I’m like a kid in a candy store everytime I go into a fabric store. I could spend hours there. And, when left unattended, I often do. Something that caught my eye the other day was a display of beautiful toile de Jouy fabrics. I tried to take a picture, but my battery was dead. (Wow. That never happens.) It got me to thinking about the actual history of toile de Jouy and what it really means. So, I thought you might enjoy a little Fabric 101.
Toile de Jouy
- Toile is pronounced “twall” and got its name from a French term meaning “linen cloth” or “canvas”
- Toile is used as an abbreviation of the term toile de Jouy (twäl-də-ˈzhwē), a term that translates to “cloth of Jouy”
- Toile de Jouy is named after Jouy-en-Josas, France where, in 1760, the factory Oberkampf was founded. Up until that time in France, printing on cotton was done with wooden blocks. Oberkampf was the first company to bring copperplate printing, popular in England and Ireland, to France. The finer lines on the copperplates allowed for greater variation in light and shade. It also allowed for larger repeat patterns; thus enabling artists to be much more creative with the designs. The pastoral scenes depicted on toile de Jouy told a story and included many major events of the time. The scenes were done in a single color on a white or off-white background.
- Today toile has come to refer to any type of similar printed fabric.
Toile de Jouy is available in so many different patterns and colors and is extremely versatile. It works with just about any design style and looks beautiful as upholstery, linens, wall coverings, dishes and, well, pretty much anything. Have you decorated with toile? Which one of these rooms is your favorite?