23 May 2018

Five Nursing-Friendly Sewing Patterns

Five Nursing-Friendly Sewing Patterns - lovely options for breastfeeding mamas!

Now that I'm a mama, my life has changed a lot. But one of the things that remains constant is that I want to be able to express myself through the clothes that I wear, and show my love of making by wearing things I've sewn myself. Even if somedays that just means yet another Breton top, hehe!

One of the questions that pops up in our inbox every so often is what sewing patterns to make if you're breastfeeding your baby. With a hungry newborn, you'll want to be able to pull your boobs out quickly and easily, while not necessarily flashing the rest of your body to the other customers in that parent-friendly cafe that's become your second home.

Comfort and ease are also key. Bra sizes can fluctuate wildly through pregnancy, nursing and beyond, so it's a good idea to avoid anything too fitted. And in the early months postpartum, particularly if you've had a caesarean, you probably won't want anything tight against your tum.

With these factors in mind, here's a list of Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns that are great options for nursing mamas:

16 May 2018

Five Tips For Making Your Wedding Dress

Five Tips for Making Your Wedding Dress - Tilly and the Buttons
Bride + dressmaker: Allie
Photographer: Meg Runion Studios
Wedding season is upon us, and this year (at the time writing) is a particularly exciting one as there's a certain royal wedding coming up! We are eagerly anticipating Meghan’s outfit, with the press a-buzz with predictions.

The wedding dress is such an important part of the big day, and the right dress can make a bride feel truly special. As a sewist, have you ever considered making your wedding dress?

Five Tips for Making Your Wedding Dress - Tilly and the Buttons
Bride + dressmaker: Jasmine
Photographer: Claudine Rosendale
I’m Jasmine, an intern at Tilly and the Buttons. When I got engaged, there was one thing that I really wanted to do, which was make my own wedding dress. At the time, I was a true novice. I had only sewn one outfit before this, a T-shirt and matching shorts when I was six! But sometimes ignorance is bliss, and not knowing that it was supposed to be difficult meant that I just went for it rather than over-thinking things.

It was the best experience, I learnt so much and ended up with a customised dress that fitted me perfectly and had all the details that I wanted. It was one of my proudest achievements, and even won Make It Today magazine’s Dressmaker of the Year, Occasion category! This just shows what is achievable when you put your mind to it. Where there’s a will, there’s a wedding dress!

If you’re thinking of making your own wedding dress, where to begin? When I started out, I spent ages trawling the internet for advice. Here I’ve compiled a list of top tips from my own experience and those of other home sewists who have made their own fabulous and varied wedding dresses. Hopefully this will save you a bit of stress and encourage you to go for it!

9 May 2018

Jenny Makes All The Things

Jenny Bibi Pinafore and Frankie Tee Patterns by Tilly and the Buttons

It’s Jenny here, the office assistant at Tilly and the Buttons, if you order a pattern or fabric from our shop it's most likely me who will package it up for you!

I've been sewing for about 4 years and I've recently been working my way through the patterns in our new book Stretch! sewing with all kinds of knit fabrics and making myself the comfiest handmade wardrobe ever : )

Jenny Bibi Pinafore and Frankie Tee Patterns by Tilly and the Buttons


2 May 2018

Three Maternity Joni Dresses

Tilly's maternity Joni dress - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

Not long after I started writing my second book Stretch! I became pregnant. The contents had already been drawn up and the garment patterns were already in production, so it's lucky that the topic was stretchy fabrics so at least some of the samples could grow with me!

The Joni dress quickly became my favourite dress as, even though it's not designed specifically as maternity wear, the empire waistline and flared skirt make it wearable with a growing bump. I could throw it on and look put together while feeling extremely comfortable at the same time. I always think empire waistlines are flattering on non-pregnant people as they allow skirt fabric to skim over squishy tummies if you prefer jaffa cakes to sit-ups (ahem). If there's a baby bump there too, the waist seam accentuates the narrowest point of your torso, while the twist front bodice shows off baby-mama boobs.

Tilly's maternity Joni dress - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

25 April 2018

Five Freyas for Louise

Me, myself + Freya - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
I have a confession to make… I am completely obsessed with making Freyas – anyone else with me?

It's Louise here, the sales and communications manager at Tilly and the Buttons. Last month we launched our latest book – Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics – and have been busy bees collectively getting our sew on so I thought I'd share my makes with you : )

Freya dresses - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

18 April 2018

Did someone say fabric shopping?

