Boxed in

Every now and again there comes a make you’re not completely happy with. This is one of them. As I’d had such good results with the Mimi, I thought I’d give another Tilly and the Buttons patterns a go and chose the Mathilde blouse – a button-backed blouse with pin tucks on the front and full three-quarter length sleeves. I love me a button-backed blouse and the pin tucks looked like fun. I checked the fabric suggestions, picked chambray as I had some in my stash and went on my merry way.

Non-confident, dubious face

Non-confident, dubious face

The pattern itself is lovely. It’s a satisfying sew with some nice details, and super clear instructions on Tilly’s website keep you on track throughout. There’s some really nice features – the way the mock button placket covers the edge of the back facing is very clever, and there are multiple opportunities for French seams which is always a good thing in my book. As a result the insides of this blouse are frickin’ neat, which really, really pleases me, as do the set in sleeves – a nice bit of gathering if I do say so myself. I did make a small alteration – I took out some width from the bottom of the sleeves as they looked huge on my toile (which is a beaut – check it out below), plus my fabric wasn’t wide enough to fit it on the grain. Engineering dictating design at its best.

So very neat insides - French seamed and mock overlocked.

So very neat insides – French seamed and mock overlocked.


Oooo lovely neat sleeve!

Oooo lovely neat sleeve!


My Mathilde toile - isn't she just gorgeous?!

My Mathilde toile – isn’t she just gorgeous?!


The fabric itself was a dream to work with – being chambray, it frayed quite a bit, but it pressed beautifully meaning that I ended up with nice, sharp tucks and a lovely neat neckline. When I made mistakes and had to rip stitches out (a slightly wonky tuck, an accidental pleat in the cuff), the holes just disappeared after a quick iron. I also really like the buttons on this one. I got them from the shop up in Balham (really I should just give them a chunk of my salary every month and have done with it), and their design reminds me of those spirograph things I had as a kid.

Just like a spirograph. Just me?

Just like a spirograph. Just me?

So neat insides, easy fabric, cute buttons – what’s not to like? Well, I just don’t think it suits me, and I think in this case it’s all down to fabric choice. It stands away from my body, both at the front and the back so it looks like I’m wearing a box, and the sleeves look like they’re a lot fuller than they should be given how much I took out. Worn loose it makes me feel a frumpy, and with it tucked in I look like some sort of Edwardian nurse who’s starched her blouse to high heaven. In short, I just don’t feel comfortable in it, so it probably won’t get the wear it deserves… Not from me anyway – it could well end up in the charity bag and hopefully someone else will love it instead.

Not loving it from the side either.

Not loving it from the side either.

However – I do think it could turn out differently, and I’d like to see how it looks in a drapier fabric so it doesn’t stand to attention so much. I picked up some nice dove grey rayon the other day, which could be just the ticket. I’m not done with Mathilde just yet!

In other news, my New Year’s resolution to use up all the moisturising cream I’ve been given is going well. This morning I finished a body lotion AND a hand cream. Well done me!

All gone!

All gone!




17 thoughts on “Boxed in

  1. Amanda says:

    It is a really impressive sewing so don’t be too harsh on yourself as it really does look very nice on! I can see where you are coming from as I not really happy with the fit on the one I made – especially the sleeves. X

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Thanks Amanda – from some angles I think it looks just about ok, but for me it’s more about whether I feel comfortable in something. I am really proud of the actual sewing though! Looking forward to seeing you on the telly on Thursday – can’t wait to see what you come up with!

      • Amanda says:

        Thanks Jo! So excited too…..50 hours and counting! The whole school is buzzing with excitement ! Children keep telling me I’m on series link! Hahaha x

  2. navybluethreads says:

    You’ve totally confirmed my suspicions of this pattern. While it’s super pretty, and I’ve seen some lovely versions of it out there, I suspect it would be seriously boxy and unflattering on my short torso. Amanda’s right though, you’ve used some impressive skills. Maybe you could shorten the sleeves to get rid of some of the volume?

    • Jo Laycock says:

      I quite like the sleeve length, but the width at the bottom is crazily voluminous – it’s so wide that it won’t fit on 45in wide fabric on the grain! I took out about 3 inches from the pattern, but it looks like it could do with more still. Having said all that though, I really do think it could look dramatically different with a drapier fabric. Back to the drawing board!

  3. Beth says:

    Yeah, it’s just not fitted enough for your lovely figure! A shame because it’s sooo neat! Can you nip it in at the waist… Somehow… And do something with the sleeves?!

    • Jo Laycock says:

      It needs something doesn’t it?! I do still have my toile, so I could practice on that before ripping into the real thing… The sleeve volume really needs to be reduced – it’s like I could store food for the winter in there!!

  4. Linda of Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!! says:

    It is a beautiful fabric and you did a wonderful job with all the sewing techniques! Unfortunately I was wondering what was wrong with it when I looked at it and just figured that, although perfect, it wasn’t my style. “Edwardian” did make me chuckle! I have sent my makes that end up “not quite right” to charity too. If I can’t change it, someone will like it.

  5. Caroline says:

    Hi Jo – I am in the same boat as you too. I made my Mathilde a year last summer (with Tilly on a workshop). When I had finished all the lovely features like pin-tucking, top stitiching, french seams etc – I too felt like my Mathilde just wasn’t me.
    I think its a combination of the very pouffy full sleeves, too-stiff fabric and it being too short for my torso. All in I have probably worn it about 3 times and I am always fiddling with it because it doesn’t feel that comfortable.
    Such a shame – yours looks beautifully made!

    • Jo Laycock says:

      I hate it when that happens. I hate to say it but I do have things from sewing classes that I don’t wear since I’ve decided they’re not me. Do you think it’s meant for drapier fabric, but since Tilly’s patterns are aimed at beginners she’s included more stable suggestions? I’m going to chalk this one up to experience, and do more research in the future. It’s all a learning curve!

  6. megsewing says:

    Reading this I is making me rethink the mathilde. I’ve been on the fence about the pattern and buying the book Love at first Stitch for ages!! I love so many peoples makes from the book….and I was going to purchase the mathilde and make it with regular long sleeves, to try and make it less boxy……but now I think it’s just not my style 😦
    Yours does look so pretty and I think someone else would love it!

  7. elaineoc says:

    This is interesting because I really felt put off by this pattern for just this reason! Sorry it didn’t work out for you with such lovely sewing. I do love the Spirograph buttons tho!!

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