Review: Gilbert Top

Happy Wednesday my Loves,

We have made it to the middle of another week so yayyyyy for that!

Today’s post is all the tea about the Gilbert Top by Helen’s Closet. TBH, I don’t have a lot of memade tops in my wardrobe… I really am to blame for that because I have a particular affinity to dresses. The resulting wardrobe gap has me feelin’ sticky so it’s time to fill in the blanks (at least in part). What better way to start than with the Gilbert Top?

Helens Closet Gilbert TopHelens Closet Gilbert Top

Eeeeeevvvvverybody and their mommas done made the Gilbert Top, and after going through the hashtag on Instagram, I thought it would be a welcomed addition to my memade wardrobe.


The Gilbert Top is a button up shirt with a camp collar. View A has a tie front and short sleeves; view B has a regular hem and long bell sleeves. The pattern also includes an optional breast pocket. 

Gilbert Top by Helen’s ClosetGilbert Top by Helen’s Closet

Gilbert Top by Helen’s Closet

The tie front of view A was right up my alley, and I decided to use the sleeves from view B, but with a sliiiiiiiiiiight adjustment. Though cute, I figured the bell sleeve would drive me nuts, probably ending up in my tea or caught in my car door or some shyte, so I added an elastic casing at the sleeve hem. I’m not even sure I should be calling this a hack… but ya know.

Helen classifies this top as an ‘intermediate’ pattern and y’all I definitely agree with her assessment. If you’re gonna make this top, you have to deal with curved facings and ties, do tons of topstitching, attach a collar and grade seams, figure out the burrito method, dabble in some hand sewing, AND conquer buttonholes! so yeah, intermediate.

Gilbert Top.jpgGilbert Top.jpg


The pattern ranges from a size 0-30 and has 2 cup sizes: the ‘standard’ B cup, and a D cup. I was back and forth over the need for a toile. On the one hand, I thought ‘skip it’ because the top is a relaxed fit; on the other hand I wasn’t very familiar with Helen’s block and I generally have ‘fit issues’ at my shoulder area, and with my bust darts. In the end, I decided to toile it, and I’m glad I did. I made a size 12 in the B cup range and did a ½” FBA. Having done that my dart apex was too low so I raised it by 1” and extended it by ¼” on the final make. HOWEVER, I now think I shoulda raised it by ½” because my final dart ended up a little high. You see, I ended up removing ½” length between my shoulder and bust on my front pattern piece only (and overlooked the effect that that adjustment would have on my apex position). This. is. EXACTLY why we do length adjustments first guys!!!! ughhh so g’warn n put da blame pon me!



I used a pink and blue plaid shirting I had leftover in my stash after making a shirt for my bro in September 2019, I think, so now we can be twinsies lol. It’s on my grid if you’re interested! I purchased the fabric on a trip to Santo Domingo, and this makes my Gilbert Top a souvenir lol. Does anyone else collect fabric souvenirs? Tell me I’m not the only one!… I’m listening!

Helen recommends using a fabric that has no obvious right and wrong side (at least for view A), and this plaid fits the bill. On fabrics such as these, I like to mark the ‘right’ side of my cut pattern pieces using washi-tape, just so I don’t get them mixed up. This is particularly helpful if you wanna avoid a two-left-sleeve dilemma… ask. me. how. I. know.

This plaid fabric demanded to be pattern matched and I did give it a decent go. Cutting out the pieces took longer, because each piece was cut on a single layer. I opted to cut the back yoke main on the bias, and the yoke lining with some solid pink fabric leftover from my Naomi Shirt (which you can find on the ‘gram).

Gilbert Top Back view.jpgGilbert Top Back view.jpg

Pressing and topstitching the curved ties and facings can be a little challenging so here’s a tip. Even though the instructions didn’t say it, I serged my facings and the ties before pressing. From my experience, it’s just easier to turn them under when serged… it may just be a figment of my imagination but it works for me. *shrugs* Because the facing is curved, I decided to baste it in place before topstitching. I like topstitching from the main side of the fabric (as you should), because my bobbin stitches are noticeably different. I figured out, a lil too late, that I really shouldn’t have done the basting stitches on this fabric because unpicking them left tiny needle marks in my fabric. Note to self: test on scrap fabric first!

Gilbert Close up.jpgGilbert Close up.jpg

Helen’s instructions were very comprehensive IMO. My one little peeve is about the collar. Some patterns recommend using the interfaced collar piece as the ‘main collar’, others stipulate that the interfaced collar is the ‘facing’. Helen’s instructions contemplate that the ‘interfaced’ side of the collar is the main, but that wasn’t clear (at least to me) until step 17 (at which point you would have already done your topstitching). Luckily for me, I had topstitched the interfaced side. I don’t know if these sort of things matter to you, but just in case they do, remember that the interfaced collar is the main collar and should be facing the public.  

I did prepare the pocket and had all intentions of attaching it to the shirt BUUUUTTTTT the bust dart shattered all my hopes of pattern matching the pocket. It was sooooooo noticeable and just looked like I had made a mistake, so I left it off in the end.

Gilbert top full.jpgGilbert top full.jpg

Overall I’m happy with this make and am already thinking up ways to get significant wear out of it. For its first outing I paired it with navy blue, RTW trousers, but I think it would go nicely with a navy pleated skirt. What says you? 


Thanks for stopping by. Gotta luv ya and leave ya,

Until next time,



5 thoughts on “Review: Gilbert Top

Add yours

  1. Thanks for your review on the Gilbert. I have made this in short sleeves but Im wanting to make a long sleeve version. I LOVE your sleeve hack. Did you alter the sleeve like lengthen it to do this?


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