Art class french terry - minty
Twinkle stripe jersey

Hold the phone! Our online shop is now stocked full of gorgeous knit fabrics perfect for your Stretch! makes. We often get asked where we get our fabrics from so we thought we’d do the leg work for you and put together a selection of the most dreamy fabrics.

Handpicked by Tilly, from glitter sweatshirt fleece to super fun prints on the softest french terry - we've got you covered. They tick all the boxes when it comes to comfort and quality, look good enough to eat so won’t hang around forever.

Check out our dreamy drawstring jersey yarn - perfect for making the Stella hoodie and joggers, we also have stretch interfacing which is great to stash in your sewing tool box. Finally, by popular demand we have a batch of our coveted secret pyjamas squad patches for sale - grab one to join the the gang : )

Ready, steady, sew!

11 April 2018

Sewing Space Tours... Sophia's Dorset Dream!

Sewing Space Tours... Sophia's Dorset Dream!

For the next of our Sewing Space Tours, where we peek behind closed doors at a crafter's inspiring sewing room, we're travelling to the lovely British countryside. This crafty lady returned from Australia to her native Dorset, where she set up her business making gorgeous homewares inspired by her surroundings. She's also a good friend of Tilly and the Buttons! Over to Sophia for more...

Sewing Space Tours... Sophia's Dorset Dream!

Hi, I’m Sophia, and I'm lucky enough to live in a beautiful town in Dorset. I also happen to have the best job in the world, where I can sit in my little studio and sew all day long. This could be making personalised products through my online shop Jessalli Handmade, stitching clothing for my blog, or designing projects for craft magazines.

Sewing Space Tours... Sophia's Dorset Dream!

My sewing space is in our spare room. I need a large amount of space to store all my supplies, stock and fabrics and this room is the perfect size. It also has a large window, which my sewing table is under, giving plenty of light for me to work with.

Sewing Space Tours... Sophia's Dorset Dream!

I work between three surfaces. My sewing table, which my mum bought years ago at a flea market, my desk which was my grandmothers, and my parents first table when they got married. My cutting table which is made up of a top I found at a second hand furniture warehouse and some IKEA trestle legs, so I can adjust the height.

4 April 2018

Inspiration for Your Stretch Makes

Tilly and the Buttons dressmaking inspiration: Stretch - Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics
It's Louise here, the sales and communications manager from team Buttons – a sewist with a passion for fashion! Last month we launched Tilly's latest book – Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics – and I have been pinning to my heart’s content to inspire our next Stretch! makes. I have so many ideas for fabric, styling and embellishments... it’s pretty much all we can talk about in the office at the mo! What are you planning to make? Please do share!

Tilly and the Buttons dressmaking inspiration: Stretch - Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics
BIBI
The pencil skirt is a confirmed classic but there are plenty of ways to reinvent this oh so chic style. I have soooo much inspiration for making our Bibi I just don’t know where to start.

Make a statement with colour or print on Bibi – style it with a tucked in top or Frankie tee thrown on for effortless cool. You can have fun playing with length and try a midi or maxi – it’s perfect with a front or back slit. You may have guessed it but we love Bibi as a pinafore which can be casual or smart depending on the fabric used – Jenny made a gorgeous version in lilac, our current new favourite colour.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

28 March 2018

Behind the Scenes on Stretch - Fashion Shoots

Behind the Scenes on Stretch - Tilly and the Buttons

Last Summer I spent three super-charged, super-fun days at a studio in East London working on the fashion shoots for my new book Stretch! I've already shared a bit about what we got up to, but had to censor most of the photos in that post so as not to give too much away about the subject of the book and designs of the patterns before it was released.

With the book now out, I can share share share! So here are some more snapshots from the shoots for those of you interested in what we get up to behind the scenes...

Behind the Scenes on Stretch - Tilly and the ButtonsBehind the Scenes on Stretch - Tilly and the Buttons

23 March 2018

Bust Adjustments for the Joni Dress

Joni dress sewing pattern - Stretch! - Tilly and the Buttons

The Joni dress is one of our favourite patterns from Tilly's second book, Stretch! The striking twist-front bodice may look complicated, but it's surprisingly simple to make.

If you have a particularly large or small bust, you may be scratching your head wondering how to make a full or small bust adjustment to the front bodice. The first thing to bear in mind is that the inherent stretch in knit fabrics does a lot of the fitting work for you (yassss!). If you're used to making bust adjustments to woven garments, you may not need to bother when sewing with knits. Also remember that knit garments are designed to have a comfortable fit that moves with your body - as a result they are bound to wrinkle and fold in places depending on what position you're in. So you don't want to over-fit your knit clothes.

Having said all that, if you have a particularly large or small bust and know you want to add or subtract some space around the boobs, here's how to do it...

