26 July 2017

Sewing Space Tours... Kate's South London Studio!

Sewing Space Tours... Kate's South London studio!

Who's ready for another Sewing Space Tour? We're very excited to introduce a lovely crafter who has allowed us to snoop around her gorgeous creative space. We are huge fans of this blogger, and if you've ever watched her vlogs, then you'll recognise THAT gold, spotty wall... over to Kate for more!

Hello! My name’s Kate (on the right!) and welcome to my little creative space in South London. My day job is running the The Fold Line - an online sewing community - with my work wife, Rachel (pictured left). I’m lucky enough to work from home, and I spend my days immersed in blogs posts, social media and other fun projects. While all of this is sewing-related, it’s only in the evening my office transforms into my sewing space and I get to make a mess. I feel really lucky to have a dedicated place to work and make. Any Londoners reading this will understand, as space is a premium!

Sewing Space Tours... Kate's South London studio!

My space does reflect my personality... organised clutter comes to mind! I really like mixing old and new and have some lovely bits that I have collected over the years. I like having lots of things on the wall and I regularly move things around to freshen things up.

Sewing Space Tours... Kate's South London studio!

19 July 2017

I Can Make Shoes!

I Can Make Shoes!

If you follow our Instagram, you may have noticed that (some of) team Tilly and the Buttons were out of the studio on an away day earlier this month (Vanessa and Louise sadly couldn't make it), when Tilly treated the team to a sandal making workshop at I Can Make Shoes! Lexy here, to tell you a bit about our day.

I Can Make Shoes!

I Can Make Shoes is the brainchild of Amanda Overs, who wanted everyone to have the opportunity to craft their own footwear, without the need for industrial machinery. She came up with a method of creating high-quality shoes that can be done from the comfort of your own home (or indeed her lovely space at Pillbox Studios, in London). Amanda had laid everything out for us, and we couldn't wait to get started!

I Can Make Shoes!
I Can Make Shoes!

12 July 2017

Come and see us in September!

Tilly and the Buttons

Lexy here, and I'm super excited to tell you that we're exhibiting at not one, but two shows in London this September, and we'd love to see you there!

We love exhibiting at shows - it's so much fun to meet so many lovely, creative folk, and we love having a chat about what you've been making using our sewing patterns - plus, it's our favourite thing when people come and say hello wearing something they've made from a Tilly and the Buttons pattern!

Show are a really fun opportunity to meet other like-minded crafters, be inspired by what's on offer, attend a talk or workshop, and come and see our patterns in real life, rather than on a screen. 

Tilly and the Buttons

There are always some great deals up for grabs at fairs, and I know I'm not alone when I say that I always leave the show with a lighter purse, but pull of inspiration and armed with the tools for a plethora of new projects! (#fabricaddict). You can also have a rifle through our sample rail, and hopefully be inspired by seeing some of our patterns made up into garments.

5 July 2017

Your Makes!

Your Makes!

Hello, sewing pals! It's Lexy at the keys once again to send some dressmaking inspo your way. Your makes over the last few months have been super inspiring, we've loved seeing how you've interpreted our sewing patterns by using different fabrics and embellishments - we've noticed a lot of ruffles and frills, of which we highly approve!

The Zadie dress pattern is still going strong, and these two makes are gorgeous. Laura's use of spots is cute and mega flattering, and Selmin has made the ULTIMATE stripy stretchy dress. Love!

Your Makes!

Can we please take a moment to appreciate these two incredible Marigold jumpsuits? Lauren made hers with Rifle Paper Co fabric, and Lucy chose this cute ice cream print fabric for hers.

Your Makes!

Lisa chose to combine two of our patterns, opting for a Bettine top half and cropped Marigold bottom half for this lovely, leafy make. For further inspiration on how you could hack your Marigold jumpsuit, check out this postJulia's palm print Bettine is stunning, the perfect thing for a holiday in the South of France!

28 June 2017

How to Sew Slipstitch

How to Sew Slipstitch - a handy hand sewing technique! - Tilly and the Buttons

Want to brush up on your hand sewing skills?

Slipstitch is a hand stitch that you can use to join a folded edge of fabric to another piece of fabric - for example, for hemming or for attaching binding inside an armhole.

How to Sew Slipstitch - a handy hand sewing technique! - Tilly and the Buttons
How to Sew Slipstitch - a handy hand sewing technique! - Tilly and the Buttons

The great thing about this stitch is that it's almost invisible on the outside of the garment, so provides a more couture finish than if you were to topstitch by machine.

Here's a short video showing you how to sew slipstitch. I'm demonstrating on the armhole binding of the Etta dress. I'm using contrast thread so you can see exactly what I'm doing - please do use thread that matches your garment fabric though so your stitches are barely visible and the finish looks much neater!



