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Friday, 21 January 2011

Recognise the picture? It featured in the dream post of a few days ago. Vix clearly knows me too well as she quite rightly pointed out that a pink room would have no place in any dream house of mine! I used it mainly because I was struggling to find a proper boudoir photo but also because I absolutely love toile.

For those that aren't as in love with it as I am, toile de Jouy is a type of pattern, originating in the eighteenth century in the village of Jouy-en-Josas in France. This is halfway between Paris and Versailles so was very well placed for manufacturing the sort of expensive textiles likely to appeal to the French court at the time. It generally features quite complex pastoral scenes based on a white background and is most common on fabrics but also appears on decorative things like wallpaper and porcelain.

A couple of late eighteenth century examples

I absolutely adore it in country house rooms but they usually have the benefit of being on a somewhat grander scale than your average house and so can get away with slightly more busy designs. If and when I ever get a house of my very own then it won't be anything grand. I definitely want to fit toile in somehow but I'll have to be canny about how I do it.

I think it's a bit like chintz in that people seem to go nuts with it. It can be a tad overpowering at the best of times but a quick google image search will show that it's usually accompanied by swags and pelmets and more occasional tables than you can shake a stick at. For example:

Argh, pattern overload!

This honestly makes me feel queasy

Too fussy, plus I don't understand beds with gazillions of cushions and pillows on them. You only end up throwing them on the floor.

This, toned down by several hundred notches would be really rather nice. As it stands at the moment, I think you'd develop some sort of vicious eye strain just sitting in there.

I still haven't found the perfect room so I'll have to steal some ideas and inspiration from other places instead.

Come on, did you expect me NOT to find a green one? I certainly wouldn't go for that particular style of curtain but I love the colours.

This is excessively pretty wallpaper. Not quite so keen on the white shabby chic features though.

Now this, I absolutely love. It's just so sunshiney. You'd automatically wake up happy in a room like this.

I like the fact that toile is popping up in more modern forms and unexpected places as well. It's not just limited to soft furnishings.

I like this pattern very much - it fits my love for buildings and skylines.

How glorious is this design please? I can't stop giggling at the maypole dancers. It's from the utterly wonderful tshirt website Threadless but alas it's sold out. I've got my fingers crossed that they reprint it.

Equally modern and fun is this design from Coco de Mer. It's rather raunchy, hence the small photo (don't want to corrupt any younger readers!). If I was the sort of girl that frittered that sort of money on bras then this one would top my wishlist.

My other problem is that toile designs seem most common in blue, red and pink at the moment and I don't want any of those. I prefer it in green, yellow or even in black and they're not so easy to track down. The hunt is ongoing.

I managed to source these two big pieces of fabric towards the end of last year. I think they're technically curtain fabric but it might be just about possible to make dresses out of them instead - if it's good enough for the Von Trapps it's good enough for me! I know they're both quite busy patterns but I think if I pick the right style of frock, I could look quite chic rather than a piece of walking wallpaper.


  1. I love a bit of toile de jouy, but agree too much can be a strain on the eyes and a little too "magic eye pic" for me.
    Love the idea of using it on drawers, and I prefer the more muted colours. Maybe an accent wall would work? with a few other bits of toile delicately dotted about the place. I love my cushions on the bed in a number of patterns to make the colours on my bedroom wall. I keep it simple with white duvet cover etc though.
    Love talking interiors.


  2. Alex, I adore Toile, I agree with you too much can be overpowering, I bought some lilac Toile fabric years ago, which I turned into a tablecloth and four scatter cushions. Good luck for your search for green, yellow or black, I will keep my eye's peeled over here and will let you know if I spot any.

  3. I do love a bit of toile de jouy adn what a fab selection you've picked for us. One of my finest car boot purchases were a pair of black and white floor length curtains I picked up for a fiver. They are still up in the bedroom and the cats love to hide in them.
    Check out Timorous Beasties for their Glasgow Toile featuring smackheads and Lidl shoplifters and I remember wallpaper direct used to do a Toile featuring copulating couples...nothing chinzy about them. xxx

  4. Toile can be beautiful in moderation. I have some lovely red toile just waiting to be used, probably cushions of some description. I love pillows on the bed but my hubbie flings them about the room in a rage and kicks the quilt until they fall onto the floor, it's the only thing we argue about :)
    Kandi x

  5. Oh Alex when I came to those last two pictures I thought that those were my favourite ones of all, if only they weren't just Google pictures - and they're your own fabric, awesome!! They would look FANTASTIC as dresses.

  6. It's one of my favourite styles. Those pieces that you managed to get are fab - I can picture you doe-a-deering down the road!

    Totally agree with you about it having the ability to be over done.

    Liberty are selling a lovely Vivienne Westwood Toile de jouy top at the moment but at £280 it's a little out of my price range!

  7. Ohhh the sunshine room is gorgeous as is the bra. I'm in love with that last picture of your fabric, i think it would be fab made into a prom style dress x

  8. When my boyfriend moved into his flat, I was very pleased to find that he had toile curtains in the bedroom! They don't go with anything, but I do still quite like them.

  9. I have always loved toile too, the brown colour is my favourite. Have you seen the Timorous Beasties patterns? They do a London and a Glasgow toile:

  10. I must admit all these photo's are setting me off dreaming of beautiful and wonderful rooms!
    I think it really does look beautiful in small doses. Oh god I can already picture a stunning dress in that fabric!

    The sunshine room is so so lovely too x

  11. Can I live in your dream house too??? I love the pattern, always have.

    Hope you are preparing for a great weekend!

  12. I do love a nice bit of toille although nothing too sickly! how great is the underwear! And the modern interpretation of toille = fabby!

  13. ps, I always mean to say - I was born in Liverpool! Born in the slems of Kensington, thenCroxteth, then Dovecot and finally a bit posh - Crosby!

  14. Never really noticed this type of pattern before but its beautiful :)

  15. Ok thank you for posting the Threadless link! I used to love that site but lost the bookmark, then totally forgot the name and lately have been trying like crazy to find it! Also, now I know what toile is, I love it too! :)

  16. I love toile too, especially green and I'm with you on cushions on beds - I can't stand them.

  17. Toile can be very pretty when done subtly even if you don't have a large and grand home.

    I'd love to see what you come up with for the fabric. x

  18. Oh alex! Thank you so much for your comment :) and I am so happy you came 6th!! That is fantastic news! I hope I'm not alone in wanting to know who came 1st ;)

    I love toile! I have so many pieces of fabric with the print, some French farm scenes some random fairytale scenes and always my favourite.
    I haven't been commenting much, but wanted to say you look amazing in your last post. X

  19. Dear Alex, I absolutely love it too. You must have your room done in it. I'll let you know if I see any too. That pink room is hilarious! Have a gorgeous weekend xx

  20. Toile is wonderful and I'm so glad it has a resurgence. You are right it is hard to strike the balance isn't it.

  21. have you checked out Timorous Beasties? Am lucky enough to live very near their London store...they have increadable stuff and some brilliant toile and I know they do a green!!

  22. I must admit, I find that style of wallpaper just too busy. That said, on occasion I'll see it somewhere and think it does look really gorgeous. Isn't the difference of opinion what gives life its joy and variety though!? Plus, SO agreed on beds overflowing with cushions! What's the point!?

  23. oh i like my cushions!!
    but i defintiely love this toile - i kind of like the cave-like green toile overload! but i do love my things to be OTT so thts probably why!


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