Joni dress sewing pattern - Stretch! - Tilly and the Buttons

19 March 2018

Stretch Patterns - It's the Joni Dress!

 Joni dress - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons
 Joni dress - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

For the final pattern in my new book Stretch! I wanted to create a showstopping party dress to prove that comfy clothes don't have to be casual!

The Joni dress has become one of my favourite patterns of all time. Depending on what fabric you pick, you could wear it for work, dinner dates or even fancy dos.

 Joni dress - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons
 Joni dress - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

The twist-front bodice may look complex, but it's actually pretty simple to make once you try it. The bodice is fitted with a plunging neckline and flattering empire waist seam. The flirty half-circle skirt is great for twirling, with a gentle dipped hem that lands just above the knee.

You can make it with three-quarter or elbow-length fitted sleeves, or try the flared sleeve pattern hack.

16 March 2018

Stretch Patterns - Say Hello to Stella!

Stella hoodie + joggers - sewing patterns from Stretch book - Tilly and the Buttons

My new book Stretch! is all about making yourself comfortable sewing knit fabrics... and what could be more comfy than a snuggly hoodie and joggers? Not much!

Meet the Stella hoodie and joggers sewing patterns. Everyone needs homemade loungewear so you can feel smug at your stitching skills even while chillaxing on the sofa. Just be aware that once you put these on, you won't want to take them off!

Stella hoodie + joggers - sewing patterns from Stretch book - Tilly and the Buttons
Stella hoodie + joggers - sewing patterns from Stretch book - Tilly and the Buttons

13 March 2018

Stretch Patterns - Make the Freya Sweater and Dress

Freya sweater + dress - sewing pattern from Stretch book - Tilly and the Buttons
Freya sweater + dress - sewing pattern from Stretch book - Tilly and the Buttons
Freya sweater + dress - sewing patterns from Stretch book - Tilly and the Buttons
Freya sweater + dress - sewing patterns from Stretch book - Tilly and the Buttons

The Freya sweater and dress is possibly the most versatile pattern in my new book Stretch.

You can make it as a sweater or dress, with either a mock neck, roll neck or cowl neckline, with long or cropped sleeves, and optional ruffle detail. It will look and feel different depending on whether you make it in jersey, ponte or sweater knit.

Basically it's one of those incredibly versatile patterns you can make over and over and create a different style each time!

10 March 2018

Stretch patterns - Meet the Frankie Baseball T-Shirt

Frankie T-Shirt - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

A classic t-shirt is a must in everyone's wardrobe. I love the seventies style of a baseball T and knew I had to include one in my new book Stretch. The only question was what colours to choose - soooo many lovely options!

Designed for single knit jersey, the Frankie T-shirt is the second pattern in the book. It has a relaxed fit, with easy-to-sew raglan sleeves, a round neckband, gentle curved and dipped hem, and a choice of full length, three-quarter or cap sleeves.

Don't worry if you've never sewn a t-shirt before! The book teaches you how to make this top on either a regular sewing machine or an overlocker (serger). I show you all the techniques involved, such as creating a neat and tidy neckband.

Frankie T-Shirt - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

7 March 2018

Stretch! Patterns - Introducing the Bibi Skirt

Bibi skirt - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

Fancy a closer look at the patterns in my new book Stretch?

As well as showing you how to sew with knit fabrics, the book takes you step-by-step through making six patterns (included in the back), as well as multiple variations so you can make them in lots of different styles. I know how much you love sewing patterns, so over the next couple of weeks I'm going to share more about each one, starting with the Bibi skirt today!

Bibi skirt - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons
Bibi skirt - sewing pattern from Stretch! book - Tilly and the Buttons

For the first project in the book, I wanted to design something that was quick and easy to make for readers who are new to knits, and which works well in simple-to-sew low stretch fabrics. The Bibi pencil skirt is a great confidence-building project for newbies, and a satisfyingly speedy make for more experienced stitchers. This is one of those projects that you can whip up in a morning and wear out that afternoon - yasss!

The skirt has a sleek ‘n’ sexy, curve-hugging shape that’s great for dressing up or down, while the knit fabric makes it feel super comfortable to wear (secret pyjamas, guys!). Wear it with the Freya sweater and heels for bossing it at the office, or throw on a T-shirt and trainers for a Saturday brunch date.

28 February 2018

Come to our pop-up shop!


Exciting news for fabric lovers! (Err... that's everyone, right?)

We are opening our doors at Tilly Towers for a one day only event selling to-die-for knit fabrics. These fabrics will be hand-picked by me (Tilly) and perfect for making hoodies, sweaters, dresses and more from my new book Stretch!

