I am back and with a bang! I took August off to assist with my husband’s cousin’s wedding; yup I did my first bit of wedding sewing ever! Not gonna lie, it was a lot harder and more time consuming than I imagined it would be. I had the tasks of sewing a Mother of the Bride dress and a Grandmother of the Bride outfit… talk about pressure! During the madness, the Matilda Dress by Megan Nielsen was released in their Curve range. Now I’ve been eyeing this pattern for absolute ages and I did send them a message last year inquiring about the curve update. I couldn’t believe they remembered me and offered to send me the pattern to try one year later! I should have been part of the Community Makers team for the Matilda Curve, but let’s face it… I am so super late with this one! Maybe my head was still in wedding sewing mode… I don’t know but I made so many mistakes I ended up finishing more than a week later than I planned for. Oops! On the bright side.. do yall see this dress? Classic case of better late than never… it’s a masterpiece!
Matilda is a “modern utility style shirt dress”.
- princess seams
- drop shoulder or sleeves
- pleated breast pockets
- an A-line skirt with roomy statement pockets
- collar and stand
- View A is a shirt dress with drop shoulder and sleeve bands
- View B is a shirt dress with sleeves that can be cuffed.
- 0-20 based on a B cup
- Curve 14-34 based on a D cup
The truth is I generally fall right in between the regular and curve ranges for a lot of pattern companies. It’s because I am a curvy girl with a bigger bust size but I have a petite frame and I am only 5’4″. My first experience with Megan Nielsen’s curve range was the Reef Shorts and I was absolutely blown away by the fit. That sparked my curiosity to try a blouse or dress from the curve range to assess the fit on my top half. My bottom half is where I carry most of my weight so I was a little worried that my top half would fall more in the regular size range. There is a super helpful blog post about choosing between the 2 size ranges for Matilda over on the Megan Nielsen Blog. After going through it extensively, I came to the conclusion that the curve range would give me a better base to work with.
Was the Curve Range the right choice?
Absolutely! Rarely am I able to sew a straight size. With my waist to hip ratio, I often have to grade sizes. Well I made a straight size 16, shortened the bodice 1″ (I am short waisted) and to achieve a knee length dress rather than midi, I chopped 5″ from the skirt hem. The final alteration was a 1″ full seat adjustment. My bum lifts up all the skirts and dresses! The fit on my Matilda Dress is just stunning! More and more, I find myself gravitating to fit and flare silhouettes and this dress is a good example of the reason why. I think the shape is just beautiful on my curvy figure! It’s fitted on the bodice, comes in at the waist, and skims over my hips into a gorgeous flare.. so twirl worthy!
When I saw that the bands and plackets on the curve range were wider, honestly I was a bit hesitant because being short waisted, I usually prefer a slimmer waistband. Wider button plackets also tend to overpower my petite frame. Something about this one just worked.. don’t ask me how… it just worked! Everything looks great proportionally. The one single change I would make next time (and this me being really picky), is narrowing the shoulders a bit to get a better fit on my very narrow shoulders. Or I can slim the sleeve bands instead. I think they come out a bit too far on me and I pretty much just crush them when my arms are down. That is literally the only thing I would consider changing size wise.
One thing I love about shirtdresses is that they generally look great in many different fabric types. If you’re like me and you prefer a crisper shirtdress, pull out that 100% or quilting cotton you’ve been hoarding. My fabric is a tropical print 100% cotton. It’s a dream to sew because it does exactly what you tell it to do. No slipping or sliding! I personally prefer a sturdier fabric for a dress with so many details. Speaking of details, this fabric is so busy, I knew the gorgeous style lines would be easily overlooked.
Piping is a great way to show up small details on a busy print. I used red piping on the collar, yoke, waistband, pocket flaps, plackets, sleeve bands and skirt pockets. Phew! This piping is one of the major reasons my project was so delayed. I miscalculated how much piping I would need. Sent my husband to get more the next day, the worker gave him the wrong thing! Had to wait until another day to get the right piping. That’s three days lost because of this piping. Then actually sewing the piping took way longer than I expected. Lots of hand basting was involved and also lots of seam allowance trimming because the piping had 1/4″ seam allowances versus the pattern’s 5/8″ seam allowances. I also trimmed the cord itself 5/8″ inside the bias tape so the seams won’t be too bulky. This piping almost took me out! Would I do it all over again? Yes! Yes I would! I mean.. do you see the piping details on this dress? I told you guys… this is a a masterpiece!
For buttons, these weren’t actually my first choice. Here is where I made my other booboo. I miscounted my buttons and I am still in denial. Why did I think I had 14 when in fact I had only 10? My first choice was a small black button with a green holographic hue. It went so perfectly with the leaves in this tropical print. I emptied my sewing room garbage bag on the floor hunting for the remaining 4 buttons. I turned my sewing room upside down and in the end just came to the conclusion that I had miscounted. It was the only explanation. One of the sucky things about living on a small island, especially during a pandemic, is that stores close really early. I had to wait until the following day to get new buttons. I ended up settling for these wooden ones because they sort of blend into the fabric. I figured since so much is going on with the print and piping already, a light neutral button would work best. The wood also fits in nicely with the island vibe of this make.
So there we have it! This is my version of the newly released Matilda Curve by Megan Nielsen Patterns. I am over the moon about how it turned out and I am super happy with my fabric choice and piping details. It was such a satisfying sew despite my little hiccups and my husband absolutely loves it which is always a plus! There is so much information and support on the Megan Nielsen Blog for Matilda; shortening, grading, inspiration, and even a sew along! Love that! Let me know what you think of this colourful make in the comments below! Oh also.. why do I have foundation running down my knee? Hot mess!