please! you would loose all the rustic scenes!

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  25. Stovepipes all the way! A fabric like toile de jouy does not lend itself to half measures - you're either in or out, not part way with shorts. Skinny legs will give them the edge they need I think, cool combined wigh slightly naff is often effective. A whole suit though? No, that's too much!

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  26. Go for it! But remind yourself of your leopard trousers, that you said you don't wear. And I think I recall you made some floral trousers, that you also don't wear. So, you'll have fun making them, then you won't wear them. You could get all Zen about it and say it's really all about the process, not the end product.

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  27. Yeah, shorts would look good and would be less conversation-provoking. But you only live once, I say make the pants.

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  28. Yea all the way! Go for the pants!!
    I've been in love with toile print clothing since I saw Dita Von Teese in a fabulous blue on ivory toile dress. Everytime I see one in the garment district I look carefully at the scenes to see what's going on. I saw a zombie toile on 39th st last fall.

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  29. Graceful long pants, solid white or blue shirt, white or tan shoes, linen jacket, very elegant in the Italian way. No half measures, do it like you mean it.

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  30. Yea, yea and yea, I love toile, but I think the only thing i disike about it is the classic and recharged bedroom.

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  31. I’m with couturearts. Though I think the pants would look great with a white t-shirt, you probably won’t wear them. If the fabric were softer I’d say make jammies. Mom’s right. Mom is always right.

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  32. I love toile de jouy and if you think you will wear them, I say go for the trousers. I see Crikey Aphrodite has got there before me, but do check out the Timorous Beasties toiles, which bring the original concept bang up to date in all its resplendent gritty splendor...

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  33. Okay, I LOVE toile de jouy so much even that suit doesn't seem over the top! Skinny pants would look fantastic.

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  34. Also there's this Harlem Toile de Jouy...

    http://www.sheilabridges.com/fabric_harlem.html

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  35. Great topic. I have at least 2 pieces, very high-end. One in the pink/red colouring mentioned. Pants if you wish. A suit, maybe not.... I have been starring at my pieces, and wondering what to sew with them. Must be simple, with less seams. Maybe a sporty type skirt, either shorter, or long. As for use to decorate the home, it turns me off in a big way, reminding me of too conservative, and snobby, though some kind people must use it to decorate. That's my association. Cathie, in Quebec.

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  36. I say if you love the fabric, make what you want. Go for the pants.

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  37. I say go all in with the long pants- follow your own style-heart! That's what home sewing is all about, no?

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  38. I see London
    I see France
    I see Peter
    In long toile pants

    With a white linen shirt, untucked, and the pants rolled up a time or two. Hamptons chic.

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    Replies
    1. LOL Debbie! But I agree with your styling idea, that's a great look

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  39. I love it on a sport or suit jacket but as a really intriguing lining or reverse side to something that looks very simple or plain, such as a pair of shorts with the hem rolled up revealing the Toile. I could especially see this looking great as an element for a woman's dress that gives a nod to the era it stems from.

    I notice that the scale of the print on men's suit above is much bigger and more graphic, which really changes it's look.

    I personally think that having too much of it though makes your eye lose any pleasing silhouette, or fine details to the piece.

    I think anything that works with this fabric, but has a bit of a "wink" to it's classic appeal would be best.

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  40. I made a shirt for my Mom a few years ago in that print, blue on white. It looks good on her. Not so sure about menswear ...

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  41. I've seen this stuff on the walls of my favourite boutique hotel in Paris and that's where it belongs...but hey I've been wrong before

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  42. Ugh I dislike toile of any kind. It reminds me of nursery wallpaper used by people who want to tastefully note how weathly their newborn already is.

    Also, look at how thick the toile makes that model's upper thighs look. Seriously. Doughy tree trunks.

    That sports coat is pretty awesome, though. Perhaps if the scale of the toile was small, you could get away with it. So, to sum, 1) I dislike toile; 2) the scale of the design needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the garment, and 3)I agree with the other people who say "Go all out."

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  43. Just before I lost a lot of weight, I made myself a 1950s dress (as I recall it was a Weigel's pattern) in a toile that was deep red on an ivory background. I also made a red net petticoat to wear underneath. The dress is long gone (as is the weight) but the petticoat remains in my "off season" wardrobe waiting for the next 50s' style dress to go with it.

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  44. I like it a lot! I like the whole suit and would like the long or short pants!

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  45. I think The print proportion and the resulting contrast btw positive and negative space is the key, as is the fabric weight. Also, Pants would be an unusual choice for this fabric and you don't want the print to look muddled. For pants, exaggerated proportions, like on Castelbajac's piece, look best, I think. You are in a way making a statement with this print, so it should be prominent... Would you agree?

