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  • Lindsey King

Sewing Mabel

Updated: Mar 30, 2023


The Pattern


When Tilly and the Buttons asked me if I'd like an advance copy of their upcoming pattern I couldn't say yes fast enough!


The Mabel dress is described as a "dreamy dress or blouse with shirred waist and cuffs".


It has a square neckline with elastic which creates pretty ruffles and a front neckline tie. You can choose between elbow length or long sleeves.


The instructions are for a midi length dress of blouse and you could easily adjust the skirt length to whatever you wish. The main design feature of this pattern is the shirring!


There is shirring on the waistline and sleeves, and the pattern offers excellent instructions as to how to achieve this;

I feel a big selling point of Tilly's patterns are their brilliant, clear and easy to follow instructions and this pattern is a fine example!


There are plenty of photos and a handy video in case you need it is available.


I had never tried shirring before but had wanted to try for a really long time. I had picked up a couple of spools of shirring elastic from my local haberdashery a few months ago (Dunelm, if you live near one and didn't know, they have a fantastic selection!), so I was prepared.


I had been nervous of shirring before trying it, but I honestly needn't have been, it was so simple! You just load up a bobbin with the elastic and off you go!


The instructions start the shirring, getting you to practice first, then off you go onto shirring the top of the skirt pieces.


The dress was an absolute pleasure to sew. So much so that I've already got my second one cut out!



Fit notes and adjustments


I fell between sizes on the chart, and although I was closer to size 4 I chose a size 3. This is because I'm slightly smaller on my upper body, usually having to take length out of bodices etc. Due to the amount of ease built in to the pattern, the elasticated waist and the seam allowances being 1.5cm (room to reduce them if needed) I cut out a size 3 and I'm very happy with the fit.


The fabric requirements state 2.8 metres is needed for my size, and I think I used a little less than this but not much. If you had 2.5 metres you could make the skirt slightly shorter if you can't quite squeeze it on!


Buy your copy of the pattern here: https://shop.tillyandthebuttons.com/products/mabel


The Fabric


I made my Mabel in a viscose crepe. I got it from a destash from Georgie (of Hey Sew Georgie/Hey Sew Sister fame - if you don't follow her on Instagram, do it now), and it arrived a day before I received the pattern so it seemed meant to be!


I believe it originated from Rainbow Fabrics who sell deadstock fabric. The quality of this one is really excellent and was easy to cut and sew. Normal pins and a fine needle were sufficient and didn't cause any pulls or snags.


Have a look at their selection here: https://www.rainbowfabrics.co.uk/


The fabric recommendations in the pattern are for "lightweight woven fabrics that gather easily, such as cotton lawn, poplin, voile, seersucker, viscose (rayon) or crêpe", so there's loads of options. I'm really excited to see what fabrics other people choose for this. I can imagine beautiful versions for summer in ginghams and Liberty tana lawns!


I had the perfect label from the Kylie and the Machine 2022 calendar, possibly my favourite from the set!


Will you be making a Mabel? I'm off to start sewing my second one...

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