26 August 2015

Making the Time to Sew


Do you ever catch yourself saying or thinking, "I don't have time to sew"? Yeah, me too sometimes. Our lives are getting busier and busier, while sewing is a slow activity, requiring patience and a significant chunk of time to dedicate to it. And that slowness is precisely why we should be making time to stop rushing around and get into the meditative flow of creating.

In my latest column for Simply Sewing magazine, I talk about some of my tips for getting sewing done, even when you feel rushed off your feet. It's a topic I've talked about before, in my book and on the blog (such as this post on sewing in short bursts), and one I think is worth revisiting as "not having time" is an excuse that most of us make occasionally.


One of the things I mention in the column is my new morning routine. Inspired by an interview with Hal Elrod on the Smart Passive Income podcast (more fun than it sounds!), I've started being intentional about how I use the first hour my day, before getting sucked into the never-ending vortex of work and emails. I get up at 6.30am, have breakfast, then sit at my sewing table for 15 - 20 minutes or so. I'll admit I don't manage to do the sewing part every day, but I'm trying to make it a habit - and it feels good :)

Even if all I do in that time is set in a couple of sleeves, I feel satisfied at making progress on a project. Moreover, I've got in some enriching creative time - just for me (no I'm not going to say "me time"!) - before the day has properly begun. And just taking that small step gives me the motivation to return to the sewing table as soon as I can. It's addictive!

Do you have an early morning routine involving sewing?



Also - are you coming to the Handmade Fair? I had such a nice time there last year, as did everyone I spoke to who went. We'll be there all weekend on stand E4 in the East Shopping Village. Come along to browse our sewing patterns and chat to us about your projects. You can also enter our prize draw in partnership with Janome to win a DKS100 sewing machine worth £499 - the lovely turquoise ones we use in our studio. And we will love you forever if you wear something you've made with a Tilly and the Buttons pattern!

The Handmade Fair runs from 18th - 20th September 2015 in the gorgeous grounds of Hampton Court Palace. You can get your ticket here, and if you use the code ‘EXM27’ at checkout I believe you get £2 off. The ticket price includes access to a certain number of talks and workshops - check the website for the full deets.

Hope to see you there!

21 August 2015

Hiring an Office Manager

Know someone who's super organised, a natural problem-solver and addicted to spreadsheets?

We're looking for an Office Manager to join the Tilly and the Buttons team. This is a full time or 4 days per week role (spread over 5 days) based in our South London studio. If you or someone you know may be interested, take a look at the job description

19 August 2015

Tips for Making a Jersey Bettine Dress

Jersey Bettine dress - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons
As promised, here's my report on and tips for making the Bettine sewing pattern in jersey fabric.

Why would you make a Bettine dress in jersey?

First of all, there's the comfort factor. The Bettine dress is a relaxed fit dress designed with comfort in mind. Making it in jersey cranks the comfort factor up to eleven. This is literally the comfiest thing I've ever worn! A jersey Bettine is perfect for travelling in comfort and style, lounging around in comfort and style, going to the office in comfort and style... Can you tell I like it? ;)

Jersey Bettine dress - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons
Jersey Bettine dress - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons
Jersey Bettine dress - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

The second reason to make a Bettine dress in jersey is because it suits the design of the dress. Patterns designed for stretchy fabrics are usually drafted differently from patterns designed for woven fabrics. The stretch in jersey usually changes the amount of ease needed in the pattern, and how it hangs and fits on the body. However, as the Bettine pattern has a relaxed, drapey fit rather than close fit, and as the shaping is created by an elasticated waist channel rather than darts or princess seams, it can be cut out in jersey with no changes to the main pattern pieces. Hooray! I made my jersey Bettine dresses in exactly the same size as I usually would. (And if you do find that your usual size feels big in jersey, you could simply take it in a bit at the side seams.)

So what changes do you need to make for jersey?

Jersey Bettine dress - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

1) Avoid the pockets

First of all, I would avoid making the pocket version in jersey. I haven't actually tried it so feel free to prove me wrong, but my hunch is that the pockets would look a bit droopy in stretchy fabric. Better stick to the plain skirt version. It's quicker anyway!

