12 November 2014

Introducing the Francoise sewing pattern!

easy dress sewing pattern


Say hello to our new sewing pattern – the Francoise dress!

Francoise is a chic yet easy-to-wear mini shift dress. The design is inspired by sixties mod fashion, which just so happens to be all over the catwalk this season... and always in style in my book :)


The dress is shaped at the bust, with curve-skimming diagonal French darts and an A-line skirt meaning you can look gorgeous and have freedom of movement to run for the bus at the same time. Designed for woven fabrics, the dress closes at the back with an invisible zip. Choose from two-piece raglan sleeves, or a sleeveless raglan yoke with armholes finished with bias binding made from the pattern. The pattern includes an optional flat collar and waist tab, so you can make multiple versions of the dress in different styles.

I designed this pattern to be a great first dress project for beginner stitchers. The flat construction method on the raglan sleeves is much easier to sew than setting in sleeves at the shoulder, and there is no gathering or other fiddly bits to grapple with.

More experienced stitchers can have fun with variations. For example, the sleeves or yoke would look great in a contrast fabric, the collar is screaming out for embellishment, or how about inserting piping into the seam?  I’ll be sharing some ideas on the blog to make it your own, and I’d can't wait to see what designs you come up with.

easy dress sewing pattern

This a real year-round, dual-hemisphere pattern. The three-quarter length sleeve option is great for looking chic while keeping warm in winter (Christmas party dress, anyone?), and the sleeveless version will see you through spring and summer. I’ve been layering the sleeveless versions over stripey tops these past few weeks, and am eager to wear it over a collared blouse too.

As for what fabrics to make Francoise in, I’d suggest a medium weight woven cotton, sateen or light twill, preferably with a bit of stretch if you’re making the sleeves; double crepe; linen or double knit. The sleeveless version would also be great in gabardine, quilting weight cotton, light wool or brocade (they might restrict your movement a bit in the sleeved version). I experimented with sewing this in a light, drapey viscose and it looked okay, but it's much more striking in a fabric with body that will hold the shape of the skirt.

easy dress sewing pattern


Order the printed pattern and we’ll send you a gorgeous package in the post. If you haven’t seen one of our printed patterns before, let me tell you a bit about them. The printed pattern comes with a delightful booklet featuring jargon-busting instructions and photos of the steps, so you can see what to do at each stage of the make. The pattern sheets themselves are clearly labelled to show you which seams go together and what all the markings mean. They are printed in the UK on durable paper that you can use and re-use without tearing, and that you can fold up and get back in the envelope neatly without that annoying scrunching that you get with tissue. Hooray!

If you prefer to print your own pattern at home, you can order the digital version. You'll get a tiled version of the pattern to print and assemble yourself - the pattern prints on 29 sheets of A4 or US Letter paper (or just print pp.1-26 if you’re making the sleeveless version). You'll also get a full colour instruction booklet which you can print at home or simply read on your computer or tablet.

All patterns are multi-sized, with eight sizes included – you can see the full size chart plus other details such as yardage and a supplies list in the shop.

easy dress sewing pattern

Wanna make the dress together? Over the next 3 weeks we’re going to have a sewalong on the blog, offering extra tips on everything from fitting the dress to inserting an invisible zip, and some design ideas to boot. And there’s going to be prizes! Amazing prizes! I’ll tell you all about the sewalong contest tomorrow, so watch this space.

What I can tell you right now is that I’m delighted that Tilly and the Buttons is partnering with my favourite sewing machine brand Janome to bring you more sewing patterns over the coming year. And yes, that may just be a clue as to what one of the sewalong prizes is...

Hopefully that’s enough info to be getting on with! Laura and I are sitting here with coffee and squidgy envelopes at the ready, so go forth and order your Francoise pattern!

[Soundtrack: 'Le Temps de l'amour' by Francoise Hardy]

56 comments:

  1. Ah it'd gorgeous I'm ordering it now!! Can't wait to make ten!

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    1. Yay! Can't wait to see your ten Francoise dresses ;)

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  2. Omg so excited! I love love love it. The photos are adorable too! Now, can I wait until payday...?

