Friday, February 25, 2011

And now, a word about toile

For various reasons, I am currently investigating toile. And when I say varied, I really mean one reason. A not very secret one.

I feel like most people at all familiar with fabric know a toile print when they see one--the all-over scene fabric, with a pastoral flavor and usually a one-color-on-white print.

People also have varying opinions on toile. I have no particular bent one way or another, but I realized as I began my research that I have never actually used toile. I have been attracted to toile prints on numerous occasions, but could never think of a reason to get any.

As I am poking around, I am learning a lot. Often referred to as "Toile de Jouy" for its most famous production location in France, toile has a storied history from the past few hundred years. It can also contain a wide variety of prints, not just jolly French ladies and gentleman.

I'd forgotten, for instance, about chinoserie toile, full of "pastoral" landscapes from the Orient, and certainly idealized Asian figures.

Schumacher toile, from Brick House Fabric

Then there are the tribute toiles, like this Civil War toile:

Civil War Toile, from The Door Mouse

Evidently there is quite a famous set of toiles with an Eisenhower theme, and some with a Southern USA theme, after Gone with the Wind was published.

There are also toiles with literary themes, as in this example:

Robinson Crusoe toile, by Lee Jofa/Christopher Moore.

Certainly, a lot can be done with toile. Home decor via wallpaper, draperies, and furnishings are natural. Toile is often used in quilting, since as a cotton fabric it's a natural choice. But I was surprised to learn about toile's capabilities in fashion:

50s dress, Dorothea's closet, via Baltimore Style
1987 Christian Lacroix, via Dressmaker

I'm a little embarrassed now for having passed up some toile opportunities. I'm looking forward to getting in to a good fabric store to peruse the possibilities. I'd like to find some good literary toile, and maybe some Greek myth toile. Maybe also some sweet architectural toile!

And, if you're still looking for some wellies this season, check out these!

More on creative toile from Mr. Peacock.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

In Which I Pull Myself Together

I try to decide the night before what clothes I want to wear the next day, since it saves time and I can sleep later. Last night I opted for my peachy-pink sweater (which I think might have been from La Redoute when they were still in business) and my brown pants, which, as my students pointed out today, have a nice sheen (from The Limited). Naturally, I'd wear my St. John's Bay brown boots, a plain white T, and my necklace beaded with selections from the Glass Onion Bead Co. in Appleton, WI.
My hair I leave to chance. Yesterday, for some reason, it was very glamorously smooth. Today, not so much, making it very obvious I need my ends trimmed. As I noticed, however, my snood (from Love21) is a pretty fair match for this sweater. Why not?
So, here you see me, in an "outfit," hard at work at my desk (for the purposes of this picture). Not bad, eh?