I’m excited to have some guest bloggers joining us this week to show off the Gilbert Top! As you may already know, we recently moved away from ‘pattern testing’ and are doing ‘QA (Quality Assurance)’ for our patterns now – read more here. We have more clearly separated the testing and marketing sides of pattern review because, well, that’s how it should be! We now pay our testers and we no longer have ‘tester roundups’ where we show off the test versions. Instead, we are welcoming paid guest bloggers to make the final version of the Gilbert Top pattern and share their review of the design! This is just another way for us to show you new patterns on different figures and in different fabrics!
Today we are welcoming Leanne (@threadyforit and threadyforit.com)! Leanne is a ray of sunshine with her bright smile and cheerful attitude. She is a sewing powerhouse and I regularly oooo and ahhh at her posts. Let’s see what she has to say about the Gilbert Top!
Note: I ask my guest bloggers to be honest! I want you to hear what they thought of the pattern, things they might change for next time, and how they feel in the garment! You know, the real sewing experience! This post is their own and all opinions are honest.
Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top Pattern Review
Hi y’all! My name is Leanne and I’m a 30ish-year-old currently living in Phoenix, and I’m excited to bring y’all a review of Helen’s new pattern, the Gilbert Top.
I know I’m not the only one who has been counting down until this pattern came out, right? I’ve been ready to sew it up ever since Helen posted the sneak peek during the Arden pants launch. Gilbert is a button up shirt pattern with 2 views, A is a short sleeve with a tie front and a slightly cropped length, and B has a bell sleeve and longer length. Since the temps in Phoenix are hovering in the 105+ F, I opted to sew up the short sleeve tie front, because I thought in Phoenix’s climate it would be a great year round staple piece. Once the temperatures cool back down in fall/winter, I would love to make a view B because bell sleeves just do something for me.
For view A fabric choice isn’t limited, but I picked this really beautiful dusty mauve silk noil for my Gilbert. Since I’m wanting to be able to wear it year round, I thought the color and fabric weight translated to every season pretty easily. Silk noil is a fabric with some drape, which isn’t a requirement for the view I picked, but I like how the drape makes the shirt feel roomier and more relaxed. I also love that this fabric didn’t have an obvious right or wrong side. There are a few pieces to keep track of and it was easier to not really have to worry about the right side or wrong side after I cut them out.
Before I started sewing, I read through the instructions once and I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated. Between dreading that moment when you hold your breath as your machine sews up the buttonholes, and worrying I couldn’t get a clean finish when hemming around the curved tie parts of the garment, there were a few steps that I was dreading getting to. However, Helen’s instructions are some of the clearest in the pattern industry (that I’ve tried at least), and she gives you very detailed pictures so that every step you see exactly what to do and where to do it. Things I was confused about before starting made sense once I had the fabric in front of me.
This pattern had a few tips & tricks that I had never seen before but that I’m glad I have in my sewing arsenal now. There are a few parts of this pattern where the seams can get really bulky because of the amount of pieces of fabric being sewn together, but Helen suggests as a tip to grade each piece of fabric to a different length instead of all of them to the same length, so things can lay flatter and it’s genius. My other favorite tip was to cut into but not through the seam allowance when it came time to hem from the front facing to the end of one part of the curved tie. This tip is genius, and very helpful when it comes to hemming split side seams as well, and I’ve already used it with other garments I’ve sewn since finishing my Gilbert.
This sew ended up being such an enjoyable experience for me. I didn’t rush or skip any of the finishing details, and it became very relaxing to just follow step by step the exact instructions. I turned on the newest season of Queer Eye and before I knew it I was releasing my breath after that last buttonhole was finished. This is a sew that might take you a while the first couple of times you make it, but I can definitely see it becoming a speedier sew the more you make it, and who couldn’t use multiple button ups in their closet really?
Usually with button up shirts I have a problem with gaping in between the buttons, but with the looser fit of this pattern, that hasn’t been an issue at all. It’s a comfortable fit throughout the bodice and I don’t find it to be too tight in the arms. It’s a button up top but it’s as comfortable as a t-shirt, so overall this pattern was a very big win for me.
I really want to make a view B but cropped to a view A length for fall. I think the long sleeves and the more cropped length would be such a nice contrast and would look really cute with all the high waisted bottoms in my closet. I’m also on the lookout for perfect stripe fabric to make into a Gilbert, but the back yoke and front breast pocket gives a great chance to play with stripe direction, and that’s one of my favorite ways to make a garment more unique to you.
Are you picking up the Gilbert? If you’re intimidated like I was, please give it a try anyway! Helen’s instructions are basically like she’s sitting next to you holding your hand through it and you’ll be a more confident sewist after you complete it.
I hope y’all are all doing well during these tumultuous times and that sewing brings you the joy and relaxation you very much deserve,
We have more posts about the Gilbert Top coming your way this week! Check back later for more guest blog reviews, pattern hacks, and Gilbert inspiration!