This video is an extract from my online workshop, Sew Your Own Knockout Dress. Watch the trailer and sign up here!

21 June 2017

Sewing Space Tours... Emma's Chic and Organised Space!

Emma's Sewing Space Tour!

The location of our next Sewing Space Tour, where someone lets us have a nosey around their lovely creative space, used to be a chicken shed - although you'd never know it now! Lexy here, handing over to Emma to find out more...

Hello, I'm Emma and this is my sewing space. I live just north of Bristol, where I run my business - Emma Giacalone Textiles - making freehand machine embroidery artwork. I have always been creative, and enjoy anything crafty, but never really considered myself to be very good at sewing as I'm too impatient to measure, pin or tack things properly (while still wanting the end result to be perfect!)

Emma's Sewing Space Tour!
Emma's Sewing Space Tour!

14 June 2017

Make Your Own Bias Binding

How to make your own bias binding - a cute detail to add to your homemade clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

Want to add a pretty detail to your homemade clothes?

Bias binding is useful for creating a neat finish on seams that aren’t attached to anything else and don’t have a facing – for example, the armholes below the cap sleeve on the Etta dress. The bias cut will allow the binding to stretch slightly, which is handy for getting around curves such as armholes and necklines.

You can buy ready-made bias binding relatively easily. But it’s good to know how to make it yourself so you can make it in a print, colour and width of your choice. Homemade binding is one of those details that can make your handmade clothes truly special.

Here's how to make it...

How to make your own bias binding - a cute detail to add to your homemade clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

You’ll need a large piece of fabric – a light- to medium-weight woven cotton will be fine. I'm using a Liberty print Tana cotton lawn. You'll also need a bias binding maker for the method I'm going to show you. You can get these handy tools in different sizes – I’m using a 12mm (1/2in) one (this is an affiliate link), which will make single fold bias binding that is 12mm (1/2in) wide once finished. This size is perfect for binding the armholes on the Etta dress.

If you want to make double fold bias binding, for example to bind a neckline edge where you want the binding to be visible on the outside as well as the inside of a garment, you'll press the single fold binding in half after it comes out of the maker. So you’ll end up with 6mm (1/4in) wide binding with a 12mm (1/2in) maker.

How to make your own bias binding - a cute detail to add to your homemade clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

7 June 2017

Behind the Scenes...

Behind the scenes at Tilly and the Buttons HQ

It's been a little while since we took you behind the scenes at Tilly and the Buttons HQ, so today I thought I'd share a few snap shots of what we've been up to. Please excuse the mess - the studio gets in such a state when we're busy!!

Behind the scenes at Tilly and the Buttons HQ

31 May 2017

Lady in Red...

Sew Your Own Etta Dress!Sew Your Own Etta Dress!

Is anyone else out there totally in love with the Etta sewing pattern?! Lexy here (both behind the keys and on your screens!) and it's my pleasure to show you the Etta dress that Vanesssa made when she explained how to line it. It's just too gorgeous not to share!

Sew Your Own Etta Dress!

Ness used one of our Etta sewing kits to make this stunner. The material is a gorgeous quality sateen, which is super easy to sew, and the slight stretch to it means that it hugs your curves to flatter, whilst allowing movement for comfort - the best of both worlds! 

24 May 2017

How to Line the Etta Dress

How to Line the Etta dress - Tilly and the Buttons

Sometimes it's satisfying to spend a bit of extra time on your sewing project to get a super luxurious finish – particularly if you're making an outfit for a special occasion.

Vanessa here today - I'm going to show you how to make and attach a lining to your Etta dress. You can also use this tutorial to line many other fitted dresses, including those with a fiddly kick pleat. A lining will not only give your dress more weight and a flattering shape, it also reduces static and twisting - so no tugging around an unruly garment!

How to Line the Etta dress - Tilly and the Buttons

When choosing a lining fabric, look out for something lightweight and drapey that feels lovely on your skin. Try acetate or poly satin (nice and cheap - but check it first as it can go a bit static), viscose (rayon) crepe de chine, silk satin or, if you really want to push the boat out, something like silk charmeuse. Tilly bought this lining fabric from A One Fabrics on London's Goldhawk Road.

You'll also need matching thread, some large pieces of paper to make a lining pattern, and the Etta lining template, which prints on one sheet of A4 or Letter paper:


I've sewn this version in a gorgeous quality red sateen - an easy-to-work-with fabric with a touch of stretch for comfort and a subtle sheen for glamour. You can get your hands on the same fabric that I've used as well as all the notions you need in our Etta sewing kits.

