As pretty on the inside as the outside!

A review of Helen's Closet Gilbert Top

Reviewed by Tanya Brooman on 23rd May, 2022

I bought the Gilbert Top by Helen’s Closet towards the end of summer last year. I made view A (shorter length and tie waist) as I thought it would look more retro in my 50’s inspired fabric – from my shop Bornella Fabrics. It’s a linen/viscose blend. I didn’t make any alterations and I’m really happy with the fit (which is relaxed fit anyway). It really is a fantastic pattern – here are the main reasons I like it:

  • Instructions – Helen writes fantastic instructions. If you’re a novice sewist or tackling a technique that you haven’t come across before then these instructions are for you – they will hold your hand to see you through.
  • Brilliant drafting – the shirt is really well drafted and constructed. I have made a lot of set in sleeves over the last few years and these are the ONLY ones which are perfect first time.
  • Neatness of the finish – I find if a garment is a mess on the inside then you don’t feel quite so special in it. Well this shirt is like the Mona Lisa on the inside – it’s a work of art. I cannot believe how neat it is with almost no extra effort, and a lot of that comes down to the excellent drafting. Everything is enclosed neatly – the placket, the collar, the yoke and the instructions are clear so you can achieve a great finish.
  • No overlocker needed – this would be ideal for anyone who doesn’t have access to an overlocker. The only exposed seams in the garment are the side seams and armhole. I french seamed the side seams as there is a generous seam allowance, and bias-bound the armholes for a neat finish. Tricky but worth the effort.

The ONE thing about the pattern I didn’t like:

  • When you make the collar, you need to topstitch around the outside (once the collar piece is finished). However once the shirt is constructed then you stitch along the entire front edge, pivoting at the collar, continuing along the collar and then down the other side of the shirt. So you end up with two lines of stitching in the same place – and it’s obvious if your second line of stitching isn’t in exactly the same spot as the first. Next time I’ll hold off topstitching the collar and wait until I topstitch the whole shirt, so I don’t have this problem.

So all in all, I really rate this shirt. I feel like I’m wearing something really expensive. I am struggling not to go around showing people the neat insides…  ahhhh the joys of being a sewist!

Happy sewing,

Tanya xx