Jersey Bettine dress - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

2) Finish the neckline with a neckband

Secondly, I'd recommend replacing the neckline facing with a simple neckband - this will be less bulky, it won't try to pop out like a facing might in jersey, and it will pull in the neckline slightly so it doesn't gape in the stretchy fabric.

To make the neckband pattern, draw a rectangle to the following dimensions, depending on which size you're making:

Size 1 - 29.5cm (11 1/2in) x 5cm (2in)
Size 2 - 30cm (11 3/4in) x 5cm (2in)
Size 3 - 30.5cm (12in) x 5cm (2in)
Size 4 - 31cm (12 1/4in) x 5cm (2in)
Size 5 - 31.5cm (12 1/2in) x 5cm (2in)
Size 6 - 32cm (12 1/2in) x 5cm (2in)
Size 7 - 32.5cm (12 3/4in) x 5cm (2in)
Size 8 - 33cm (13in) x 5cm (2in)

Draw a "place on fold" arrow on one short side of the rectangle. This is your neckband pattern piece - fold your jersey lengthways and cut a double piece of fabric on the fold using this piece as a template.

Sewing a jersey neckband - Tilly and the Buttons

Sew the front and back bodice pieces together at the shoulders as normal, but don't staystitch the neckline. The steps for attaching the neckband are the same as for the Agnes top, so I'm borrowing the pictures from the Agnes sewing pattern instructions. Narrow zigzag stitch or overlock (serge) together the short edges, right sides together, to form a loop. Trim and press the seam allowances open or to one side. Fold the neckband in half lengthways, wrong sides together and press.

Sewing a jersey neckband - Tilly and the Buttons

Pin the raw edges of the neckband to the right side of the bodice neckline, aligning the seam line on the neckband with one of the shoulder seams. The neckband is slightly smaller than the neckline so it pulls in the jersey and stops it gaping, so you'll need to stretch the neckband slightly as you pin it. Keep the amount of stretch even and try not to stretch the bodice itself.

Sewing a jersey neckband - Tilly and the Buttons

Tack (baste) the neckband to the bodice neckline 10mm (3/8in) from the raw edges, gently stretching the neckband to fit. Depending on how stretchy your fabric is, you may find the neckline looks a bit gapey - in which case, unpick it, trim the neckband down and try again.

Once you're happy with the neckband, narrow zigzag stitch or overlock it to the bodice neckline using a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance.

Sewing a jersey neckband - Tilly and the Buttons

Trim the seam allowances and press them to the inside of the bodice, pressing the neckband away from the bodice. With the bodice right side up, zigzag topstitch (or twin needle topstitch) the seam allowances to the bodice, close to the seam line, to keep them in place on the inside. Give the neckline a good press - steam can help neaten it up :)

3) Brush up on your jersey sewing skills


Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online workshop from Tilly and the Buttons

Thirdly (and obviously), sew the dress as you would normally sew something in jersey. Use a stretch or ballpoint or stretch needle, use a walking foot or dual feed foot on your regular sewing machine if you have one (not essential but recommended), sew the seams with a narrow zigzag stitch or an overlocker (serger), hem the dress with a wide zigzag or twin needle...

If you're new to sewing jersey or need some extra help, take a look at our online video workshop, Learn to Sew Jersey Tops, which will walk you through my no-fuss approach to sewing jersey on a regular sewing machine (you don't need an overlocker or serger), including tips on how to apply a neat-looking neckband.

4) Consider making a Bettine t-shirt!

And finally, as I was sewing together the Bettine bodice, I realised that if you lengthen the bodice pattern pieces - maybe by 20-25cm (8-10in) - you could make a super simple kimono sleeve jersey t-shirt. Knowing how quick this pattern is to sew already, the t-shirt version would probably only take about five minutes to make!! Ooh and wouldn't it'd be cute with the little cuff tabs and buttons?

If you make your own jersey Bettine dress - or any dress for that matter - don't forget to tag us in and use the hashtag #SewingBettine on Instagram or Twitter, or simply email us so we can see it and share it on the Maker Gallery. Can't wait to see!