How to Line the Etta dress - Tilly and the Buttons

17 May 2017

How to Sew a Mitred Corner

How to Sew a Mitred Corner - Tilly and the Buttons

Mitred corners create a neat finish on exposed corners, without any flappy bits that you might get by folding one edge over the other. It’s a lovely little extra detail to add to the kick pleat on the Etta dress, and can also be useful on other projects such as blouses, tablecloths and napkins. Here’s how to sew a mitred corner…

The first thing to do is ensure the two folds to be joined are the same width. On the Etta dress the kick pleat fold is 40mm (1½in) wide, while the hem fold is 30mm (1¼in) wide. So you can either trim down the kick pleat by 10mm (3/8in) or fold the hem up an extra 10mm (3/8in) so both folds are either 30mm (1¼in) or 40mm (1½in) wide.

How to Sew a Mitred Corner - Tilly and the Buttons

Finish the seam allowances and, if you’re making the Etta dress, press the raw edge of the kick pleat under 10mm (3/8in) and topstitch in place. Press each fold to the wrong side.

11 May 2017

Inside our Online Dressmaking Workshop

Sew Your Own Knockout Dress - online workshop from Tilly and the Buttons

Today I thought I'd tell you a little bit more about our latest online workshop - Sew Your Own Knockout Dress - and give you a peek inside the members-only workshop site.

I've spent a lot of time developing each of our five sewing workshops to ensure they're clear, well-structured, user-friendly and jam-packed full of learning points. In fact, I've been designing workshops professionally for over a decade and it's my favourite job in the world!

Here's the trailer...



So what do you get when you sign up to one of our online workshops?

8 May 2017

Fitting the Etta dress sewing pattern

Etta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons


Making yourself an Etta dress? Vanessa here to take you through some fitting adjustments you can make to create a personalised fit unique to your figure.

Bear in mind you almost certainly won’t need to make all of the changes covered in this post. You might not need to make any at all!

But since we’re all different shapes, one of the lovely things about making your own clothes is being able to get a bespoke fit – much better that shop-bought clothing. You can add or remove length where you need it, take the shoulders in or out, adjust for larger or smaller boobs... It does take a bit of extra work, but it's worth it to have a lovely outfit tailored just for you!

We’re going to look at:

  • Choosing your size
  • Lengthening or shortening the bodice, skirt or sleeves
  • Combining pattern sizes
  • Widening or narrowing shoulders
  • Adjusting for a sway back
  • Adjusting for a full or small bust

5 May 2017

Inspiration for Making the Etta Dress

Inspiration for making the Etta dress

Planning to make the Etta dress? Today I thought I’d share with you some gorgeous Pinspiration to help you decide on colours and prints, and get some styling ideas.

When choosing your fabric, I suggest you pick a medium weight material. You don’t want anything too drapey or the dress might hang a bit funny. If the fabric has a bit of stretch in it, that’s always helpful for a fitted dress like this to make it more comfortable to wear. Look for stretch woven cotton, sateen, triple crepe, crepe-back satin, ponte di roma or stable jacquard knits. The cap sleeve version would also work nicely in brocade, but you might find this kind of material a bit uncomfortable on longer sleeves.

Above - clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

It's easy to get drawn to pretty and unusual prints when fabric shopping. But don't forget the humble solid colour! These can often make the most striking dresses. The V-back collar looks particularly good in a solid as it will stand out more. Try a bright or jewel tone, or even a pastel or cream. Look for textured fabrics too, such as jacquard knits and heavy crepes, to add an extra bit of interest.

Inspiration for making the Etta dress

Clockwise from top left - 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

3 May 2017

NEW Etta Sewing Pattern! And Online Dressmaking Workshop!

Absolutely gorgeous! Etta sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
Absolutely gorgeous! Etta sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

There’s a new sewing pattern on the block… she’s called Etta, and she’s a head-turner!

If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’ll take you through all the steps to make it in my brand new online workshop – Sew Your Own Knockout Dress.

Plus you can easily get hold of all the bits and bobs you need to make the dress with our limited edition Etta sewing kits.

So many good things to tell you about today! Let’s start with the design of the dress…

Absolutely gorgeous! Etta sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

26 April 2017

Sewing Space Tours... Ana's Sweet Sewing Space!

Sewing Space Tours... Ana's Sweet Sewing Space!
Sewing Space Tours... Ana's Sweet Sewing Space!
Fancy some mid-week sewing space inspo? You're in luck! Lexy here to introduce Ana, who has let us peep into her sweet and serene sewing room in the latest instalment of our Sewing Space Tours series. Over to Ana for more!

Hi! My name is Ana, I am originally from Spain, but I have been living in London for the past 6 years (and yes, I complain about the weather quite a lot – but who doesn’t!?). I used to work as a journalist and writer, as this is what I studied at university in Spain, but after starting my own sewing business in 2014 here in London, I gave up my freelance writing job to work on CocoWawa Crafts full time (or, as I usually say, 24/7!). It was a very scary thing to do in my thirties, but well worth it.

