Friday, 29 August 2014

New Look Bow Belt Tutorial

Just a quickie today to let you know that I've updated one of the most popular posts on the blog, How to Make a Bow Belt, with new text and gorgeous images. The pics I took for the original version of the post back in 2010 were pretty shoddy (cringe), but luckily Arielle shot some gorgeous new ones for the tutorial in my book. Yay! (All the other projects in the book are new, in case you're wondering.) Head on over to take a peek, and share the post with everyone you've ever met.

I'm teaching the bow belt to stitching novices at the Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead next Tuesday as it happens, if you know anyone who wants to learn to sew.

In other sewing school news, thanks for the fantastic response to the workshops at Tilly Towers! I know quite a few people were disappointed not to get a place on Copy Your Clothes, as it sold out in just a few hours. We've had so many emails about it that we're most probably going to run it a couple more times, so if you want to be put on the waiting list for a place, please drop us a line on hello {at} There are a few places left on the other classes if you fancy getting down with some new stitching skillz... just one place left for Sewing Knits: Make a Coco at the time of writing though!

What are you sewing this weekend, please? I'm in two minds about whether to finish my playsuit - it's pretty cold here in London now! I'm not one to stack up UFOs*, but I'm dreaming about snuggly knitwear and Autumnal skirts, so I might have to put it on hold until next Summer...

*Un-Finished Objects

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Workshops at Tilly and the Buttons HQ!

 sewing classes london

Wanna learn a new sewing skill? Fancy doing it in my gorgeous new studio? I'm excited to invite you to a sewing workshop at Tilly and the Buttons HQ!

I've been teaching sewing workshops for a while now (and designing courses professionally for ten years - phew!), and when I got my spacious new studio in South London I realised I could start offering them here too - hooray! As well as equipping you with new skills, the workshops are going to be awesome fun. They will have a friendly atmosphere, in a bright and inspiring studio-with-a-view (you can see the Shard, the Gherkin and the London Eye, as well as lots of trees!). If that wasn't enough, at the end of each workshop we will toast your achievements with a celebratory drink and you'll get a goodie bag to take home with you.

And I didn't want to teach them all myself... we've got some super duper special guest tutors lined up too. Are you sitting down? Zoe Edwards of Me-Made-May and So Zo... fame, and - all the way from Nashville, Tennessee - Lauren Taylor from Lladybird! If you read their blogs you'll know that they are wonderfully inspiring sewing teachers, as well as good for a giggle :)

Here's the list of workshops - click through for the full details of each one...

Saturday 4 October 2014 OR Wednesday 12 November 2014
Teacher: Tilly Walnes

This workshop is perfect for anyone who wants to start using a sewing machine for the first time, or who hasn’t sewn in a while and needs a refresher.
  • How to set up and thread a sewing machine
  • Getting to grips with stitching – tips for straight lines, curves and corners
  • Sew a simple scarf to tie around your head, neck or bag 
  • Tips on getting into sewing – easy project ideas, essential tools and how to choose a sewing machine

Sunday 5 October 2014
Teacher: Tilly Walnes

If you want to start making your own clothes, this workshop offers the perfect introduction with an easy-peasy pyjama bottoms project using the Margot sewing pattern. You’ll need to be able to use a sewing machine first – this is a great follow on class from our Make Friends With a Sewing Machine workshop.
  • How to start using sewing patterns and read their markings 
  • Techniques for cutting out fabric accurately 
  • The basics of clothing construction – including pinning, stitching seams and pressing 
  • How to sew pyjama bottoms, including drawstring and hem

Saturday 4 - Sunday 5 October 2014
Teacher: Tilly Walnes

If you want to start sewing or are in need of a refresher, how about taking a crash course? This weekender combines our Learn to Sew 1 and 2 classes to get you off to a strong start. Spend Saturday afternoon getting to grips with the sewing machine and practising your new skills by stitching a simple scarf. Then on Sunday we'll get stuck into making pyjama bottoms from scratch, teaching you how to start using sewing patterns and constructing basic garments. Just think, on the Saturday morning you will have been a sewing novice, on the Sunday night you’ll be wearing your homemade PJs with pride!