PS. We've had quite a few emails and social media comments recently from people disappointed that our sewing patterns aren't stocked in a particular shop or country. While we ship patterns from our own shop worldwide, we are always working hard behind the scenes to expand our list of stockists, both in the UK and internationally. If your favourite shops don't stock our patterns, please please please ask them to! We'd really appreciate your help in spreading the word and letting shops know that their customers are interested in buying our patterns from them - it really does make a difference. Thank you so much! :)

12 August 2015

Your Makes from the Summer Sewing Instaspam Party!

Thank you SO much to everyone who joined the Summer Sewing Instaspam Party on Sunday! It was awesome to see the creativity that you've brought to your Bettine dresses and Fifi camisole and shorts sets, and lovely to see makers making friends with other makers. In case you missed it, here are just a few of the gorgeous creations that were shared on Instagram that day...



First up, I'm in love with Clare's third Bettine dress, this one with watermelon print. WANT!!


Elle chose a Red Riding Hood theme fabric and set up a photo shoot to match. Amazing!



I'm a sucker for the Bettine dress in chambray - and Elena's version looks stunning on her.



Nina chose a silk she bought in Vietnam for her Fifi set. Turn on the air conditioning, this lady's looking hot!



This is Rosie's first dress - isn't it gorgeous? The drapey fabric works perfectly with the breezy style of the dress. Good work, lady!


These two Fifi sets caught my eye for their cute prints. I love the colours in Kate's fabric choice. And Miushkamiushka has made me realise how much I need ice cream print PJs in my life!



Speaking of cute prints, Sara's Bettine dress has geese on it - adorable!


Jude took the final step in the Bettine pattern instructions - "Crack open the prosecco" - literally. Good on you, girl!



Last but not least, Kyema really pushed the boat out - not only is her Fifi set absolutely gorgeous, she even made 'Sewing Fifi' bunting for the occasion. Wow!!

As a little thank you for taking part, we're going to send a sewing pattern of their choice to each of the ten people featured in this post. If you're one of them, you should hear from us soon, or you can email Laura to tell her which pattern you'd like - take a look at our sewing patterns in our shop.

There's plenty more inspiration for making the Bettine dress and Fifi set in the maker galleries on Pinterest. Huge thanks to everyone who took part for all the sewing inspiration!

9 August 2015

New Workshop Dates

Thinking about brushing up your sewing skills in the next few months? We've scheduled a bunch of new workshops at our lovely South London studio...

Sewing classes in London - Learn to Sew

Make Friends with a Sewing Machine
Tues 8 September 2015 (evening) or Sat 26 September 2015 (afternoon)
For absolute beginners or people who need a refresher, this class will help you get to grips with setting up and threading the sewing machine, and teach you basic stitching skills. You'll go home with a pretty head scarf that you've made yourself!

Make Pyjamas
The perfect follow up class for people who can use a machine and want to get stuck into making stuff, this class will get you started with sewing patterns and take you through the steps for making a pair of pyjama bottoms. You'll get a free copy of my award-winning book, Love at First Stitch (or if you've already got it, bring it along and we'll give you a pattern of your choice instead).

Learn to Sew Weekender
Fancy doing both classes above? Get a bundle discount by booking the weekender. Come along on the Saturday afternoon with no sewing experience, and by Sunday evening you'll be wearing PJs that you've made yourself!

Sewing classes in London - Learn to Sew

Bettine Dress
Sat 22 August 2015
If you've made a couple of simple projects before and now want to sew your first dress, this is the class for you! You'll learn to make our bestselling pattern, the Bettine dress - an easy-peasy throw-it-over-your-head dress with kimono sleeves and elasticated waistband. You'll get a copy of the pattern to take away with you (or if you've already got it, bring it with you and we'll give you another pattern of your choice instead).

Make a Skirt
Sat 31 October 2015
This class is another great one for people who've made one or two basic things (such as pyjamas or a bag) and want to start making clothes. You'll learn to cut and sew a cute A-line Delphine skirt, including making a waistband and inserting an invisible zip (yes, you can!). We'll give you a copy of my book, Love at First Stitch (or if you've already got it, bring it along and we'll give you a pattern of your choice instead).

Sewing classes in London - Learn to Sew

Copy Your Clothes
Sun 13 September 2015
Wish you could find a pair of trousers that fit you as well as that one pair in your wardrobe? Got a favourite dress you wish you had five of? Bring them along to this class and Zoe will show you how to make patterns from your beloved clothes, so you can make as many as you like!

