Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Hot Pink Francoise Dress

I made another Francoise dress! The fabric is a low-stretch medium weight knit with a textured surface - it's a cheapo find I scored ages ago from my local, Simply Fabrics in Brixton. In fact, you might recognise it from one of my favourite Coco tops.

The result is a lot drapier than versions of the dress made in a more structured woven fabric such as gabardine. The knit fabric doesn't hold the shape of the skirt so well - which isn't a bad thing, just a design feature to be aware of when choosing your material. Fabric like this is a good option for the raglan sleeved version as the stretch allows you to move your arms easily. It's a lovely thing to wear if you want to look put together but want to feel comfy at the same time :) I should probably wear a slip to go under this next time - the photos are showing up every lump and seam of my underpinnings, oops!

The stretch in the fabric gives the dress more ease, so I took it in a bit at the sides, and I'm going to have to restitch the zip because it's become a bit loose at the back. I think Emmy left the zip out for her double knit Francoise dress, but I didn't want to risk not getting it over my head!

The collar is made in some leftover fabric from the cream polka dot Francoise dress that features on the pattern cover - yes, the fabric is reversible! I bought it from Goldhawk Road - I'm not sure of the exact consistency, but it feels kinda like a malleable-yet-firm woven double gauze, if that makes any sense.

Next up, I'm tempted to try making the Francoise dress in a soft denim. Maybe with some visible topstitching around the seams? And maybe even a gold denim collar!

What have you been making recently, please?

Friday, 23 January 2015

Your Makes!

It's my favourite time - time to look at some of the gorgeous things you've been making with T&TB patterns recently!

Jo's new favourite blouse is Mimi from Love at First Stitch, sewn in this cute Atelier Brunette fabric. Verity swapped the short pleated-hem sleeves that come with the pattern for longer sleeves - I'm so going to copy this idea!

You can't beat a Breton stripe dress. Heather added the funnel neck option to her second version of the Coco dressChloe is teaming her stripey pocket version with her growing baby bump; and Freya has kept her Coco classic - it looks awesome with those red shoes!

Somehow the Megan dress (pattern also included in Love at First Stitch) looks good on everyone, and this tartan version by Laura is no exception - such a great style for the office. Lou snazzed up the empire waist bodice on her Megan dress with a little faux button placket and bow - cuteness alert!

The Miette skirt pattern is super duper easy to make and looks really cute on - as evidenced by our models with the infectious smiles, Leigh and Erin. I love how they've both styled the skirt, it looks great with a close-fitting jersey top.

Another gorgeous Mimi blouse, this one made by Leigh - such a pretty colour palette. Pauline used a nautical print for her Clemence skirt, and added gingham pockets. Both these projects are included in Love at First Stitch.

I love the classic style of this polka dot Lilou dress (pattern in Love at First Stitch) made by Tiz - if you look carefully, you can see the pleated panels running down the sides. And how adorable is this Star Wars version by Amelie & Atticus? Click through to see the full Vadar Chic look!

Monika made the Mathilde blouse in a drapey navy mystery fabric - the solid colour really shows off the tucks down the front. Katie was inspired by Julie to use a sheer black fabric on the sleeves - soooo elegant.

You can't go wrong with Nani Iro fabric - I love this paint splodge print that Lauren used to make a Delphine skirt. Shauni looks adorable in her monochrome Megan dress - she drafted that collar herself, nice touch! Both these patterns are included in Love at First Stitch.

Jen wore Cocos all week long for OWOP (the 'One Week, One Pattern' challenge). I particularly love the red and stripe design of this one - very Boden, non? Sophie used a chevron fabric for her funnel neck top version of Coco - looks ace!

Catherine made an adorable version of the Francoise dress in green. If you don't know her blog, go check it out, especially if you like sixties styles - you're in for a treat. I literally yelped with delight when I saw this version of Francoise by Sandee - check out those kitty pockets!!