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  3. I can't even tell you how excited I was to see this post pop up in my blog feed! Ordering right now, and must resist the temptation to buy ALL the fabric. Thank you! xxx

    Lizzy (http://www.songofthestitch.com)

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  4. Tilly, this is really cute! And I love how the darts and raglan sleeves make it different than just a plain ol' shift dress (those usually aren't my piece of cake, but this one is obviously much more fitted and arghhh do want). So many options for embellishment! I think I just figured out what one of my London souvenirs will be :) Good thing it's a nice, small, flat package! :)

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    1. I'm so glad you like it, Lauren. The shaping of the dress is flattering without feeling constrictive. Yes, leave a space in your suitcase!

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  5. This bad boy's going straight on my Christmas list! Love it.

    www.halfway-home.co.uk

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  6. Ahh! Why must you tempt me to spend more on sewing when my budget is already blown?! :) x

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  7. this is GORGEOUS. i can't tell you how much i love the raglan sleeved version - can i ask where you got the fabric? :)

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    1. I got the polka dot fabric from Goldhawk Road. I'm not sure of the exact consistency but it's almost like a double gauze with more body, if that makes sense.

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  8. Very cute dress! Congratulations, Tilly!
    I want to make the version with raglan sleeves. Can I use medium weight interlock knit with very little stretch for this dress? What is the minimum stretch percentage that you recommend, so the dress is not too tight in the sleeve area?
    What minimum stretch percentage do you recommend for Coco dress? Can it be made with interlock knit with little stretch?
    Thanks!

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    1. Yes! How much stretch do I need for the sleeved version?

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    2. The pattern is designed for woven fabrics so includes ease, but a tiny bit of stretch in the version with sleeves will make the raglan style less constrictive when you raise your arms - something like this would be perfect.

      Yes, a medium weight interlock would work nicely on the sleeves, although be aware that it'll mean the skirt hangs a bit more loosely as the knit won't hold the A-line shape so well - not that that's a problem, it'll just produce a slightly different silhouette to making it in a woven fabric with body.

      Yes, Coco can be made with interlock knit. Personally I'd go for the lowest amount of stretch you can find in a knit fabric. Even just the teeniest bit of stretch is enough for Coco :)

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  9. Love the way you can adapt this for summer or winter depending on fabric and sleeves or no sleeves, seeing as how it's getting very cold here now! Also love the other variations with the collar and tab. I was so excited to get the email announcing this new Tilly and the Buttons pattern! I have all your patterns and book!

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  10. This is adorable! I've been looking for a pattern like it since I found an A-line shift in a store that I loved but that just didn't fit perfectly. I can't wait to make a bunch of them!

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  11. What a cute new dress, definitely going on my pattern wish list!

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  12. Congratulations, Tilly. It looks like another winner. Love both variations. X

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  13. Congratulations on another great looking new pattern.
    BTW - I know it's old news now, but down here in New Zealand I have been watching the first Great British Sewing Bee contest on TV, and you too of course Tilly. You have certainly gone from strength to strength since your TV debut - good on you. I believe the second series of this show has been filmed?

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    1. Thank you, Jenny. That seems like a loooong time ago now! The third series has already been made over here, and we've even had a celebrity special!

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  14. This is so cute. I can see this in lots of variations. I like the cut, it's very wearable and flattering around the hips. Can't wait to see francoise dresses popping up on the blogsphere.

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  15. I love this! I think my favourite is the way that you've done the sleeveless/sleeved thing. I hate fiddling around with patterns to change them from sleeved to sleeveless, and my pet peeve is patterns that have a sleeved AND a non-sleeved version where the only difference is that you leave off the sleeve. This means that the shoulder seam always ends in the wrong place...it's too far over on the sleeveless version, or not far enough over on the sleeved. What a brilliant solution to have raglan sleeves, so that the sleeveless version still has a 'sleeve' piece! Thanks!

