This super cute boxy top pattern is a great beginner project, coming together really quickly. You won't be able to stop at just one!
It was love at first sight with the Collage Gather Top from Matchy Matchy Sewing Club. This pattern fits my style to a tee, being casual, boxy and gathered (of course)! But what I loved most about the pattern is the ability to customise, as you are given the creative license to mix and match fabrics. You can sew this top with a single fabric, or as a patchwork, which is great for using up those smaller pieces of fabric you may have in your fabric stash. It is also a fun pattern to make alterations to, with a super simple hack that lengthens the top into a dress.
A wrap-up of this review
The makers: Matchy Matchy Sewing Club
Matchy Matchy Sewing Club were new to me prior to commencing this project. But this certainly won't be my last pattern from Matchy Matchy Sewing Club (I already have my eye on the new Horizon Day Dress), nor my last Collage Gather Top. Their designs are simple and wearable, and you are given a lot of freedom to add your individual spin by mixing and matching fabrics thanks to well placed panel lines.
Matchy Matchy Sewing Club not only sell PDF sewing patterns, but fabric by the metre and accessories, and access to an online community for all sewists.
Matchy Matchy Sewing Club PDF sewing patterns, fabric and accessories are available via their online store, and a growing number of online retailers. Head to their website (linked above), or check out their social media @matchymatchysewingclub for more inspiration.
The Matchy Matchy Sewing Club patterns are available in PDF only. Once you have purchased your pattern you will be emailed a link that allows you to download your PDF sewing pattern. This download will provide you with access to:
A4 sewing instructions
A4 print at home pattern - 30 pages
A0 copy shop pattern - 2 pages
A4 mood board for fabric planning
The pattern includes sizes XXS - 6XL (bust 31” - 64” / 79cm - 162cm), and two views, which differ in their sleeve design;
View A features a simple cuff sleeve.
View B features a 3/4 length drop shoulder gathered sleeve with band.
While I can appreciate the convenience of printing at home, I don't particularly like the method of sticking 20+ A4 pages together. Not only is it time consuming, and requires a lot of space, but I feel it can be a little less accurate at times. Therefore, I opted to have the sewing instructions, A0 pattern pages and mood boards printed at a copy shop. This of course, is down to personal preference.
The pattern pieces themselves are really clearly marked, and the sizing is easily differentiable. There are seven pattern pieces in total for View A and nine for View B.
The instruction booklet is really minimal and clean, which I Iiked, not going overboard on information. The instructions themselves are written in easy to understand language, and clearly divided under nice sub-headings. Therefore, if you are searching for something in particular the information is easy to find. Each step is also accompanied by a clear diagram.
Fabric and notions
The suggested fabric for both View A and B is light to medium weight woven fabrics, such as cotton or linen. The only additional notion you will need for this project is coordinating thread as there is no neck closure (i.e. zipper or button), with the neckline being large enough to simply be pulled over ones head.
As I mentioned previously, this top can be easily sewn with a single fabric, or as a patchwork. To help you plan your patchwork, Matchy Matchy include a mood board with your download to help you plan and visualise how your patchwork will look (pictured below). You can position your fabric swatches in the small boxes at the bottom, and colour in the drawing of the top. Alternatively, I have seen a really cute version where someone has cut out a mini top in their patch-worked fabric. I used the mood board, moving the fabric around the different panels, and it certainly helped.
When choosing fabric for my own version, I was inspired by the black and natural gingham linen featured on the Matchy Matchy website.
When I saw the European laundered linen, Wanderings, from Merchant & Mills, I thought it was perfect. It features a trio of woven checks in black and natural, with the variation running across the 150cm width of the fabric, with 50cm for each check. This fabric saved me buying three different sized check fabrics as I was able to fit each required pattern piece within the width of each check panel.
The cutting out of this pattern is pretty straightforward. There are seven pattern pieces in total for View A and nine for View B. The difficulty came with my chosen fabric and the variation in the check, as I wanted to ensure that the checks matched as they ran across the garment.
This top is true to its description - boxy! Many of the pattern pieces were either rectangles, or at least had a set of parallel sides. This turned out to really helpful, making it easier to line up the check and pattern pieces, and keep the pattern on the grain.
Included in the pattern instructions are some cute 'print and cut' labels (see image below for examples) that you can use to pin to your fabric as you cut to avoid mixing up your pattern pieces. Some of the pattern pieces are quite similar (e.g. the gathered side panels), so this was a nice helpful addition.
There is probably only one alteration I would make to the pattern if making again. I would cut the gathered side panels on the fold to remove the seam as I don't think this is necessary. Unfortunately I was unable to make this alteration for this version as each panel of checks I was working with was only 50cm wide.
If you are interested there is a simple hack to turn the Collage Gather Top into a dress.
I would describe the Collage Gather Top as a beginner pattern. View A will have you gathering, easing in cuff sleeves and creating and attaching a neck bias binding. View B will also have you gathering, and creating and attaching a neck bias binding, while creating a gathered sleeve and sleeve band.
I went with View A for my version, simply because living in Munich I usually have a jacket with me all year round, and gathered, billowy sleeves become a little tricky to layer.
When it came to sewing this pattern, I was not expecting this top to come together as fast and as easily as it did. To be honest, for me the difficult part had been done (i.e. matching and cutting out the checks). The most time consuming part was the gathering of the side panels. I opted for three rows of basting stitch for the gathers, stitching between the second and third row of stitches, to achieve a more even and controlled gather.
This top is relaxed, boxy, and cropped in length, hitting just below the natural waist. I am more on the shorter side, coming in at approximately 155cm, and found the cropped length perfect for pairing with high waisted garments. However, if you are on the taller side, I would be a little more mindful, and maybe consider lengthening the top.
The oversized design, dropped shoulders and roomy sleeves definitely make it a little more forgiving when it comes to fit than other styles. I made the size XXS, and had I of made the size bigger I think it would still probably manage to look good.
Please get in touch or leave me a comment. I would love to know if you found this article helpful. Maybe I have inspired you to check out the Collage Gather Top pattern, and Matchy Matchy Sewing Club.
Thanks for reading.
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