Conquering Plaid: A Laurel Blouse

Colette Patterns Laurel in PlaidI admit it: I’m procrastinating! I am supposed to be busy tackling my terrifying party frock (deadline 12 Dec), but something about the Dahlia debacle has left me determined to create a garment in plaid that I’m happy with. I bought this fabric at the same time as the Dahlia plaid. It’s a close relative: brushed cotton, soft and cosy.

I was very taken with Rachel of House of Pinheiro’s recent Laurel in plaid. In a shameless act of plagiarism flattery I decided that this was the perfect pattern for a quick and satisfying make, and I was keen to revisit the alterations I made to the skirt of my last Laurel, which had resulted in it being too snug across the stomach.

On reflection, my wardrobe had become increasingly full of dresses but there’s a gap when it comes to off-duty tops to wear with jeans. So here’s the answer: a really simple blouse from the Colette Laurel pattern, cut as size 8 with no alterations. What better use for this lovely fabric! I love it! If it washes well, I think I might just have to treat myself to a dress version too!

Colette Patterns Lauren Plaid

A Liberty Mathilde

MathildeMy love affair with Mathilde has been well documented, so needless to say I was beyond thrilled when Tilly of Tilly & The Buttons fame featured my two Mathildes on a blog post last month. I never thought that my makes would ever have their moment of fame, but, as sewing accolades go I was chuffed to bits! So, having waxed lyrical about my earlier Mathildes here and here, today’s post is a little shorter as there’s not much more I can add short of penning a love sonnet.

Mathilde

After my fabric-purchasing debacle, when I foolishly bought an insufficient amount of this Liberty Tana Lawn and had to source more, I ended up with enough left over to make another Mathilde. Result! British autumnal weather calls for exactly a blouse like this: it looks fab over a pair of skinny jeans. For this version, I went back to the original design after pattern-hacking my Mathilde in Chambray. I lowered the front neckline by an inch as I found the original a little high. The pleats seem to get slightly lost in the busy print, but nevertheless they are my favourite feature of this blouse. I’m a sucker for the buttons down the back too.

MathildeNo photos of me today, peeps. I’m sure you’ll survive! I had a scroll down my ‘In The Wardrobe’ page and had to chuckle at all of my ‘hands on hip’ or ‘just dropped a quid on the floor’ poses. Seriously, how do those supermodels do it?! I just couldn’t compose myself enough to do this blouse justice today!

Mathilde with Butterflies

Mathilde

I can’t claim this make as a recent one – but I really wanted to share it with you. The London summer seems to be drawing to a premature end, so I wore my first-born Mathilde last week and remembered how much I love it. You know when you have an outfit that really represents the essence of your personal style – for me: strong colours, skinny jeans, a mum-tum concealing top…

MathildeAs I wrote here about my second Mathilde, I was drawn to this pattern by the lovely pleats and button-back. It was the first detailed pattern I attempted, after re-cutting my teeth on the Colette Sorbetto. The sewing world had moved one somewhat from my first experience of dressmaking, some 20 years ago: the instant gratification of downloadable PDF patterns; super cute independent pattern companies; masses of inspirational blogs; fabulous fabric shops. So a big thanks to Tilly and the Buttons for reigniting the passion for the simple art of stitching!

MathildeThe fabric’s another super-duper find from Simply Fabrics. The light was failing when I took these snaps, but nonetheless I wanted to capture an outfit that makes me ridiculously happy!

Mathilde in Chambray

Don’t you find that your most recent make is always your favourite?

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Mathilde complete with creases!

I love this top! It’s my second go at a Mathilde from the amazing Tilly and the Buttons. I was equally pleased with my first attempt last year. In fact, it was one of the first garments I made when I dusted off my sewing machine. I was very taken with the pleats on the front of the bodice, and the buttons down the back are a lovely style detail. I didn’t alter the pattern for my first attempt. It was a big enough feat to download and assemble a PDF pattern.

A year on and I felt ready to make the pattern my own. Whilst I loved the original, I didn’t think I suited the full sleeves and the straight bodice looked rather boxy. So I took the plunge and drafted cap sleeves using the original arm scythe as a guide. I also took out the fullness in the bodice and reshaped it at the waist based upon my measurements. Finally, I lowered the front neckline. I am so happy with the fit. Perhaps this will give me the courage to attempt more complicated alterations…

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Mathilde button back detail

The instructions were so easy to follow. Tilly’s clear and concise writing style made this pattern accessible to sewists with basic skills. The sense of satisfaction I had after making version one was off the scale.

I had been on the lookout for some cotton chambray, so when I found this at Simply Fabrics in Brixton I snapped up 3 metres. You will be seeing it again! The guy in the shop told me that it was Paul Smith shirting. Not bad for £3 per metre! The fabric was beautiful to work with. It pressed well and really holds the pleats. I think the colour makes it look classic.

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Now, what should I do with the rest of that chambray? Any thoughts?