The Mathilde Blouse – Perfection

Mathilde Blouse

This is the Mathilde Blouse, first commercial pattern released by Tilly and the Buttons. Let me repeat that – the first time she’s ever tried drafting a pattern for others to use. She’s never done this before. Get that? Now think about the words ‘achievement’, ‘staggering’ and ‘damn hard work’. All those words apply to Tilly and she deserves a huge amount of applause. The fact that this pattern is also a little piece of heaven just goes to show how far Tilly will undoubtedly go. I feel humble to be in at the start, making this blouse.

So, the pattern! Tilly may be a mate, but she didn’t have to give me a Chinese burn to have me downloading this the moment it was released. I knew straight away what fabric I wanted to use, some gorgeous crepe that had been gifted to me by Claire of Sew Incidentally 18 months ago. The fact that it took me over a year and a half to use this fabric just confirms that the right fabric will find the right make … eventually. Don’t feel too guilty about those stashes!

Why did it take me so long to use the crepe? It had a beautiful sequinned border, but I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to use those sequins. I have a love/hate relationship with sequins. Less is more, if only the high street stores would remember this at Christmas time! When I saw the yoke on Tilly’s blouse, I knew I’d found the perfect vehicle for my sequins. Just a tiny bit. Just on that yoke.


This yoke is crying out for bespoke treatments. Sewists of the world, this is your opportunity to have fun and make your mark! Though if you’re looking at pattern (or sequin) placement, I strongly recommend tracing and cutting out a whole pattern piece rather than trying to cut fabric on the fold.


Did I adjust the pattern at all? A smidgen. I scooped out some of the boat neckline, as I was a bit worried about the neckline coming too close to my moon face. I also widened the shoulders slightly, for fear of bra straps showing. And I added two inches to the length of the blouse to cover my posterior when wearing over jeans. I graded from a 4 in the chest to a 5 in the waist and hips. Despite these adjustments, despite cutting out damnably slippery fabric, every pattern piece came together perfectly in the sewing. The drafting is good, folks!

For the button back, I used some vintage buttons I’d bought last year on a memorable day in Leigh-on-Sea with an extremely good friend. I’m so glad these buttons have been used. I shall think of darling Alex every time I wear this blouse!


Mathilde Blouse Rear

I used flat buttons and I’d recommend doing the same. You don’t want shanks digging into your spine when you lean back in a chair. I spaced my buttons out slightly more than as suggested on the pattern (8cm apart, as opposed to 7cm apart) because my buttons were larger than suggested by the pattern and I wanted to give them room to ‘breath’.

What else? The sleeves are really interesting. There is loads of volume to be gathered at the cuff:


I wasn’t sure about this amount of volume, but they make for the most romantic sleeve. Really, really gorgeous. Regarding insertion of the sleeve head, I’d advise bringing all your gathers together right at the top of the sleeve head. If you spread the gathers along the line of the gathering stitches, you’ll end up with a fairly standard set in sleeve with no gathers. This is a subtle detail, but the online tutorial for this step is exemplary.

Which brings me on to the instructions. Deep breath, here, Karen. Try to contain your excitement. The PDF instructions are brief but they include … A TICK LIST!!!!


There are hardly words to describe my sheer joy at ticking each step off the list. ‘Done!’ I’d trill, waving my pencil in the air, and giving a little dance of joy. The best ideas are the most simple and this is genius. Seriously, I have been trying to think how I can use similair tick lists to motivate people at work. This is so motivating!

If you’re worried about the brevity of the PDF instructions, don’t be. Tilly is supplying an exhaustive list of supplementary instructions online. Original thinking – that woman has it by the bucketload.

Any other thoughts? This blouse isn’t a walk in the park – certainly not if you use slippery fabric like mine. (Though doesn’t it suit the slippery fabric?) If you’re going to go ahead without a toile – as I did – I’d recommend a disguising print. (The words ‘disguising print’ are going to be engraved on my tombstone.) This blouse does call for accuracy. You’ll want your tucks to be perfect, you’ll want your button bands to be perfect. A solid colour is the perfect platform for the details of this make, and I’m a bit sad that my tucks aren’t more easy to photograph. But a solid colour will also be the perfect platform for your mistakes. So, you know, think about the fabric you choose for your first Mathilde blouse. You can save the vibrant solids for your second or third makes. Because, believe me, there will be second or third makes…

I make no apology for gushing in this blog post. I am simply in total awe of Tilly’s achievement and grateful for such a beautiful pattern to work with. Of course, there was one last test the Mathilde would have to pass. Would it go with the ultimate accessory…


Oh yes, I think so.

