What Is Calico Toile?

Written by katrina solano
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What Is Calico Toile?
("Chalayan" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: saschapohflepp (Sascha Pohflepp) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

While it sounds like a type of fabric, a calico toile is actually a tool used by a dressmaker when making a handmade garment.


A toile is a mock-up of a dress or other garment that a dressmaker makes to ensure proper fit before constructing the garment out of the intended fabric.


Toiles are typically made out of a calico material since calico is fairly inexpensive. A toile would not be made out of a pricey fabric because it will never be worn and would therefore be a waste of the fabric.

How It's Made

A calico toile is a mock-up of a custom made garment. The dressmaker makes a replica of the garment out of scrap fabric and fits it to the customer. This mock-up is then fitted to the customer to ensure an exact fit.


First the dressmaker creates a custom pattern for the garment. The calico toile is created from this pattern.

Finished Product

The toile is fitted to the customer and then used to as a new pattern with the custom measurements. The pattern made from the toile is then used to create the final garment out of the selected fabric.

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