Saturday 25 October 2014
Teacher: Tilly Walnes

If you know how to use a sewing machine, have made a couple of simple projects (such as pyjamas, Miette skirt, cushions or bags), this workshop is the perfect next step into the wonderful world of dressmaking. It’s also great for quilters who are confident using a sewing machine but need a bit of help to start making clothes.
  • Take accurate measurements and understand sewing pattern sizing
  • How to make a cute A-line mini skirt using the Delphine pattern in Love at First Stitch 
  • Constructing a waistband with a facing
  • Techniques for inserting an invisible zip 
  • How to finish seams on your sewing machine using zigzag stitch

Sunday 26 October 2014
Teacher: Zoe Edwards of So Zo...

Do you own a favourite dress or perfect fitting jeans that you just wish you’d bought three of? Then this class is for you! Zoe will show you how to clone your favourite clothes and create a pattern that you can use to sew them again and again… and make them immortal!
  • The principles of creating a sewing pattern from your favourite clothing 
  • How to trace basic garment shapes 
  • Transferring darts, seams lines and other forms of shaping 
  • Replicating pockets and design features 
  • Adding grainlines, notches and other pattern markings

Saturday 8 November 2014
Teacher: Zoe Edwards of So Zo...

This workshop is for you if you know how to use a sewing machine, if you’ve sewn a few projects and want a bit of help to start sewing knit fabric. While it may have a reputation for being scary, sewing with knits really isn’t difficult once you’ve learnt a few tips and tricks. And it’s soooo comfy to wear! We'll start you off using low-stretch knit fabric to make the popular Coco top or dress pattern.
  • How to cut out knit fabric without stretching it out of shape 
  • Tips and tricks for stitching knit fabric on a regular sewing machine 
  • Make your choice of Breton top, dress or sixties funnel neck using the Coco pattern 
  • How to stabilise and finish seams on knit garments

Teacher: Lauren Taylor of

If you have basic machine sewing skills but inserting zips gives you nightmares and stitching buttonholes gets you in a flap, this workshop is the answer to your prayers! We’ll go through techniques, tips and tricks to stitch those fastenings with ease. With one of our favourite sewing bloggers – Lauren of – leading this workshop, you’re guaranteed to have a fun evening as you learn.
  • How to insert an invisible zip 
  • Creating an impressive lapped zip 
  • Tips and techniques for stitching buttonholes - one-step (automatic) or four-step (manual)

Oh and we now do GIFT VOUCHERS! So you can give the gift of sewing... or drop a hint to your friends and family when your birthday is coming up :)

The studio is near West Dulwich and West Norwood stations, less than 10 minutes’ walk from West Dulwich station (12 minutes to Victoria) and West Norwood station (21 minutes to London Bridge), with good bus connections. It's a bright and inspiring space that I'm having a lot of fun settling in to at the moment - I'll give you the full tour very soon. Shout out to Janome for helping me kit out the studio - thank you!

If you've got any questions, take a look at the workshops FAQ as you'll probably find your question is already answered there. But if it's not, fire away. I hope to see you at a workshop soon!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Your Makes!

We're swooning over here at all the gorgeous things everyone has been making with Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns! Here are just a few recent creations...

The Megan dress pattern from Love at First Stitch has proven particularly popular lately. I LOVE the colours of these two versions by Elinor and Jenna.

A couple more Megans that I couldn't resist including. Firstly, Twinkle's, because I love the way she's taken advantage of the empire line seam design to showcase two fabrics. And secondly Isabel's dress, because yay kitties!

Ruth made a really pretty sleeveless version of the Mathilde blouse, with a cute variation at the back - check it out. Anne made THREE Mathilde blouses in quick succession (you can see them all in the maker gallery) - I love the contrast buttons down the back of this one.

beginner sewing book

Lots of people have been making short versions of the Margot pyjamas from Love at First Stitch. These ones by Cathie are ridiculously pretty, non? But they're not just for girls, as Daisy's fella is keen to demonstrate!