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68 Responses to The Mathilde Blouse – Perfection

  1. Debi says:

    Fabulous make! I just love the sequin details….and well, your accessory goes without saying! Those buttons are so fabulous and match perfectly!! I love it!!

  2. Jenny says:

    GORGEOUS!!!! I love your blouse ~ it looks fantastic!

  3. Such a great review Karen. I too am in awe of Tilly’s achievement. Your version is beautiful by the way;-)
    As is Ella naturally.

  4. Helen says:

    This looks gorgeous, Karen! A job well done. I love the print, and the buttons and the sequins and everything.

    I have yet to buy this pattern. In honesty, it’s the sleeves that put me off, as I’m not a lover of puffy, volumey, get-in-the-way sleeves on me (although they look great on everyone else). I do love a button back and those tucks though. Do you think it’d be possible to do a slimmer sleeve? Or would that just be insulting to Tilly?!

    • Interpretation of a pattern is the ultimate in creative collaboration and would never be an insult. Just look at the adjustments I made. It would be very easy to shave the volume out of these sleeves. Also, it occurred to me that this pattern would make a fabulous sleeveless summer top , so you could also just try leaving those sleeves out completely.

    • Tilly says:

      Not insulting in the slightest! I’d love for you to feel that you could play around with the pattern to make it work for you 🙂

  5. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Karen! Superb use of the sequins too. I’m so glad my little fabric bundle produced such a lovely make in your hands 🙂

  6. ooobop! says:

    Just lovely, Karen. I love how your choice of fabric gives it a great shape too. Clever lady indeed, that Tilly! And beautiful pupster too!

  7. Rachel says:

    That top and that fabric is awesome. Please tell me about your pants. Are those pearls down the side of them?

  8. oonaballoona says:

    exquisite, karen (and tilly!). i do believe you’ll get snagged by a street style shooter, should you choose to leave the house so perfectly accessorized.

  9. Perfection, it sure is! The yoke. The buttons. Beautiful Ella! Loving it all! x

  10. Lynne says:

    Your Mathilde is gorgeous! I do like the sequined yoke, what a great idea, and Ella looks lovely with it!

  11. Colleen says:

    It’s just beautiful. Love the print, the sequins; adore the buttons. You’ve sold me on this pattern.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Very pretty and the perfect choice for those sequins. It suits you and Ella quite well.

  13. Sam says:

    Gorgeous! That yoke looks the perfect vehicle for a bit of sequin detailing, and the fabric is lovely, however slippery it was to work with.

  14. sallie says:

    Beautiful! The sequin yoke definitely makes it all the more special! And thank you for the review too, I’m very happy for Tilly. It’s such an achievement to release your first pattern!

  15. Funnygrrl says:

    Lovely! The sequins are perfectly placed. I like the idea of lengthening it as well. To cover the goods a little. 🙂
    I went to Tilly’s site to see the tucks. They are so nice. Not something you see often on patterns
    And they say to take off one accessory before you leave the house. Don’t make it Ella!

  16. Amanda says:

    Your version of this blouse is my favorite! Love the fabric you chose. And it goes very well with your fluffy accessory, aka the cutest dog I’ve ever seen. 🙂 Happy belated birthday, by the by!

  17. Very pretty, love the touch of sparkle. perfect pattern for the sequined fabric. And non-sewing comment, love that shade of lipstick, looks great on you.

  18. liza jane says:

    Everyone needs a little bit of sparkle now and then. The sequined fabric was just perfect for this blouse. I want to make this once I’m no longer preggo. I’m a huge fan of big blouse-y sleeves. And your accessory goes great with everything, I”m sure!

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Super cute blouse! Did you get Ella as an accessory for all your makes? 😉

  20. Sølvi says:

    Fabulous make! Love the sequins! 🙂 I loved the tick list as well when I made this – genius! I just finished it today, with some cute rose buttons, but I think I´ll follow your advise and use flat ones. Much more practical. I´ll save my roses for another make. 🙂

  21. CGCouture says:

    Very pretty! I wasn’t sure about the fabric earlier, but the finished garment looks fabulous–and good thing too, because it would be a shame for the pup to be embarrassed! 😛 Hope you had a great birthday, despite the hubbub of that other holiday. 🙂

  22. Tilly says:

    Oh my goodness, Karen – this is just lovely! It looks so sophisticated with those black buttons down the back. And you’re right – perfect yoke for dressing up with sequins. I’d love to see someone embroider the yoke too.

    I’m so pleased you like the pattern and hope you get lots of use out of it. Your words were so sweet – they made me feel so happy. And I’m so glad you appreciate the tick list – a woman of my own heart!! x

  23. Amy says:

    What a perfect accessory!

  24. Bec says:

    Looks really great:) buttons really make it pop at the back:)

  25. Beth says:

    The blouse looks great! The check off list with the pattern is genius!

