Tilly and the Buttons latest release, Mabel, is a pretty summery make that can be made as either a blouse or dress – it has pretty details such as gathering and shirring and a gorgeous neckline to give it some interest.
I used one of our range of ex-designer organic cotton shirtings for my first go at Mabel. I thought the stripes would work really nicely and create an interesting effect with the shirring.
I made the long sleeved version as the weather has been unseasonably cold this spring, but I like that I have the option to change it to the shorter sleeved version later down the line if I prefer.
I made the TABT size 2, which is my standard size in Tilly’s patterns and I think the fit is good – obviously the shirring does a lot of the fitting work for you! Tilly has created a blog post about creating bra strap loops if you find that the wide neckline slips off your shoulders but so far, I haven’t had this problem with it.
I’m not sure I 100% love the length of the blouse on me – It’s not a style I am used to seeing on me so I may just need to play around with styling it.
In terms of the construction, the instructions are, as usual, very good, but there are a few things that I would maybe do differently.
- I would carry out all of the shirring at the same time – by the time you are all set up for it and on a roll, you may as well get it all done together. With that in mind, I would hem the sleeve as the first job and then shir the sleeves and bodice before moving onto the rest of the construction.
- I always find that shirring works best with a tightly wound bobbin of shirring elastic and a stitch length of about 2.8/3.0. This method has always worked for me and meant that I don’t need to mess around with the settings/tension on my machine.
- When constructing the top of the sleeve, I would run a line of basting stitches at 1.5cm, after finishing the sleeve edge. This gives you a line to press up to and allows you to gather it in slightly, if necessary.
Overall it is a fairly quick make, if you are familiar with shirring and I am looking forward to making the dress version in a nice floaty rayon for the summer months.
You can find everything I used to make my Mabel blouse here:
A little bonus pic of my girl Audrey, desperate to get in on the photoshoot action!