Shop for fabric, patterns and books, and have a nosey around our studio where the magic happens (hehe!).

Have some bubbles and cake on us, meet our lovely team and chat to likeminded sewing lovers.

When?
Saturday 7th April, 12-4pm

Where?
Parkhall Business Centre
40 Martell Road
London
SE21 8EN

We're a 10-15 minute walk from West Dulwich or West Norwood stations. There's limited street parking. Plan your journey with TFL.

21 February 2018

Behind the Scenes on Stretch - Sketches to Proofs

Behind the Scenes on Stretch - Tilly and the Buttons

When a big project is finished, I'm usually already onto the next thing. This year though, one of my resolutions is to stop and smell the roses I've already grown - not just keep planting more bulbs!

It's nice to be able to look back at snapshots taken over the past couple of years while I wrote my second book Stretch!, and remind myself of the work - and joy - that went into creating it. I started it back in the Summer of 2016, which seems like a lifetime ago now. I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the stages of putting the book together...

Behind the Scenes on Stretch - Tilly and the Buttons
Behind the Scenes on Stretch - Tilly and the Buttons

The planning stage was a lot of fun - particularly when it came to designing the patterns. I put together a moodboard of Pinspiration plus some sketches for the book proposal to give the publishers an idea of what I had in mind. The final designs turned out pretty close to these original drawings.

14 February 2018

Sewing Space Tours... Jane's Sewing Shed!

Sewing Space Tours... Jane's Sewing Shed!

Iiiiit's time for another Sewing Space Tour! For today's nosey around someone's lovely sewing area, we've got something a little bit unusual. Let's hear more from Jane...

Hello! I'm Jane, and I live in Reading, in the UK. Until January this year I've sewed from a small table in the corner of the kitchen, spilling onto every surface available. I now have the luxury of my own workspace at the end of the garden, which is a very posh green shed! It's decked out in wood inside, and I've got dozens of fairy lights twinkling away, strung all round the walls and across the ceiling.

Sewing Space Tours... Jane's Sewing Shed!

I've always loved sewing, fabrics, and threads. My grandmother had a beautiful desk, which opened to reveal dozens of spools of shiny, colourful cotton, which looked like jewels to my seven year old eyes.

Sewing Space Tours... Jane's Sewing Shed!

I'm not as organised as my Nana was - when I'm in full sewing mode my workshop looks like a bombsite! But it's all part of the process. I spend a therapeutic hour or so cleaning and tidying, making sure everything is in its place, then it's all action - scissors, thread, fabric, printing ink, more fabric, paper, even more fabric, with BBC Radio Four burbling away in the background. If I've been organised, I'll have downloaded the Afternoon Dramas for the week to get lost in.

Sewing Space Tours... Jane's Sewing Shed!

8 February 2018

Peek Inside My New Book!

Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics - Tilly and the Buttons

Thank you soooo much to everyone who has already ordered my new book! I’m beyond excited for you to get your hands on it on the publication day on 8 March 2018 so you can start sewing. In the meantime, here’s a sneaky peek inside…

Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics has a similar design and layout to my first book, Love at First Stitch. It was a no-brainer to work with publishers Quadrille again, as they completely "get" the craft community and did such a great job on my first book. The amazing photography is by Ellie Smith (fashion photos) who also worked on Love at First Stitch, and Fanni Williams (instructions) who is our regular photographer for Tilly and the Buttons patterns. My mum said it looks good enough to eat, and I couldn't agree more!

Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics - Tilly and the Buttons
Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics - Tilly and the Buttons

5 February 2018

Free Gift with Stretch Pre-orders!

Secret Pyjamas Squad patch - Tilly and the Buttons
Secret Pyjamas Squad! - Free gift with pre-orders of Stretch

We’re excited to open up pre-orders from our online shop for copies of my new book Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics.

As a thank you for ordering it from us, not only will your book come signed by me, but if you place your order by Sunday 18 February 2018, we’ll send you this embroidered patch as a free gift!

Secret Pyjamas Squad! - Free gift with pre-orders of Stretch
Secret Pyjamas Squad! - Free gift with pre-orders of Stretch
Secret Pyjamas Squad! - Free gift with pre-orders of Stretch

Iron this patch onto your handmade clothes to declare your allegiance to the Secret Pyjamas Squad – a collective of stitchers who love making clothes that don’t just look great, they’re also sooooo comfy to wear it’s like you’ve gone out in your PJs!

Secret Pyjamas Squad! - Free gift with pre-orders of Stretch