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  46. Toile de Jouy and Peau d'âne in the same post, how bold ! You've definitely made it as my favorite blog of this month .
    I am French, living in northern France, so, I will not burden you with my thoughts about the toile de jouy, they are totally irrelevant in your part of the world.
    Thank though for peau d'âne's excerpt, they used to broadcast it all the time on TV during Xmas holidays when I was a child. Memories....

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  47. I think it'd be very summery and cool both lengths. But the real question is would you wear the pants? I seem to recall you mentioning don't wear those lovely leopard pants, which is a crying shame. I think you might wear this as shorts more..

    And let's get a technical detail straight- that pronounciation is wrong. Emphasis is on the first syllable in French, try http://fr.forvo.com/word/toile_de_jouy/ instead.

    I still regret not buying any of the gay-themed toile that was briefly available in SF in the late 80s. I held out for a girl version, and lost :-(. Leap if you ever find any, I'd love some pajamas with hunky shepherds.

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  48. Don't draw me in on your pants-length dilemma, but any discussion of toile do Jouy really is not complete without reference to Mimi Kirchner's legendary tattooed dolls: http://mimikirchner.com/blog/archives/2012/05/yesterday-and-today-3/ Created from over dyed toile. Aren't' they amazing?

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  49. I'd love to see this made us as jeans. I wouldn't use it for home dec, but I love the idea of it as jeans!

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  50. I mainly don't wear my leopard pants because a) one pair is cotton velvet so not exactly suitable for everyday wear, and 2) one pair is a really coarse, stretchy synthetic.

    I think I would get a lot of wear out of a pair of cotton canvas pants, whatever the length (or print). That's my position today, in any case. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Peter, you need to be more careful in your fabric selection if you are going to put all the work into sewing and then not wear the item because it is the wrong material.

      Yes to the long pants in Toile or the jacket. You will rock them.

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    2. If that's the case with the leopard pants, then go for the long pants and have fun! Mom, might still be right, but it's an experiment, no?

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  51. Psychological theory says that when people ask for an opinion, they really just want reinforcement of the decision they have already made, and will consciously or subconsciously reject any opinion that doesn't match what they've already decided. I think you've already decided on long pants, despite what any one says, good for you. Know yourself, and do what makes you happy. However, allow me to say "The Sound of Music".

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    Replies
    1. OK, that made me laugh. Please see update on post.

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    2. Peter never asks a question without having already made his decision. Saves him from being influenced by just any bozo drifting in off the net :-).

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  52. I agree with Anonymous above; this is really a done deal.

    We look forward to seeing peasants frolicking on your derriere in due course.

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  53. Peter: one word. JEANS.
    Helen

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  54. I went thru a toile decorating phase about 5 years ago. I did my bathroom in black and white toile as well as my kitchen curtains and accents. I've toned down a little because I am at just warm like instead of love.

    I have seen a pair of women's capri pants in black and white toile at Marshalls but they weren't in my size, so passed. I say go for it if it makes you happy.

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  55. Personally, I really like Toile de Juoy, provided it's not overdone. An entire room or outfit in it is a little much.

    As it is, I collect Wedgewood's "Countryside" pattern--Toile as china--and have green/cream toile curtains in my bedroom and cushions in the same fabric on the living room armchair. That's about it.

    Good job on the shorts, BTW. They look good on you as well as wearable and comfortable.

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  56. A warning--wash and dry that fabric twice. It will NOT have finished shrinking in one wash. Ask me how I know.

    As far as pants vs. shorts. It's hard to say for sure, but when I visualize I think longish shorts may be the way to go. But keep the design simple with such busy fabric.

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    Replies
    1. It's a print style, not a fabric, so one item's behavior won't be anything like the next. Sorry you had bad luck though..

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    2. I know that. But the stuff I worked with was also a cotton canvas. I had pre-washed it, and figured it was fine. I made curtains out of it and when they were washed they shrunk again, just not as much. These 100% cotton fabrics can be tricky that way.

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  57. Oh, and that curtain fabric is brocade, isn't it?

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  58. Peter,

    I would say split the difference, and make capri pants (man-pris?).

    As for your mother, this world's problems needs her diplomatic influence and steady resolve. Heads of state and bankers, alike, could benefit from her well chosen words.

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  59. OH that suit! Way too much. Frankly I think they're too much for pants even but I know you are already making them! Stampin up has even had toile rubber stamps.

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  60. Oddly enough, I hate it. Except maybe I think I might like to see the long pants.

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  61. This may be too obvious but ...the sound of music curtains...are they damask?

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  62. I concur with Lorraine. Damask curtains for Maria Von Trapp, et al. I think long pants are the way to go with the toile. The print and the accompanying narrative is too large to carry in shorts. I think Debbie is right about the styling. I sense you have a summer vacation coming . . . nothing says pastoral leisure in the country better than toile. I say this with some authority as I look at some on a sofa in a Tuscan vineyard B&B, where I am whiling the time before tonight's Firenze Madonna concert. Buona giornata!

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