I squealed out loud when I saw both these photos! How adorable do Christine and Caitlin look in their mother and daughter matching Cocos?! I wanna go round their house! And Heather Lou shows that she's the style queen yet again in her simple-chic outfit... swoon!

 easy skirt sewing pattern

I love how Kath has styled her pretty version of the Miette skirt... makes me wish Summer would never end. Christine made another maxi version of the Miette skirt, and got so many questions about how she made it that she's created a maxi Miette tutorial for you!

Julie looks so pretty in this simple yellow Delphine skirt, similar to the one I wear on the cover of Love at First Stitch. Chloeti made this lovely Mimi blouse... they'd look great together as an ensemble, non?

Next time I've got a wedding to go to, I'm basically gonna copy Nicola's version of the Lilou dress (again from Love at First Stitch). Sooo pretty. Jacq made it in two different fabrics - I love how this looks! And Shauni looks stunning in her classic red version - solid colours are great for showing off the scalloped neckline and pleat design on the skirt. (Be sure to take a peek at Shauni's collared Megan dress too - cuteness!)

A couple of final things to mention. Firstly, do you remember OWOP? One Week, One Pattern? This was a challenge I set myself a few years ago - and then you a couple of years ago - to wear things you've made from one sewing pattern for seven days in a row. It's like a styling challenge for a wearable garment in your handmade wardrobe. Well, Handmade Jane has taken the reins this year, hosting OWOP over on her blog starting on 6th September. Check out the deets and get involved! If you wear one of my patterns for your OWOP challenge (I'm currently trying to decide between Coco, Miette and Delphine for mine this year), be sure to let me know!

And finally I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to all the amazing people who have reviewed my book on Amazon. I try not to get hung up on things like that but my publisher alerted me to the fact that more than 100 people have taken the time to write a five star review (whaaaat?!). It's so much more than I could have ever imagined and I really really appreciate the fact that you've taken the time to show your support for the book. You guys are the BEST! :)

Plenty more pictures of things people have made with the patterns on Pinterest. If you want to get your own creation included in the maker gallery, tweet me a pic or leave a comment on the blog with a link. I can't wait to see what you've made!

[Soundtrack: 'Pumped Up Kicks' by Foster the People]

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Meet Laura!

Say hello to the newest member of team Tilly and the Buttons - Laura!

Yes, it's official, one has become two, it's not just me working for T&TB any longer, so I can start saying "we" legitimately without it sounding like the royal we, hahaha! Laura started working here part time just last week and is already doing a wonderful job. If you order something from the shop, Laura is the person packing and posting your goodies, and answering any queries you have. She'll also be looking after our wholesale customers, who we have just started working with. So if you know any shops who should be stocking our stuff, let us - and them - know!

Let's hear from Laura herself...

"Hello, I'm Laura! I live locally in Peckham and have just finished a degree in Surface Design, specialising in printed textiles. My current obsessions include Modernist architecture, spending hours on Pinterest and fashion blogs, charity shop splurges, glitter nail varnish and eating doughnuts. I also love anything textile- or screen printing-related, and making my own jewellery.

 Laura's textile work

I am very new to sewing myself and have only made a few things so far. However, during the final year of my degree I really embraced the sewing machine to add construction and dimension to my textiles, eventually making a top and dress for my graduate collection using my own printed and devoré fabric! Part of what appealed to me about working at Tilly and the Buttons was the amazing opportunity it will give me to learn more about dressmaking and to make my own versions of the patterns with some on-hand, expert advice (thanks Tilly!). I am also excited to get to know Tilly's lovely customers and blog readers... and to embrace my passion for organisation!

Nice to meet you!"

It's so great to have Laura here - not only is she great at her job, she's also a lot of fun to have in the studio! In the last few months, I've been working crazy hours just to get through packing orders, dealing with business admin and replying to the mountain of emails. Having Laura's help means that we'll be able to get stuck into working on new projects - ie. lovely sewing goodies to share with you! So watch this space...

I hope you'll make Laura feel welcome!

(Oh yes, and we're working in the new studio now... you'll get the tour soon-ish, and in the meantime you can get a sneaky peek on Instagram...)