Sewing Knits: Make a Coco
Sat 17 October 2015
If you want some help starting to sew (low stretch) knit fabric, this class will take you through making the super popular Coco top or dress on a regular sewing machine. There's only one place left on this class at the time of writing, FYI!

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online workshop
Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online workshop

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops
Can't make it to London? Sign up for our online video workshop! In the course, I show you my no-fuss approach to sewing jersey on a regular sewing machine - no overlocker or serger required. I'll take you through the steps to making the Agnes top (the PDF version of the pattern is included in the course materials), a wardrobe staple with loads of variations. You can take the workshop from the comfort of your own home, whenever it suits you, and you can watch and rewatch the lessons as often as you like.

The online workshop has been getting great feedback from participants, for example, this is what Claire said:

"Tilly's workshop on sewing with jersey was clear, informative and engaging. She breaks the process down into easy-to-follow steps - and anticipates all the issues that you'll have when sewing with jersey on a standard machine. Materials, techniques, and tips are all covered in short, well-presented videos. I am really pleased with the results - a very wearable top which fits me perfectly, produced in a few enjoyable hours."

Thanks, Claire! Watch the trailer and sign up here.

*****

At the time of writing, there are places available on all these dates, but if the workshop you want to do is sold out by the time you read this, and if you're desperate to do it, do drop us a line and we'll put you on the waiting list. The waiting list helps us decide which workshops to repeat on another date :)

Find out more details of all our workshops and what you'll learn. Looking forward to welcoming you to T+TB HQ!

7 August 2015

It's Like Wearing a Quilt!

Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

Let's face it, it was only a matter of time before I made a Bettine dress in stripes. This beauty of a fabric has been sitting patiently in my stash for years now, waiting for the right project to come along. It's a soft double gauze that I found a while back on Etsy (alas I can't remember the name of the seller - sorry!).

Wearing this dress feels a bit like wearing a quilt - in a good way, naturally. Double gauze, as the name would suggest, is formed of two layers of fine cotton gauze, trapping a teeny bit of air in between. The result is breathable yet snuggly - a winning combination!

Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

Because it's not that drapey, double gauze is one of those fabrics that holds the kimono sleeve shape - with loose fabric at the underarms - more clearly than a drapier fabric would. It's what I would categorise as a "modern-utilitarian" Bettine, similar to how it looks in chambray, as opposed to a floaty-feminine one in something like a viscose or poly crêpe de chine - like my sunglasses print Bettine - in which the fabric at the underarms would fall in softer folds. You can see more of what I'm talking about in this post on fabric ideas for sewing Bettine.

Japanese manufacturers seem to have a particular penchant for making double gauze (anyone know why?), so you can find it in some beautiful designs. Fabric HQHart's FabricBackstitch and Guthrie & Ghani all have some lovely pieces in at the moment.

Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

I cut the pocket bags and pocket facings with the stripes running vertically instead of horizontally - I love the finished effect. When you wear the dress with your arms down, the kimono sleeve design makes it look like the stripes on the sleeves are running vertically too. If you're making a stripey Bettine of your own, you could also try cutting the stripes horizontally on the bodice and vertically on the skirt.

Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

I bought the same fabric in a blue and red stripe too, and made some Margot pyjama bottoms in it - you can see it in my book, on the page about adding a patch pocket. As it's so soft and snuggly, double gauze makes a great choice of fabric for pyjamas - the Fifi sewing pattern is too delicate for double gauze but it makes a great pair of Margot PJs.

I've made seven Bettine dresses for myself so far, and this is definitely one of my favourites. It's one of those dresses I'm worried about wearing too much as I don't want it to fade or shrink in the wash or whatever it might one day!

For those of you who saw a work-in-progress snap on Instagram of my jersey Bettine dress, omigawd I love it.. I'll post a full report soon, including changes to make for sewing the pattern in a stretchy knit fabric.

Bettine dress in stripey double gauze - pattern by Tilly and the ButtonsDon't forget - we're having a Summer Sewing Instaspam Party this coming Sunday 9 August 2015. Post a pic of your Bettine dress or Fifi set to Instagram or Twitter anytime on Sunday, using the hashtags #sewing and either #SewingBettine or #SewingFifi so we can see it. Search the hashtags to find others at the party, get some sewing inspiration, like their posts, make new sewing friends, and let's have a big love in :) Can't wait to see you at the party!

