Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top

Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top


Have you ever started a sewing project that took so many bad turns that it sent you into a months-long sewing spiral where you questioned if you even know how to sew? Or is that just me? This project started with the best of intentions. I wanted to use this fun and flirty viscose challis from Minerva with a fun and flirty dress pattern from a new-to-me pattern company. Anyone want to guess where I made my first mistake? Yeah, the new-to-me pattern company. I really should’ve known better than to stray from my tried-and-true companies. In the end, I was able to make this adorable Gilbert Top from Helen’s Closet using the scraps (and the tears) from my original failed make.

So, you’re probably wondering what pattern failed me so hard. For a while, I’ve been on the hunt for a plus-size friendly dress pattern similar to the viral Selkie dresses. I’m talking puffy sleeves, a fitted bodice, and a giant, swishy skirt. I was thrilled when I saw the Capulet Dress from Stitch Witch Patterns on Instagram! So many people of different sizes made the most adorable Capulets, so I knew I had to have it. This pattern ticked all my boxes. Puffy sleeves? Check. Fitted bodice? Check. Swishy skirt? Check. Size inclusive? Check. This pattern goes up to a Canadian size 34, which is 58-inch bust, 51-inch waist and a 60-inch hip. However, the only important measurement is the bust, so making sure the bust fits well is crucial. That’s when it all went downhill. I followed the instructions, which were a bit confusing, to make the bodice and the sleeves. It’s always odd when clothing is too small and too big at the same time. Literally nothing fit correctly. The “fitted” bodice was hanging off my bust. The puffy sleeves were uncomfortable because the elastic length stated in the instruction was at least two inches too short. I figured that I could make a few adjustments, and all would be well. Wrong! Eventually, I threw my hands in the air and gave up.







What really upset me, aside from the overall pattern fail, is that I’d used so much of my precious Minerva fabric. I was sent the Minerva Exclusive Jewel Blooms Viscose Challis and it’s absolutely perfect! The multicolor flowers on the black and white base make this fabric so versatile. The colors didn’t fade when laundered, the fabric ironed well and, even with all my manipulations to try to fix the make, the fabric never frayed or failed me. Thankfully, I had enough fabric set aside for the swishy skirt that I was able to salvage it into something wearable.

Introducing my Gilbert Top by Helen’s Closet! This was an easy, quick sew that needed no adjustments, had clear instructions, and was overall just a joy to make. This pattern also goes up to a 58-inch bust and uses just under two meters of fabric. Thank you, Helen’s Closet, for pulling me out of my sewing rut.








By Stitch and Shimmy

*Photo by Carrie at the Dancers Eye -*

American Cabaret Bellydancer.  Cheese Goddess. Crafty Chick. Seamwork Ambassador. Minerva Maker. Feminist Badass.

1 comment

  1. I love/hate that you made this with tears but it’s beautiful and thank you for sharing this. Loves.

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