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...


LEARN TO SEW 1: MAKE FRIENDS WITH A SEWING MACHINE
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

SEWING KNITS: MAKE A COCO TOP OR DRESS
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


SEWING SKILLS: ZIPS + BUTTONHOLES
Teacher: Lauren Taylor of Lladybird.com

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 Lladybird.com – 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...)

Friday, 15 August 2014

Latest Obsession... Modern Sewciety Podcast!


You guys, I'm obsessed. Obsessed with something you should really know about if you're into sewing of any kind - the Modern Sewciety Podcast. Have you listened to it yet? Are you hooked on it too?

I first found out about the Modern Sewciety Podcast a few weeks ago when Jen and Kelli were featured and mentioned it on their blogs. I began listening to the episodes while packing orders and cutting fabric, and very soon I was addicted! The show features inspiring people working in sewing - from fabric brands to pattern designers to bloggers and others. It's hosted by a lovely lady called Stephanie who is just SO adorable - not only because of her lovely accent, but what really comes across is her generosity of spirit and the fact that she is so genuinely excited to talk to people who are in the wonderful world of sewing. It's kinda like listening to two friends having a chat, but you also get to hear about the really interesting work that goes on behind the scenes at various companies. This is something that I love to hear because running a (very) small business can be lonely sometimes so it's great to hear how others handle the highs, lows and everything in between. But even if sewing is simply a for-fun activity for you, it's a really nice listen.

Since I knew you guys would be interested in the podcast, so I turned the tables on interviewer Stephanie and asked her to answer a few questions herself...


Hi Stephanie! How would you describe Modern Sewciety to people who haven't listened to it before? Can you sum it up in a tweet?

"ModernSewciety, a weekly podcast, with host Stephanie chatting about all things fabric, sewing, inspiration with creatives in the industry. —— that was so hard!!! lol"

Tell us how you got started with the podcasts…

"My husband started listening to podcasts long before me and kept suggesting I try to find one about sewing. I searched and found some great ones. I really found I enjoyed the podcasts that were chatty and allowed you to get to know the guests in a relaxed way. I knew I would love to “meet” some of the creatives in the sewing industry and hear their stories about how they got started sewing, what inspires them, and pretend like we were BFFs! I am not really shy when it comes to talking to others so I thought why not give it a try and so Modern Sewciety was born. I blindly emailed a lot of creatives in the industry that I had followed for a long time to ask them to come on the show and, well, so many said yes. I still can’t believe the awesome people I have had the opportunity to chat with."

How did your own love of sewing begin?

"My grandmother and mother sewed when I was little. They never really sat down and taught me but I always loved watching them. When I was in college I tried to make a baby blanket for a friend who had just had a little girl. Let’s just say it wasn’t an awesome gift but I really loved trying to make it. Many years later I had my first child and my husband gave me some 'fun' money to spend (he had gotten a bonus) and I bought myself a sewing machine. I didn’t know much but read a lot of blogs and tutorials, and the rest is history. I now can’t live without sewing something all of the time."

You've interviewed so many inspiring people for the podcast. Was there one interview or interviewee that stood out in particular for you? Or as you would say, can you choose a favourite child?!

"Ha a favorite child… this is hard! I will say that some of the first guests I had on were my favorite. They gave me a chance and came on the podcast when I didn’t know what I was doing. Heck I still don’t! They were all so nice to me and would chat after recording about the podcast, make suggestions, help me with contacts, and that really helped open doors for me. Without them I don’t think the podcast would be what it is today."



If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?

"Well I have to say I love interviewing everyone. I know. I know it is corny but everyone has a story! I really enjoy having others on to share their story. I think it is inspiring to hear someone chat about who they are, their passions, and most importantly how much they love sewing. I really connect with others by hearing their voice and laugh and I have found that once I start chatting with someone they forget we are recording and then it is just a chat between friends. It is real life and well I love the realness of it."

Apart from Modern Sewciety, which is obviously the best sewing podcast in the world, do you have any recommendations for other podcasts that we might like - related to the world of sewing, craft and/or crafty businesses?

"I really have a lot of non-sewing podcasts I listen to like This American Life, The Moth, After the Jump (which is Design Sponge’s Grace Bonney), How they Blog the podcast, 99% invisible, Smart Passive Income! lol okay that will get you started! And for sewing-related, I listen to Katie’s Quilting Corner, APQ radio, and I am sure their are more I am forgetting."

What would be your top tips for anyone thinking about making a podcast themselves?

"I say research. I researched podcasting for a long time before I started mine. I really think Pat Flynn does an amazing job with his podcasting tutorials. Hey Pat!"

Do you have anything exciting up your sleeve for Modern Sewciety that you can tell us about?

"I really would like to go to Quilt Market in the Fall and maybe Quiltcon. I am a stay at home mom so I rely on sponsors and listener pledges (find more about that on the support page of Modern Sewicety) to make all of those things possible. I hope to continue to make the podcast more professional and also do more on location shows."


Thanks so much for making these podcasts, Stephanie - I love them!

Readers, if you fancy dipping into the Modern Sewciety podcasts, take a look at the episodes on offer. And if you like it, you might also like my A Day in the Life interviews too!