gold star

Last week, Gail wrote a blog post in which she described a direct correlation between how quickly she photographs a project and how much she likes it. With this project that I completed a few weeks ago, the opposite seems to be true: every time it’s clean, I wear it out without taking pics, so the write-up has been a long time coming.

made: Mathilde blouse pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

When Tilly announced the release of the Mathilde Blouse, I joined the scads of sewists that were fired up to construct this stylish design. Tucks! Full, gathered sleeves! A button placket! Down the back! Full sentences. Can’t make.

Mathilde blouse line art
click for source

But the blouse, I could make. I purchased and printed the pdf pattern within days of it being released. The pattern sizing only extends to a 40″ bust, so the first thing I had to do was some substantial grading/altering. I’ll detail that stuff below for any who are interested. Next, I muslined the bodice pieces, eliminating the yoke/tucks/buttons. I knew that I would want the front neckline a little lower, so I dropped it by about 1½” at center front. That was the only design change I made. I was surprised how great the muslin fit considering the major sizing changes I had made. The only post-muslin alteration I needed was to the length/angle of the bust darts.

details collage, Mathilde blouse

I am mad about this fabric, in the love way not the angry way. I bought it locally at The Common Thread, and it’s a 100% cotton voile. I’m not sure why, but it seems some voiles are much softer and silkier than others, and this is one of the good ones. It feels much more luxurious than cotton, in the way that Liberty lawn does, though maybe not quite that awesome. :) Whatever, it was also a third of the price! Here’s the info from the selvedge:

Bromley -- Victoria and Albert Museum -- London for Rowan -- Westminster Fibers
click for a larger pic

Fun fact about this fabric. On Monday, my husband and I watched the premiere episode of Bates Motel on A&E. (Don’t worry, I hate spoilers so there’ll be none of that here.) In one of the scenes, the Norma Bates character was wearing a skirt that I thought might have been this same fabric. It was a dimly lit and fast-moving scene so I never could be sure, but it drove me to distraction so I tried to find a still shot of it the next day. Couldn’t find one. But, I discovered that I could stream the episode, so with some effort, I finally captured a screenshot where it was visible. (If you watched the show, you’ll know this was a particularly un-fun task. It was not a scene I cared to revisit! Surely that’s not a spoiler… You knew that a show about the Bates Motel wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies, right??) So check it:

sorry about the butt shot Vera Farmiga, it’s not you it’s the fabric…

Here are my pattern alteration notes, in the order in which I made them:

  • Graded pattern up to size 8, which would correspond to a 44″ bust. 44″ has little to do with my particular bust, except that it always gives me the best fit at my shoulders and upper chest.
  • Added width at the side seams using the seam method, 1″ at the top to 2″ at the hem.
  • Did a 2″ FBA.
  • Spread out the gathers at the sleeve cap a bit more to account for my wider upper arm; the narrow space they covered initially looked out of proportion on me.
  • As I noted above, I lowered the neckline at center front 1½”.
  • Oh yeah, almost forgot — I added an eighth button on the placket at the back. I supposed I had added a little length due to the grading, but really it’s just that I had eight buttons and wanted to use them all. The buttons are coconut, purchased at Super Textiles in Dallas. This store has gazimillions of buttons, plus fabric and zippers and lots of other stuff, but go when it’s cool out because it’s not air conditioned!

my Mathilde blouse, closer

Anyway, in case it’s not clear by now, I love this pattern, love the results, anticipate making it lots more times. Thanks Tilly — can’t wait to see what you release in the future! And, though it’s been said many times already, thanks for the stroke of brilliance that was the check-boxes-at-each-step. I loved that touch, and may have gotten a little creative with my sense of accomplishment…

if you don't give yourself gold stars, no one will

ETA: I just realized that I had failed to include a full pic of the back of the blouse, with the great button placket! Here it is:

Mathilde blouse back with coconut buttons

Comments 18

  • Beautiful!! It looks great on you. Love the way you’ve used gold stars to monitor your progress! And how amazing about that fabric – it is the very same!

    Thanks Tilly! The pattern graded up just beautifully and was so well-drafted! ~Susan

  • I love this top on you, too. I think the sleeves and tucks are really flattering and feminine. And the Norma bates skirt is an odd coincidence! And you’ve already been pinned by Tilly! ;)

    Thanks Dixie! I agree, the details are really feminine without being frilly… great balance. Yay for pins! :)

  • Gah, that’s so pretty! Beautiful fabric! I’m glad you’re wearing it lots!

