I fell for this whimsical deer print on a shopping spree in Ridley Road market with other sewists last year. I don’t usually go for prints like this but shopping with others often results in unexpected choices. It has a slight sheen and a gorgeous drape so I’m guessing it’s viscose crepe de chine.
I used Tilly’s button back blouse pattern which came free with Love Sewing magazine. I decided this would be a trial run for the Mathilde pattern which I have in my stash. I trace most of my patterns now so cutting out the Love Sewing pattern saved some time. The button back blouse is very similar to Mathilde but doesn’t have the tucks at the front.
I cut a size 4 and made my usual short bodice adjustment to the front and back pieces. I hadn’t used crepe de chine before and it was a shifty bugger to cut. Some pieces came out a little wonky and I had to re-cut the cuffs which did not look rectangular first time round. If you’re using slippery fabric, err on the side of caution and buy more than you need. It helped to block fuse my fabric before cutting out my facings. On the plus side, it presses like a dream and my facings are nice and flat.
The major alteration I made was to the sleeve. I’ve never been sure about the bishop sleeves on the Mathilde pattern. They’re a bit Marmite and a lot depends on fabric choice. I basted on a sleeve and decided it was too full for my tastes. So I had a go at re-drafting the sleeve pattern. Fortunately I bought 2 metres of fabric, so had enough to cut another pair.
I slashed the sleeve from the top to the hem in four sections and narrowed the sleeve so that the side seams were roughly parallel. This distorted the hem slightly so I just re-drew the bottom curve. I think this has worked out really well and I will make more iterations using this slimmed down version.
The button back blouse has lots of processes and is a slow make. However, I found it really enjoyable working through all the different techniques. I added some gold piping to the yoke to break up the busy print. Pattern placement was non-existent and poor bambi got decapitated in places. I was in a lazy mood and barely looked at the instructions something I did NOT get away with. I sewed the button band before the neck facing so had a bit of unpicking to do. I left out the button holes and sewed on the buttons to close the back as I could get it over my head just fine.
I don’t have anything like this in my wardrobe but I think it’ll get lots of wear. I’ll probably make the Mathilde next time as I love the front pleat detail. The only changes I’d make would be to lengthen the top slightly and widen the shoulder seams. I think it’s too narrow and feels like it’s slipping. The armscye is too low so I’ll read up on how to fix this next time. I’m really pleased with this little top and love the fun print. If you subscribe to Love Sewing magazine and have this pattern, make it!