5 August 2015

Easing Curves: Sewing the Fifi Cup to the Bodice

Fifi camisole sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

If you're making the Fifi sewing pattern, you'll find that the instructions walk you through lots of techniques, such as sewing on the bias and creating narrow French seams. There is one other thing that I expect some stitchers may find confusing or fiddly though - attaching the camisole cup to the front bodice. In fact, you might find this causes a bit of head scratching any time you make anything where you're attaching a convex curve to a concave curve. So let's talk about that in a bit more detail...

Easing curves: Sewing the Fifi cup to the bodice

If you lay the camisole cup next to the front bodice, at first glance it looks like the cup seam (a convex curve) is too long for the bodice seam (a concave curve) that it's being attached to - even after you've sewn the pleats and hemmed the neckline. (I'm always getting "convex" and "concave" mixed up so please do correct me if I am using the terms the wrong way round!)

Easing curves: Sewing the Fifi cup to the bodice

The raw edges are different lengths. But what you're really joining together are the stitching lines, 15mm (5/8in) inside the raw edges. If you overlap the pieces 30mm (1 1/4in) to account for both seam allowances, lining up the neckline with the inner corner at centre front, you'll find that the pieces do match up. Or at least they should do if you've cut them out and sewn the pleats and neckline accurately!

Easing curves: Sewing the Fifi cup to the bodice

It can be fiddly to attach seams together when the raw edge on one curve is shorter than the other. Often you can simply clip into the seam allowance of the curve with the shorter edge (in this case the top of the front bodice). However, because we're sewing delicate French seams here, cutting up the seam allowance will make it all a bit messy.

Instead, start by pinning the pieces together at the corners and the notches, so you have some accurate starting points, then gently stretch the seam allowance on the bodice (the instructions don't ask you to stay stitch this seam because it makes this sooo much harder to do), at the same time as you carefully ease the fabric on the cup seam allowance so you can pin the stitching lines together. I find it helps to have the cup on top, with an imaginary mound underneath the bodice creating a curve that both pieces are bending over. Ooh and use plenty of pins! The seam allowance on the cup will look like it's rippling a little - but the actual seam line, 15mm (5/8in) inside the raw edge, should be nice and neat, pinned flat against the bodice seam line.

Easing curves: Sewing the Fifi cup to the bodice
Easing curves: Sewing the Fifi cup to the bodice

Carefully sew them together, and they should look something like this. Perfecto! Ready for the next steps.

I hope this helps. Don't worry if you struggle a little the first time you do this - it does get easier, promise :)

3 August 2015

Bust Adjustments for the Fifi Camisole

Fifi camisole sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Vanessa here – today we’re going to show you how to do a full bust adjustment (FBA) or small bust adjustment (SBA) for the Fifi camisole. These are adjustments that you may need to make to a sewing pattern if your boobs are particularly large or small.

We’re focusing on this adjustment because overall the Fifi sewing pattern is relatively straightforward to fit to your body shape but, if you do need to make any significant fitting changes before cutting your fabric, this is probably it. You can pin the camisole bodice pieces together, try them on and adjust both the side seams and the princess seams at the back (great for curvy or “sway” backs) to your preference, before sewing them together. You can also change the length of the straps – we’ve deliberately made them a little longer than you probably need and ordered the instructions to give you a chance to adjust them to your shoulders. The shorts have enough ease that it’s likely you won’t need to make any booty adjustments, and the set has been designed with comfort in mind – for lounging in the boudoir – so it shouldn’t be clinging to your body too much.

If you have a particularly large or small bra cup size though, then you may need to adjust the camisole cup pattern before cutting your fabric. Remember you still want a bit of extra space in there for sleeping in comfort though! To determine whether an FBA or SBA would be helpful for you, you’ll need to take a couple of measurements and do some simple calculations...

Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Measure your high bust (around your upper chest just under your armpits) and then measure your bust at its fullest point (around your nipples). Note down both these measurements, then work out the difference between them and note that down too. Our sewing patterns include a 5cm (2in) difference between the full bust and high bust measurement. If there is more than 7.5cm (3in) difference between your two measurements, you may need to do a full bust adjustment. On the other hand, if you have 2.5cm (1in) or less difference, then a small bust adjustment would be for you.

If you’re going to do a bust adjustment, choose your pattern size based on your high bust measurement plus 5cm (2in). Then work through the steps below to add or remove volume from the camisole cup in this size – the amount you’ll want to add or remove is the half of the difference between your high bust and full bust that you noted down earlier. Half because you’ll be changing the cup pattern which will be cut twice.

Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Trace off the camisole cup pattern piece in your size (don’t forget the markings) to keep the original pattern intact for the future. Mark a line 10mm (3/8in) from the neckline edge.

This pattern adjustment is all about adding in or taking away fullness exactly when it’s needed without jeopardizing any other measurements and shapes. So we need to draw in the lines where this will happen.

Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Locate the apex of the bust, which is the fullest point and for most people is their nipple. This is slightly different for everyone, so the best way to find it is to hold the pattern piece up to yourself in front of the mirror. Position it as if you were wearing the camisole, with the 10mm (3/8in) line you just drew crossing the centre of your chest at the bottom of the neckline, the side seam overlapping your side by 15mm (5/8in), and the top point where your straps will start. Using a pen, make a mark where your apex is. (As you can see, the piece I’m demonstrating on isn’t actually my size, it’s too big for me!)

Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Draw three lines from the apex to the bottom of the cup, each line falling between each of the three pairs of pleat lines (marked on the pattern).

Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Using a tape measure standing on its side, measure halfway along the curved armhole line. At the halfway point, draw a line back to the apex.

Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Finally, draw a line up to the to the top corner.

Full Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

With a fresh piece of paper and some tape at the ready, cut up each of the lines from the bottom, leaving the two points at the top intact by 1-2mm (1/16in) so that they’re just attached. Keep these little bits laid out on your paper in the order you cut them so they don’t get jumbled up! (You can number them if you like.) I recommend taping the large one down at the top of the armhole as it won’t be moving at this point.

Now, remember that measurement you made a note of earlier? Half of the difference between your high bust and full bust measurements – dig that out! That is the amount that you will now spread or overlap your pattern pieces by to complete your full or small bust adjustment.

FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT

Full Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Start by pivoting the two large pieces at the sides away from the apex, separating them by the amount you worked out above (I’m adding 2.5cm or 1in). Tape these pieces down.

Full Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Now space out the smaller triangular pieces at the bottom evenly in the opening, then tape them down.

Trace around the taped pieces to create your new pattern piece, remembering to trace the notch and pleat lines.

The pleats are now larger to create more fullness without changing the length of the seam line that attaches the cup to the front bodice.

SMALL BUST ADJUSTMENT

Small Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Mark two points either side of the apex, the distance between them being the measurement you want to remove from the piece (half the difference between your full bust and high bust).

Small Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Pivot the two large pieces at the sides (marked A and B) over the piece between them (C), until the two dots are overlapping (or as close as possible). Tape the pieces down.

Small Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Now overlap the three smaller triangular pieces at the bottom evenly in the space that’s left, matching the tips up with the dots. Tape them down.

The idea is that the pleats are now smaller to create less fullness without changing the length of the seam line that attaches the cup to the front bodice. Smooth out the curved line at the bottom – you’ll want to make any changes to this line outside of the pleats as subtle as possible so you don’t accidentally change the length of the seam line. You can double check by marking the stitching line 15mm (5/8in) inside the raw edge of the curved bottom line on both the original cup piece and your adjusted piece, measuring these lines excluding the areas inside the pairs of pleat lines, and adjusting the curve of the new piece so it’s the same length as the old piece.

Small Bust Adjustment for the Fifi sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

When you’re happy, trace around the taped pieces to create your new pattern piece, remembering to trace the notch and pleat lines.

And that’s it! I hope you found that helpful for creating a more bespoke fit to your Fifi camisole. Don’t forget to show us a picture of your finished Fifi set, we’d love to see it!

PS. If you're wondering where we got those fabulous pattern weights, here's how we made them!

PPS. You might also like Tilly's tips for tracing sewing patterns...