14 Aug 2013

The fabulous and wonderful Mathilde Alma

I would not have been able to complete this challenge without using a Tilly pattern.  Back in January I decided that I would like to do some sewing.  I Googled simple sewing projects for beginners and found a link to Tilly's site.  It was so easy to read I think I read the whole thing.  When I had finished I had moved away from just wanting to sew a cushion cover to wanting to sew my own wardrobe and I wanted my own blog. I was completely inspired. It therefore made perfect sense to include her first pattern into my challenge.

I have finally completed this blouse and wanted to share with you.  It was so much fun to make and to be honest this is actually my second version.  I started this just after completing Colette Ginger and it was, for me, a step too far.  That's not to say that this is a difficult pattern, more that for a third ever make, I was not ready for it possibly a little over ambitious.

The problem with the first version
My first version was navy and white polka dot crepe de chine.  This I believe was a major problem because the fabric although beautiful and drapy was also a slippery little creature.  I also cut it out with scissors.  When I think about it now, these both combined  meant that the pieces I cut really had no bearing on the pattern and that was just the start of my problems. The neckline and the pleats were wonderful and challenging and really fun to make.  Tilly's instructions make it very easy to follow as do the wonderful tutorials on her site. My real problem came with the seven button holes.  I had not done button holes before.  i have also lost the manual for my machine. I tried to guess, starting at the bottom as this I thought would be least obvious.  The first one went well but with each successive buttonhole they got worse. The button holes were a disaster. I gave up on the project.  then...

The practically perfect second version

So I started a second version this time using a lovely navy cotton poplin star print.  

  Far easier to work with I wondered why I didn't use cotton more often.  I cut it with my rotary cutter and the pieces looked just like the pattern;  This made assembly sooo easy.The pleats were a joy and I even added  some crochet lace detail between the yoke and the front - an idea stolen borrowed from Lauren Guthrie.
The sleeves were not for me and so the I also borrowed the cap sleeve idea using Sewaholic's Alma as a pattern.  I also love those seven large buttons on the back.

To remember
If you are new to sewing this is a perfect pattern just don't use a slippery fabric - cotton poplin is cheap and perfect for the capped sleeve version and widely available in lots of gorgeous patterns.  Use a rotary cutter although with care they are very sharp.  You get a very accurate cut and accuracy does make sewing much easier. Do follow all the steps from Tilly's site, both the instructions and photos are brilliant.  Try not to lose the manual for your sewing machine.  Practice buttonholes over and over until they are perfect before moving onto the garment.

I will be making another Mathilde although again with cap sleeves.  This is only make three  of my 12 makes so I hope to make another Mathilde in the new year.  The next pattern I will be making April Rhodes Staple dress.  Have you made this?  I chose it for the pockets and the easy styling.


  1. That's a lovely version! I really like the cap sleeves idea. Good luck with the challenge

  2. This is so pretty, I love the lace and the fabric is perfect. I used the same fabric for my first Anna dress and it was lovely to work with.

    1. I am definitely a poplin convert from now. The fabric is really nice as you don't see the stars at first - we both have excellent taste

  3. What a lovely top. I really like the fabric choice and the lace trim on the yoke. Very pretty.
    Had a read through your other posts. It's very interesting to see the journey of a complete (and ambitious!) beginner. I've also only been sewing for a few months and it's funny to read about someone else going through similar trials and tribulations to me.
    I've had the invisible zip fun, but not the button holes yet!
    Also lost my sewing machine manual. This was not good. Especially when I unclipped my bobbin housing (if that's the correct term?) when having tension issues and then couldn't put my machine back together...
    I suggest Googling it. I found an pdf copy, and it was free :-) Also explained a lot of other things I'd just been guessing.
    I hadn't really been sold on the Mathilde blouse, I just don't think the shape would suit me, but this may have convinced me to have a go. Also, piecing together my Miette pattern took so long, I think maybe I just can't be bothered!

    1. Glad you like it and thanks for your comments. I will need to put up some photos of the buttonholes sometime - feel that I'm hiding something they were so bad. Will try to find a PDF of the manual that's a good idea. I really love this blouse and would urge you to have a go. Is it the cut and stick part that puts you off? i normally set aside an evening to make up the patterns in front of a film. Do you have a blog? it would be good to see your makes

  4. Oh yeah, it's the cutting and sticking. I'm just being lazy! I don't have a blog. Am toying with the idea but keep finding excuses not to do it. I'm sure it would probably help with all the little issues I have though. Am currently fighting with my tension. Again!


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