Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Toni 3 with Mods


It’s a Toni Jim, but not as we know it……

First one was as per pattern: second one was as per pattern with the centre front seam left open.

Third one is this…..


The other day I went away for the weekend to the north coast where I met a fabulous lady from America. I’ve now met two fabulous ladies from America who read this blog, sew and travel. They don’t specifically  travel to Ireland just to see me of course but it’s always nice to combine the two. Are all ladies who sew fabulous in America?

Wendy is from Boulder, Colorado (which I thought only existed in the Westerns). She teaches classes from a beautiful fabric shop and also sews very special things for a select client list. Her work is fabulous – can I use that word again without losing its potency?  But truly, her jackets are tailored but not conventional, little personal touches that elevate the wearer to absolute uniqueness: mostly sewn in silk or linen, always muslined first and lined. She makes her own patterns and is a living, breathing, walking encyclopedia about fabrics, style, techniques and colour. Wendy is building a website at the moment and I can’t wait to show you her work when it goes live.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, knowing that we were meeting, Wendy carried all the way from Boulder a length of fabric just for me. Truly kind. I’m rarely gifted fabric but when I am I always feel a little pressured into making something  special with it.

I received about 2.5m of burn-out cotton/poly jersey, very akin to a Marcy Tilton fabric. One side is pure grey, the other is black with random circles cut out to reveal the grey backside. You know how I love my greys…….

I really wanted to maximise all the fabric in one garment and decided a top/T-shirt just wouldn’t do. I opted for a winter version of StyleArc’s Toni dress, with modifications.


First, I lobed off the pointy bits at the sides – mainly to fit on the fabric and secondly because the drapes just don’t work.

I also cut the back on the fold to avoid the centre back seam ruining the circles.


I used the ‘wrong’ side of the fabric for the collar and eliminated the in-seam pockets in preference for front patch ones.It would be really good if both pockets lined up…..duh!


I added full length sleeves by just using the pattern as a cutting guide at shoulder height and shaping down the width to fit my wrists – essentially two rectangles. And when folded back the insides match the collar and pocket tops.

It’s loose and long and I just adore the collar. Housewifey with a touch of elegance. So easy to wear – pair of boots and you’re ready!


The dress still has flare and drape even without the pointy bits but somehow is also elongating and skims the body without bulk or being baggy.


Thank you very much Wendy . This dress will (has) become a very firm wardrobe favourite.

43 thoughts on “Toni 3 with Mods

  1. Lovely! I agree, much as I love this style [Oh! that collar] the drapey points just don’t work on me either. I wrote it off, but I do like your long coat version..
    Speaking of travelling and being fabulous, are we still doing a 6Nap meet at half term? It’s only 2 weeks away now…

  2. Third time is a charm-er! Lovely without the points and the gifted fabric is the perfect look.

  3. These do look wonderfully comfy, especially your latest, from your Western U.S. friend.’s gifted fabric!

  4. A gift of fabric is such a special gift, and I think you made it all the more special with what you made.

  5. Ooh I was debating how to get rid of the pointy side bits & put sleeves in. I’ve made one in a ponte but am not overly happy with the sides & the fabric has bobbled a bit. And I bought the pattern after reading your blog so I will have to copy you again & sew another version!!

    • Hi Sue. I would have thought that ponte would be a wee bit robust for the draped sides….some patterns just need a bit of tweaking and ‘personalising’ to make them right. I’m keeping this version without the pointy sides and with long sleeves. Thanks.

  6. Looks lovely. I think you did the fabric proud!

  7. Gorgeous and that fabric is lovely. You look so elegant, as you always do. Are you quite tall or is it the style which makes you look so? I actually like the pointy bits on the dress because it suits that weight of fabric.

  8. Love your sewing ideas and how productive you are. Would you mind sharing your height (while it would be helpful to also know your weight to compare how the patterns would look on my frame, I realize it’s not lady like to ask such a thing). : )

  9. I know Wendy! I’ve taken classes from her. How exciting to read your blog today. And I love your dress

  10. At first I thought the fabric was dappled in the sunlight in which you were standing but those are spots! Great dress, makes you look a force to be reckoned with, and that’s good in my book!

  11. Love the dress! In the picture where you are holding the sides up, your boots seem pointed and
    well on your way to lift-off. Mary Poppins? I enjoy all your work. Such fun to receive a
    peggy k.

  12. Great use of this wonderful fabric gift!

  13. I feel like I’ve met Wendy, though I haven’t! I read her blog and I’ve met her sewing friend. You are lucky! I love what you’ve done with that special Tilton-esque fabric! It’s my favorite of all of your Tonis!

  14. I love this version Ruth. Thanks for the tip about the sleeves!

  15. Wonderful, Ruth. I like the adjustments you made, particularly to the pockets – makes it, IMHO, more ‘wearable’. Amazing you got it out of 2.5 m!

  16. What a great pattern. I love each version you have made and wouldn’t be able to love one more than the other. They’re all inspiring and as I happen to have some spotted jersey, hmmm…. I doubt mine is as wonderful as yours. It has white spots so I think I’ll dye it.
    I like the grey spots. A lot!

  17. I love all of your versions of this pattern but this one particularly. The fabric looks wonderful and I’m sure it will be a real wardrobe asset. I have one ready to cut out.I hope it turns out half as nice as yours.

  18. Please can you tell Me More about the grey/black fabric? I want to buy some. I am in USA . Thx

    Sent from my iPhone; please excuse typos.


  19. Wonderful dress_ stylish and comfortable to wear.

  20. Very flattering! I stumbled upon Rundholz on Pinterest, falling in love right away. Your black dress certainly reminds me of some of their clothes.

  21. (…but I looooove version 1…)

  22. Love it. Fabulous fabric. Now I’ve actually been to Boulder and you would look great in that dress there! X

  23. Well. I love them all. Fabulous!

  24. You are having such stylish fun with these and your fabric choices are sophisticated as well as comfortable.

  25. This is brilliant! What a great hack, and the fabric is lovely.

  26. I love it with the gentler points. Just enough excess fabric to drape nicely! Lovely!

  27. You are making great use of that pattern. And what a lovely gift. Now I will anxiously await the arrival of Wendy’s website!

  28. The winter version of this dress is so fabulous! Love the fabric and the changes to the original design.

  29. Pingback: Toni Goes to Birmingham | The Material Lady

  30. Hi Ruth! I am finally coming back to life after 3 weeks of travel/vacation…I prefer VACATION! It was so great meeting you and spending time, from ordering the same lunch to having the same brand of lipstick!!
    Love the Toni, great for this time of year, I wore the jacket I made in that fabric yesterday.
    Finally getting some help on the website, so I should have some good news soon.

  31. I’m one of the lucky ones here in Boulder, Colorado, who get to sew with Wendy on a regular basis! Woohoo! Your description of her is perfect! We have so many people here who are so happy with what she has helped us sew, that we have a new display going into the windows of Elfriede’s Fine Fabrics this month. It’s called “Wendy made me do it!” Many people will be bringing in their projects for display, along with a little story on how Wendy helped them. We have everything from wedding dresses to jackets to pants. She is such a treasure! It would be grand if we could have you & your dress in our display, too! (An impractical idea, I know!) Thanks for bringing attention to one of my favorite people!

  32. Hi girl! I’m getting this pattern today – the 8,10,12 bundle. Which size did you use? I know I have to add a couple inches to the length…but you got a nice fit in the bodice. Thanks! and I hope the holidays are wonderful for you. Coco

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