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling so inspired to sew right now! There's loads more inspiration in the Maker Galleries on Pinterest - go see what people have been making. If you've sewn something with a Tilly and the Buttons pattern, send us your best photo for the Maker Gallery - you can tweet us, email us or send us a link through this page (unfortunately I can't pin from Instagram). We can't wait to see!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Cutting Table Hack

Since sharing a tour of the T&TB studio, I’ve had a few questions about my cutting table – so I thought I’d tell you a bit more about it. Calling it a "hack" is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, as you'll see it didn't take much work to convert it from its original function into a cutting table...

I started with the Stenstorp kitchen island, bought from Ikea (of course). I wanted a table high enough for cutting patterns and fabric while standing up - this one is 90cm high, which is perfect for me. FYI the surface is 126cm x 79cm. It's nice and sturdy, with a gorgeous oak top - so great for leaning on - but on the downside it's seriously heavy. I wanted to be able to move it around the studio - we move furniture around when we have workshops on, and I love moving the table to face the amazing city view out the window when I'm working on it. So (with help from my guy) we sawed off the ends of the legs and replaced them with castors. Wheeeee!

The other great thing about this table is that it comes with storage solutions! It has two long shelves down one side, the ideal size for stashing drafting and cutting supplies - pattern blocks, paper rolls and long rulers. The other side has space for a high stool underneath. This is just a plain wooden stool that I painted banana yellow.

I love my cutting table!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Tips for Sewing Sweatshirt Knits

Sweatshirt fabric is lovely and easy to sew with, and will create super snuggly outfits to see you through the winter. My sweatshirt Cocos have quickly become wardrobe staples, and there are some other cute patterns out there that you may like to try – such as Lola by Victory Patterns, Linden from Grainline, and White Russian by Capital Chic Patterns.

Today I’m sharing some tricks I found helpful for sewing with thick sweatshirt material. My starting point is my usual method for sewing knit fabric (as opposed to woven fabric) on a regular sewing machine, so use these tips alongside the tips in the Coco sewing pattern instructions and/or these pointers for sewing knits.

1) Beware shrinkage
Sweatshirt fabrics can shrink quite a bit. I discovered this the hard way! Embarrassing story – my red Coco sweatshirt was originally supposed to be a dress, but the second time I washed it, it became so indecently short I had to re-hem it as a top! So you may want to pre-wash your fabric twice before cutting it out, and also add some length to the hem and sleeves to be on the safe side. For the second (black) version, I lengthened the hemline by about 7cm (3in).

Tips for Sewing Sweatshirt Knits

2) Allow extra fabric for folds
As well as lengthening the hem to allow for shrinkage, if the pattern your using isn’t designed specifically for thick sweatshirt fabric, it’s a good idea to increase the length on any area that involves a fold, since thicker fabric needs extra allowance to fold over itself. I found I needed to add about 7cm (3in) to the depth of the funnel neck piece on Coco, since the fold was so bulky. It’s also a good idea to create a deeper hem allowance so the thick hem doesn’t pop out or sit awkwardly.

3) Ease off on the presser foot pressure
Since sweatshirt fabric can be pretty thick, it helps to reduce the presser foot pressure on your sewing machine so you can get multiple layers under it without too much squidging. Your sewing machine manual will tell you where the presser foot pressure dial is on your model, if it's adjustable.

Tips for Sewing Sweatshirt Knits

4) Adjust the stitch length
I also lengthened the stitch length slightly from my usual 2.2mm to 2.6mm, and lowered the thread tension slightly, again to avoid too much squidgeage (technical term) of the thick fabric under the stitches. (You can sew with straight stitch on the vertical seams and zigzag stitch on the horizontal seams as usual.)

5) Go easy on the iron
Not so much a must, just a time-saving tip ;) The good news is that I found I didn't need to use my iron much between stitching. Don’t tell me off! Finger pressing was enough to fold most of the seams down neatly enough before the next bit of stitching, and I just gave everything a good press at the end. Hooray!

Tips for Sewing Sweatshirt Knits

Do you have tips of your own for sewing with sweatshirt knits? Do share!