Is that low viscosity rayon? With a half loop top stitching on the hem?

If you know your Legally Blonde, you’ll know it’s impossible to use a half loop top stitching on low viscosity rayon. It would snag the fabric. However, using rayon for a Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde blouse? Gives pretty good results, I’d say.

You might remember my earlier attempts at the Mathilde. I used a pink chambray which behaved beautifully, pressed like a dream and produced some lovely looking innards. Shame the fabric was too stiff meaning that when I wore it, it looked like I was wearing a box. With massive cuffs. I was quite disappointed as I’d worked hard on that blouse, but I was not put off. I was convinced that the problem was the fabric choice. I needed something a bit more fluid, so I picked up some drapey rayon and had another go. Well, another two goes. I was quite pleased with the first, so I made a second.

The first was in a dove grey rayon I found in Sew Over It when I was there doing the Ultimate Trousers class. I’d never worked with rayon before, and man is it slippy! Pinning and cutting out was a bit of a challenge as it moved around a lot, but I managed it without any tears. Having already made a toile and the abortive chambray version, there were no surprises with the construction, but working with the rayon made making the tucks a little tricky. I had to pin them to within an inch of their life to get them to lie still, and they’re still a teensy bit off, but you’d only know if you were looking for them.


The smug smile of success.

I made a straight size 4 with one small (well, depends on your definition of small) adjustment. The pink chambray version gathered a lot of fabric around the cuffs and it was way too much for me. I wanted something a bit more subtle, so I took out four inches on either side of the sleeve, so eight inches in total. A WHOLE EIGHT INCHES. That’s a hell of a lot less to gather. I’m pretty pleased with the results – there’s a little bit of volume there, but it’s much more understated and a bit more me.

The only thing I would change about this version is the button placement. I used those Frixion pens to mark my buttonholes but they disappear with heat – when I pressed the back the opening, it wiped the buttonhole markings so I marked them up again without referring to the pattern. I should have used my common sense but I marked the top one a bit lower than I should have done, meaning that it gapes open. It didn’t even occur to me until I saw the photos! I’m going to add a hook and eye to the top as a quick fix.


Bit narked about that gaping, but easily fixed.

I love this top. I wore it to work on the day of a big launch and I got so many lovely comments, with people telling me I looked very elegant and all sorts! Talk about a confidence boost! It flows a lot more nicely than the chambray version and generally feels a lot more comfortable. I’m not pulling it down all the time to try and get it to sit properly and it’s completely work appropriate. WIN.

Take four
Buoyed by my success with the grey version, I wanted more! I’d been eyeing up Cotton + Steel’s rayon for a while, and I knew the navy blue one with white polka diamonds would be perfect. Maybe it was because I’d had a bit of practice with the grey fabric, but I found this one easier to work with. The challenge was with getting the fabric to lay still while laying out the pattern – it’s a bit more obvious when there’s a print. I managed it ok, but I think if/when I use rayon again, I’ll either use pattern weights instead of pins, and maybe some tissue paper between layers to make it a bit more stable.


All about that drape

Not much to say on the construction of this one, apart from I used my overlocker to finish the armhole sleeves – the first time I’ve done it on any garment. I took my time with making this but the thing that really took an age (as with all my other Mathildes) was the cutting out, interfacing and marking up. There’s two lots of darts, six tucks and seven buttonholes to do, then interfacing the bodice facings and cuff bands. I had loads of scraps to use up so I took a patchwork approach to the cuffs too. This was probably the most time consuming part of the whole thing, but after that the top came together nice and quickly.


What a faff.


I love this version too. It’s a bit more casual than the grey Mathilde, so it’ll be a weekend blouse to go with jeans, or for dress down Friday. I’ve tried it tucked into a skirt and it makes me look like I’m straight from the 70s, so I think I prefer it untucked. It’s a great top for in between seasons – nice, breezy and easy to wear. I think it’s going to get a lot of action over the next few weeks!

Proof, if it was ever needed, that fabric choice really does make a difference. 🙂

Party in the back

Party in the back



19 thoughts on “Is that low viscosity rayon? With a half loop top stitching on the hem?

  1. fiftytwofancies says:

    Ooh, I love the navy version! The red buttons are great. I have a length of that fabric in my stash (waiting for warm weather to use it!), glad to hear it was well behaved!

  2. Caroline says:

    Wow these look gorgeous Jo! Well done on the hard work and perseverance.
    It is totally true that the fabric can make the garment – my first (and only) Mathilde is make with a pretty stiff cotton and has no drape at all. Yes, the pin-tucks were easier but as you found it hangs like a box and the gathered sleeves are just not me either.
    I think I’ll steal your idea of reducing the sleeve fullness and use rayon / viscose too. IF I ever make another one – they are quite an intensive make.
    Have you signed up to any more SOI classes? Would be great to catch up x

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Yeah you do have to commit a lot of time to it – I started pinning and cutting out the blue one on Friday afternoon and only finished it last night (with a couple of breaks for pub lunches and Breaking Bad thrown in) but worth the effort in the end!

      I haven’t signed up for any more classes recently, but yes, it’d be lovely to catch up! Looking at the list I fancy either the Grace dress (I have a couple of summer weddings it’d be useful for) or the Ultimate Shirt for a challenge. What do you think? Alternatively we could go on a fabric hunt down Goldhawk Road or Walthamstow Market? I’ve always wondered about The Man Outside Sainsbury’s! X

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