  26. Stevie says:

    Beautiful! It looks great especially with the ella accessory 🙂 Can’t wait to make one up!

  27. I cannot wait to make this blouse. Your version is perfection…as is the accessory! 😉

  28. Gjeometry says:

    Love it! I have seen somebody else make this blouse, it’s lovely. And the directions look so easy to follow! Your version is very pretty, I love those sequins and the buttons.

  29. Karen says:

    That’s a beautiful blouse! I love, love, love the sleeves – they look so graceful. You and Ella both look wonderful posing in/with it. I could not make it through life without a “tick” list, so I agree that this is a brilliant addition to the pattern instructions.

  30. Absolutely stunning! It is so different to the others I’ve seen- they were all fairly casual but the sparkle takes it to another level. Very classy. It just goes to show how versatile this pattern is.

  31. merche says:

    What a lovely blouse. I know about Tilly´s pattern by other bloggers, thank you so much for the thorough review!

  32. Sarah says:

    I must admit, I’ve not bought this patterns just because I know my tucks won’t be accurate enough yet! Soon, soon my precious….

    The yoke details is lovely, it’s a nice detail 🙂

  33. Sabs says:

    You look fab! The sequined yoke is genius. Happy belated birthday!

  34. Philippa says:

    Lovely colours on you and I think the length is perfect, as is you accessory 🙂

  35. I love everything about your blouse. Great use of the sequin detailing and those buttons are fantastic.

  36. p says:

    The blouse is beautiful. You got me on the tick list. That is genius. Congrats to Tilly as well on putting so much thought, effort and extremely hard work in designing the blouse.

  37. There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said – and I wholeheartedly endorse the praise; but I confess to serious earring envy. And has Ella grown, just a bit?

  38. symondezyn says:

    Yes!! I love that you wore it untucked – I won’t tuck a shirt in ever, so it’s nice to see it still works that way – I love the sequins and I REALLY REALLY love those buttons!!! 😀

  39. poppykettle says:

    Gorgeous! And so is your new blouse 😉

  40. Judith says:

    The blouse is lovely. I like the way you adjusted the pattern to suit you. I sometimes do that too. The buttons at the back are very pretty, but I would have trouble doing them up. The joys of getting older!

  41. Katy says:

    Wow, it’s beautiful! I love the pattern and subtle sequins! I’ve just cut out my version, I so looking forward to giving it a go!

  42. Vicki Kate says:

    This is so beautiful on you! And happy belated birthday x

  43. Shelly says:

    Fabulous make, Karen! I love the fabric and the sequin detail. A great review.

  44. Marie says:

    Wonderful review Karen and I couldn’t agree more…shame I wasn’t more eloquent as a pattern tester! Your version is to die for, what a genius touch the sequin border is across the front yoke and the yummy vintage buttons too. Love it all!

  45. Really lovely. I admit I wasn’t sold on the idea of a Mathilde in such a strong print as I thought my favourite feature, the tucks, would be hidden. But you’ve proved me wrong. Great work!

  46. madformod says:

    I love the blouse, I think the fabric is lovely 🙂

  47. BeaJay says:

    That is one gorgeous top (and dog). Love the fabric – it really suits the top. Great job.

  48. Kirsty says:

    Beautiful beautiful job. I’m currently in the middle of making this gorgeous blouse and love your review of it.. I too am using ‘busy’ fabric which I am appreciating for the disguise factor!

  49. lemur178 says:

    Very pretty and beautifully made. I’m entirely the wrong shape for this blouse so won’t be giving it a spin, but it looks gorgeous on you. I particularly love the 3/4 sleeves. Sophisticated but practical all at the same time.

  50. Roobeedoo says:

    Crikey. It’s pretty much perfect isn’t it? The sequins, the buttons, the fabric, the shape,the fit?
    Oh and the accessory too, of course!

  51. I love it! And the little sequin treatment is so much fun! It’s a really flattering look on you for sure.

    And little Ella makes it that much better. 😉

  52. Gorgeous design and the buttons are perfect!

  53. Fantastic and gorgeous on you. I thought it would be wider on the bodice but it’s quite fitted

  54. gingermakes says:

    You look great! I love this! I’m so glad you found such a perfect pattern match for this special fabric!

  55. Hi! It’s the first time I see your blog! This shirt is awesome!

  56. Linda L says:

    Perfect fabric for this blouse as well as perfect buttons.

  57. anne k says:

    I adore your blouse! Wonderful choices.

  58. Pingback: Top 10 summer shirt, blouse and tunic sewing patterns | Behind the Hedgerow

  59. Pingback: Mathilde blouse | Create and Remake

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