Sewing Space Tours... Ana's Sweet Sewing Space!

When it comes to sewing, I actually only learned 5 years ago! I wasn’t very crafty as a child – I even used glue to make clothes for my dolls, rather than stitch them! But since learning, I have not been able to stop, and now sewing and creating sewing patterns is my actual job.

Sewing Space Tours... Ana's Sweet Sewing Space!

19 April 2017

Your Makes... Cleo Special!

Your Makes...Cleo Special!
Hello, sewing friends!

Lexy here, and it's time, once more, to give admiration to (as well as seek inspiration from) the excellent things that you have been making with our sewing patterns this month. We've absolutely LOVED seeing all of your gorgeous Cleo dungaree dresses on social media, so we've decided to devote this Maker Gallery post to that very pattern! We've been totally spoilt for choice putting this post together, but here's a selection that have really caught our eye...

Oh. My. Goodness. Zoubi and Rumana (who you may recognise from the last series of The Great British Sewing Bee) have struck gold with their beautiful Cleo dresses. Zoubi's bold and bright Cleo is really eye catching, whilst Rumana's take on the pattern is classic and chic.

Your Makes...Cleo Special!

Ooh, denim and stripes!! Alexandra looks fantastic in her classic blue denim Cleo dress. Harriet also looks amazing in her bright red Cleo, styled perfectly for the unpredictable English weather with sunnies and wellies!

12 April 2017

How to Sew Four-Step Buttonholes

How to Sew Four-Step Buttonholes - Tilly and the Buttons

Sewing buttonholes is one of those techniques that many beginner stitchers try to avoid… but once you get to grips with them, buttonholes are honestly pretty straightforward! Plus it’s a great skill to have under your (handmade) belt, as it opens up a whole world of shirts, blouses, dresses, skirts and more.

In this post I’m going to take you through sewing four-step buttonholes on a mechanical sewing machine. Check out my post of making one-step buttonholes on a digital machine too. (If you’re not sure which type of buttonholes your sewing machine makes, take a look at the manual.)

Four-step buttonholes take a bit more effort than the one-step kind, but the good thing about them is you have more control over how they turn out. Always always always test sew a buttonhole (or five) on a double scrap of your fabric (interfaced if your project) before starting on your precious garment, so you have a chance to alter the settings and check everything is in order first. The other key with four-step buttonholes is to ensure that you’re stitching them to the correct length.

How to Sew Four-Step Buttonholes - Tilly and the Buttons

Mark the buttonhole on your fabric. Attach the buttonhole foot to your sewing machine, and position the fabric underneath it so the window is showing the full buttonhole and the top end of the buttonhole (the end furthest away from you) is underneath the needle. Lace the thread under the foot and towards the back.

5 April 2017

Big Project in the Works!



As you may or may not have already guessed from hints dropped here and there, I'm working on something BIG for 2018... my second book!

I know it's been a long time coming since the publication of my first book, Love at First Stitch, in May 2014, and that a lot of you have been asking for a second book sooner. The truth is that I felt so burnt out after writing the first one that I really needed a break. And then the sewing pattern and online workshop side of my business started growing... and growing... and the idea of trying to write a book alongside running a business seemed crazy!

Last Summer I decided that the time had come, and I started getting excited again about the idea of writing a second book. I wrote the proposal and outline over the Summer and designed all the projects, then pitched the book in September 2016. In the Autumn, I started fleshing out the content - this time with the invaluable help of Vanessa, our pattern cutter, on the patterns themselves.

The book will be published in Spring 2018 by Quadrille. So far I've designed all the projects, outlined the structure and content, written three chapters, sourced the fabrics, sewn lots of samples, had two photo shoots, and Vanessa has drafted the majority of the patterns. We've still got quite a bit to do before the deadline at the end of June, but it's really getting there.


29 March 2017

Your Pets on Our Patterns!

Pets on Tilly and the Buttons patterns!

It's Wednesday, and Wednesdays call for cuteness. Lexy here, and to get us over the mid-week hump, we thought it might be a good idea to pay tribute to the furry friends who keep us company during our many (we wish) hours of sewing. The ladies here at Tilly and the Buttons are all confirmed cat lovers, but that's not to say that any kind of furry company isn't most welcome when we're measuring, cutting, and stitching. Here are a few of your gorgeous pets that have "helped" during sewing, or assisted when it comes to modelling your Tilly and the Buttons creations!

Rona is a gorgeous sewing companion who lives with Abi, who very kindly shared her gorgeous sewing space with us last week. Check it out if you haven't done so already. As if we weren't already envious enough of Abi's fantastic space, she gets to sew with Rona next to her everyday.

Pets on Tilly and the Buttons patterns!