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Tilly and the Buttons’ Modified Mathilde Blouse


The Goal: These past few months I’ve been busy with sewing and blogging related endeavors – pattern testing, reviews and promo, Perfect Pattern Parcel, selling my patterns on new sites, sewing gifts for friends, events in town and trying my best to get this new pattern of mine developed. But in all that I haven’t been sewing for me. It’s all business and no fun. I wanted a quick an easy project to satisfy my sewing mojo.

I’ve had the Mathilde blouse pattern in my stash for ages and never used it. I also had some lovely silk that’d been calling my name from the fabric drawer and thought they’d make a good pair.

Alas, the sewing gods were against me. In my Mathilde odyssey I faced trouble at every turn. Let me tell you of my journey…

First bad idea – wanting an easy project and using slippery silk. I cut out my pieces without starch then starched them once I decided they were too slippery to sew with. Had to, um, re-cut some bits because the fabric had shifted out of place while cutting. Remember starch first for next time…


And shifty fabric makes it difficult to sew those perfectly straight tucks. I give my tuck sewing a B.

At first I thought to do French seams as I figured you might see the serging through the semi-sheer fabric. Then I came to my senses and decided on bias binding from the self fabric. But I cut my bias too narrow and it wouldn’t wrap around the trimmed seam allowances. So I just folded it over and stitched down, so there’s a raw edge but it’s bias so it won’t fray. Still, not my best work…

After applying interfacing to the facings I discovered that you could totally see the facing through the outer fabric. First idea to solve that issue was laying another piece of fabric on the back side of the interfacing.

But then I sewed the pieces together wrong and you could still see the darker layer around the neck so I tossed that plan and made (wider) bias binding on the neck. I bound it rather than using bias as a facing because I didn’t want any stitches showing on the outside because…

Did I mention I didn’t have matching thread on hand so I just used the closest color I had but it’s still very obviously not a matching color. You know who cares? NOT THIS GIRL.

Oh, and I totally sewed the sleeve seam inside out on one of the sleeves and only noticed it AFTER sewing the bias binding on the seam allowances… yeah.

By the time I sewed on the sleeves I didn’t want to do bias binding on the seam allowances so I was just like efff it! And trimmed the allowances and zig zagged the raw edge…

And the last thing I did was sew on the cuffs only to realize they were way too small when I put on the shirt. Had to cut them off, cut new cuffs, and sew the new ones back on.


Ok, now that that’s out of my system here are the non-whiney technical details for future reference:

The Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons’ Mathilde Blouse. I think I did a size small? I could go look but really I’m not in the mood anymore…

The Fabric: Some teal China silk from Austin Fabric Co-op.

The Changes: Widening the cuffs by about 3/4″. Next time I should make them bigger by at least 2″ so the cuffs can slide up over my elbows when I lift my arm without pulling the whole shirt up with it.


Nixing the back buttons. I can pull the top over my head just fine.

I think the shirt might be shorter than it ought to be (because of the shifty fabric). I had to re-cut the hem after sewing the sides. I made a narrow hem to compensate.

Bias binding on the neck because of see-through facings.

Narrower sleeves because not enough fabric.


The Results: I should note that all my problems with this project were from a) fabric and b) my own stupidity – not from this pattern.

The Mathilde is a great pattern design. It fit me well right out of the printer. Even the darts are in the exact right spot. I had a friend who made this and said the front neckline was a little too high for her but it was fine for me, no need for adjustments. The only issue I had was the tight cuffs which can easily be changed next time.

In the end I really like the finished result and I’m glad I took the time to power through and not hide it away in the UFO drawer. It’s a solid so that means I’ll pair it with a number of bottoms and I love the teal color. And it’s silk! Even though I regularly dislike sewing silk I always love the resulting garment. Silk is the best feeling in the world.

Comments (12) for post “Tilly and the Buttons’ Modified Mathilde Blouse”

  • Well, it certainly is a pretty blouse despite all your troubles. I love the the little puff of gathering at the top of the sleeve. And those tucks look pretty good from where I’m standing!

  • Ugh! What a disaster! But you came out with a really cute and very wearable blouse in the end so I say pfft to the disaster and hello lovely teal shirt!

  • Sounds like a nightmare, but I bet your glad you stuck with it – the end result is fantastic – it looks really great!

  • I got to the bit about sewing the sleeve seam inside out, and said “oh no!” out loud! I tell you what, you’re a stronger sewist that me, because I’d have had that top in a heap under the sewing machine table where it could have a think about itself! All the bother was worth it though because it’s gorgeous though, and looks fab on you. Lynne

  • sometimes we are our own worst enemies! hate it when i do stupid stuff like that too. at least you have a beautiful blouse out of it! that color is gorgeous 🙂

  • Despite your frustrations you came out with an adorable top! I have been really meaning to try this pattern too, looks great on you, love the color!

  • Oh no, so sorry to hear you had sewing issues, but so glad you persisted as your finished blouse is lurrrvely 🙂 Good to know you can get away with a buttonless version too!

  • Hi Dixie, I just discovered your blog through a long rabbit trail of link clicking… I love your creations! It is encouraging to know there are sewers out there making the same silly mistakes I usually make just due to laziness and being distracted. But I feel a little better now getting away with the little pattern cheats I sometimes do (not adding back buttons cause I don’t have a big head and don’t mind wiggling into it if I have to) and my thread never matching the fabric.. so thank you for making designers like me feel better about the shortcuts we sometimes take, even though we know we’re “not supposed to.” :] I will definitely be following your projects!

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