MN2005 Matilda / Sewalongs

Inspiration & Ideas for the Matilda Dress

Matilda inspiration title card

Our Matilda dress pattern is full of so many beautiful details that you can make as is or tweak to create your dream shirt dress! We’ve been so excited to put together this inspiration post to show you some other beautiful ways you can hack and personalise your Matilda pattern! Let’s take a look at some inspiration & ideas for the Matilda dress!

Sleeveless Matilda inspiration
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The Matilda dress pattern comes with a drop shoulder or sleeved option, but one of the easiest ways to mix up your make is to remove the sleeves altogether! The narrower cut shoulder is a subtle but gorgeous change and with a simple bias facing added to the armscye of the sleeved bodice, like in our sleeveless darling ranges tutorial here, it’s a simple one too!

Adding details to your Matilda
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Matilda is a pattern with so many gorgeous details, the pleated breast pockets, drop shoulder sleeves, collar and stand. You can very easily add your own personality to the pattern by changing or adding some other special elements.

  • Why not change the collar shape to a soft rounded collar, or perhaps remove the collar altogether and use the stand to complete the neckline as a mandarin collar.
  • Add a decorative sleeve tab as a point of difference to add to the utility style.
  • A thick waist tie is a great option for the Matilda dress. You could make it long and tie in a knot or make a fitted belt and buckle.
  • Let’s be honest, we would add embroidery to all of our clothes if we could!! Some delicate stitches on the collar, along with the placket or sleeve bands, would be a lovely detail.

Minimalist Matilda inspiration
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Matilda is one of our most detailed patterns, so many elements go into making the dress look as beautiful as it does! One thing you might like to consider to mix up your Matilda dress is to pull back on some of the details, to make it a little more minimal. By removing the breast pockets and statement pockets you immediately smooth out the front of the dress. You could even take away the collar for a much more minimal neckline.  Of course, the simplest way to make the dress more minimal would be to avoid any topstitching and simply sew the dress in a block colour… easily done!

Longer or shorter Matilda inspiration
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One of our favourite things about the Matilda dress is it’s really the perfect midi skirt. Not too short, not too long it falls perfectly just below the knee. If you’d prefer a shorter skirt, however, it would look super cute in a shorter style. Or, alternatively, add even more volume and length by extending the skirt even longer. We’re covering how to do this in the lengthening & shortening sewalong tutorial, so listen out for that if you’re needing a little help with this adjustment!

Matilda skirt inspiration
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We’ve seen this hack a few times now and gosh we just love it. The pattern really does lend itself to being hacked into a beautiful button-down skirt! We’d recommend looking at the finished garment measurements to choose a size that has a finished waist measurement close to your own waist measurement, as Matilda’s waist does include some ease that you won’t need in a stand-alone skirt. You’ll also need to replace the Matilda waistband with a straight waistband or one that curves the opposite way (as Matilda’s is intended to sit above the waist, not below it). We’re going to be covering this hack in an upcoming tutorial, so if you love the idea of a Matilda skirt but you’re needing a bit of support – help is on the way!


Here’s the full list of Matilda posts and tutorials:

We’d love to see what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNmatilda and @megannielsenpatterns to share what you’ve been working on, and check out what everyone else is up to!

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Don't have the Matilda pattern yet?

Order Matilda today in sizes 0-20 or Curve sizes 14-34!

About Author

Anita is the Operations Manager here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and happily works on multiple areas of the business in any one day! Anita is the first port of call for any of your customer service enquiries, manages daily operations and oversees all pattern production, graphic design, website maintenance, inventory management & drinking all the coffee/eating all the cookies in the cupboard.

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