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    1. Haha yes I know exactly what you mean!

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  16. This dress is so cute! I love raglan sleeves and the detail is super cute on the sleeveless version.

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  17. Thank you for designing a shift dress with enough shaping to be flattering! I enjoyed testing this beauty so much and I can't wait to get stuck in with many more versions...I have so many exciting variations swimming around in my head!

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    1. Yay! I knew Francoise would look great on you, Marie x

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  18. I'm usually terrified of shift dresses because I've never found them flattering on me. This one is so beautiful I need it! I love the shape, it's gorgeous and has enough flare to give it some shape. It's perfect.

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  19. I am so blown away by the design genuis behind having french darts AND bust darts. It's seriously so cute I might die.

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  20. Love it!!! I have some quilting cotton ready to go!
    xxx

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  21. Hi Tilly, how cute.. the darts look great.. I have been wanting to try this version ever since I saw the British sewing bee hairy bikers version. Yours will give a better fit with a bust dart as well. Love both your versions. They look super cute.

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    1. Omigawd I yelped when I saw that, as I'd been working on this for months and was so close to releasing it!!

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  22. Tilly Tilly Tilly!
    oh my gosh...being a huge fan of everything sixties I love it...do you include 'more spare time' free with this pattern cos I need a bit more to be able to sew this asap????
    You have another hit on your hands....Huge Congrats you talented girl!
    bestest daisy j x
    ordering it now...xx

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  23. Oh, I love the 3/4 sleeve version! I feel like there is a lack of cute dresses with nice long sleeves like that out there. Lovely and practical design!

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  24. I'm going to have a go as I've only had 3 clothes making experiences so far... Is it possible to use quilting cotton for the body but to add sleeves with a knit, or is that just crazy talk?

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    1. My guess is that it might cause a bit of distortion at the seam joining the knit and woven fabric, but I've never tried it!

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  25. Totally love this dress. Can it be lengthened and still look nice? I prefer for my dresses and skirts to be just above the knee.

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    1. Did you provide a lengthening line?

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    2. Yes of course! There are two lengthen/shorten lines so you can choose whether to lengthen the bodice and/or the skirt part.

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  26. LOVE this pattern! It's so, so, so adorable. I'd love to make a version for my work wardrobe and one for the holidays!

    http://thegeekyseamstress.com

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  27. Could I use a cord fabric for the sleeveless version?

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    1. I haven't tried it, but my guess is that lighter weight corduroy would be okay, you'd just need to take care with the darts so they don't end up a bit pointy around the boobs!

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    1. I hope you like it, Catherine - I was thinking about you when I designed this!

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  29. Tilly! You don't know how long I've been looking for a cute shift dress that doesn't make me look like I'm wearing a sack. I love that it's raglan sleeves, but up have the option of it being sleeveless. Genius! I've been wanting to do that on my belcarra tops. I'm going to order it as soon as I can, and I can't wait to make it up!

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  30. HI Tilly,
    I just ordered the paper copy of this pattern. Love it so much and already have your book and love it! I was hoping you could tell me how much fabric is needed to make the dress.
    Thank you for inspiring me to sew.

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    1. Yay! You'll need 1.8m x 150cm wide (2 yards x 60in) OR 2.4m x 115cm wide (2 5/8 yards x 45in) for the version with sleeves and collar, or 1.5m x 150cm wide (1 5/8 yards x 60in) OR 1.7m x 115cm wide (1 7/8 yards x 45in) for the sleeveless version without collar.

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  31. I'd already decided I wouldn't buy any new patterns this year and then I saw Francoise...It's absolutely adorable, well done Tilly. I'll be sure to follow the sew along.

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  32. Can I make this out of flannel? So excited about this pattern!

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  33. Hi, Tilly. Do you have an adjustment for a nursing mom? I really want this pattern. Thanks!

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  34. This is a very versatile little dress, I would probably make it just a bit longer though.

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