14 May 2013

Pattern Hack! Gathered Mathilde Blouse

Want to avoid sewing the tucks on the Mathilde Blouse? I'm going to show you how to create a lovely, loose-fitting smock version by gathering the excess fabric at the top where the tucks would usually be and leaving the bottom loose. Super simple stylee!

1) Follow the Mathilde Blouse instructions past stay stitching the neckline. Skip over the tucks step and stitch the bust darts.

2) Thread your sewing machine in a contrast colour thread - this will make it easier to identify and rip out the gather stitches later. Set the stitch length to 4mm.

3) On the top edge of the front bodice, sew three parallel rows of stitches about 5mm - 7mm apart. Try to avoid the 15mm (5/8in) seam line as this is where you'll be sewing your "real" stitches later. Leave a few inches of loose thread at the start and end of each row. These are your gather stitches.

4) Gently pull on the top threads and use your fingers to distribute the resulting gathers evenly across the seam. You want to gather it so the top edge of the bodice becomes the same width as the bottom edge of the yoke.

5) Pin the top of the front bodice to the bottom of the yoke, right sides together.

6) Tack (baste) the pieces together, with about 10mm (3/8in) seam allowance. Use your fingers to keep the gathers even while you're stitching. Check the gathering is nice and even - you can unpick the tacking stitches and try again if it's not.

7) Once you're happy with the gathering, thread your machine in matching thread and set the stitch length to normal (2 - 2.5mm). Stitch the bodice to the yoke for real.

8) Remove the tacking and gather stitches. Finish the seam using zigzag stitch or an overlocker/serger. When it comes to pressing, be careful not to press over the gathers or you could lose the fullness (erm... as I kinda did here - doh!).

Ta da! A pretty gathered smock version of the Mathilde blouse.

Liberty Tana Lawn fabric courtesy of Sewbox.