    Thanks Gail! Yes, I’m pretty sure if it were RTW quality rather than handmade, it would be in the mending pile right now due to all the wear… ;)

  • I love this top and it looks fabulous on you! I totally forgot about that show… I’ve seen previews and wanted to watch it. Thanks for the reminder!

    Thanks Angela! I recommend it — I thought the acting and storyline were both great, and we were sucked in right away.

  • What a fabulous and cheeful looking blouse! Such impressive details on your blouse. :-)

    Thanks Heather! It’s a new favorite for sure. :)

  • Love your blouse – definitely a gold star. Beautiful tucks and buttons too. Very nice indeed.

    Thank you BeaJay! I had almost forgotten about these buttons, but I’m glad I found them because they are a great match!

  • You’ve done a great job with this top and it shows on you! I often have to grade patterns as well and it’s quite a bit of work to get it right and you sure did get it right… well done it looks great :)

    Yes Chris, I agree — it can be a lot of work but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it!

  • the blouse looks amazing! love that fabric. so funny you spotted it on tv!

    Thanks Lisa! Yes, that’s all I could think about in that scene… “Could you please just be still for a second??” :)

  • Beautiful blouse. Really enjoy reading your construction/alteration notes. I get so much help from you! I had not heard of the ‘seam method’ before, but it makes so much sense.

    Thanks Coco! I really love that method… It’s my favorite right now, so logical to me.

  • I haven’t been to Super Textiles since forever! Did you find any good fabric there? Love your top. You are such a lovely lady and this feminine style really accentuates that.

    Thank you, such a nice compliment! You know, I think I only bought buttons and some other hardware there that time, but several of the friends I was with did find fabric they went home with. I was too hot to think clearly! :)

  • Your blouse is just lovely. I’m a great fan of Super Textiles as well (I live near DFW airport). In fact, a trip to Perth St. is my idea of heaven — I love the fabric warehouses there. So much! So MUCH! We try to go once or twice a year. Thanks for the review of this blouse, I’ve been thinking about it for some time, but I’m not a fan of downloadables. I tried the Colette Sorbeto, but it’s 25 pages just for that little tank top. Love your blog!

    Thanks, Nancy! I used to feel the same way about the download patterns, but I’ve warmed up to it. Maybe because some of my favorite garments came from them! :)

  • Seam method. My mind is blown- thats great! I love your top- I’ve been wondering if I could make this to fit me and you just sold a pattern!

    Thanks, Anne! Get your enabling here anytime. ;)

  • What a pretty blouse! I love all the details — pin tucks, buttons, etc. Nice fabric choice.

    Thanks Antoinette, the details are really great on this pattern!

  • This blouse is beautiful ..what a great job fitting it. and The actors skirt is definitely the same fabric.Amazing..

    Isn’t that crazy? I’ve been looking for other fabric that I may recognize on that character, but nothing else yet… :) Thanks Judy!

  • Fabulous – so love this blouse, really interested in your grading. I’d have to have a similar sizing and its the only bit thats holding me back from purchasing this pattern (that and the fact we move in a weeks time and the sewing machine is currently packed). Do you have any hints, tips, websites for help in grading it to an 8 from a 6.

    Many thanks.

    Hi Cara, and thanks! I’ve been meaning to create a post on how I do even grading like this, so I will try for getting it put together within the next week or so…

  • Just started following your blog. I must say, I love his blouse on you! I’ve been eyeing the Mathilde but I’m not sure about the full (gathered?) sleeves, and as I’m a beginning sewer I’m not sure i could alter the pattern. Thanks for your thorough review!

    • Hi Joolz, and thank you! This blouse is one of my favorite makes. I recommend taking a look at Tilly’s Mathilde “maker gallery” to see if there is anyone who has made that alteration and written about it. If not, you could always ask Tilly! I’m sure she’d be happy to point you in the right direction. :)

  • Hi, I’ve just found this post whilst looking at how to do a FBA on a yoked blouse (I want to do this one actually). I hope you don’t mind me asking here, but do I just pin the yoke and front pattern pieces together and do an ordinary FBA? Will it get in the way of the tucks or will that become self explanatory as I’m doing it? Thanks in advance

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