3 March 2021

Tilly's Sewing Books and What You Can Make with Them!

Tilly's sewing books and what you can make with them!

It's World Book Day tomorrow and we're thinking about our most treasured books. Like loooads of other sewists, I (Louise) used Tilly's first book, Love at First Stitch, as a tool when I first started sewing. And because of that, it's a book that will always have a very special place in my heart :) 

Since releasing her first book in 2014, Tilly has written three titles - all published by Quadrille (Hardie Grant) - that pass on her tips and tricks. They all contain a range of sewing patterns, so you can practise techniques while making gorgeous clothes that you will be proud to say you made yourself!

They're an excellent way to get into sewing, as you get a number of garment patterns to work with that build in difficulty as you go. You can pick up handy tips and tricks as you progress that will set you up with sewing skills for life. As Tilly holds back on all the confusing sewing jargon, the books are user-friendly and easy to follow. Plus, they are pretty to look at, which is how I pick most of my books!

If you are thinking about getting one of Tilly's books, you might be wondering which one is the best for you. And, what's in these gorgeous books I hear so much about? Grab a cuppa, and come on into the sewing library - shhh!

Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes - perfect for beginners

Love at First Stitch - £25

Tilly's first book captures the spark that is ignited when you first sit at the machine. Everything is so new and exciting, and nothing is off-limits. Love at First Stitch will take you through all the essential things you need to know when you are getting into sewing, and will guide you through projects that will help you build up a handmade wardrobe while learning sewing skills that you will count on later in your sewing life. Basically it's like taking a dressmaking course, but in book form.

BEST FOR - Absolute beginners

Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes - a perfect introduction to sewing

STYLE - A nod to 60s fashion

WHAT CAN I MAKE? - The book includes five main patterns - pyjama bottoms, a skirt, two dresses and a blouse. Also included are two simple patterns you draft yourself, guided by Tilly, for a scarf and skirt. All the patterns have multiple ways you can make them so you can get so much out of the book.

Love at First Stitch sewing patterns by Tilly Walnes

24 February 2021

A trick for turning narrow loops - with video!

A trick for turning narrow loops, waist ties, drawstrings and straps - Tilly and the Buttons

Ever sewn a drawstring, button loop, waist tie, narrow strap, or other teeny tube before wondering how on Earth you're going to turn it right sides out?

I've shared in a previous post how to turn out narrow tubes or loops using a bodkin or a dedicated loop turner. Here's another way of doing it, using just the thread on your sewing machine - with video! You can use this method to make the drawstrings on the Jaimie PJs or Joe PJsMake It Simple book patterns - the Tabitha dress, Safiya dungarees, Suki dress, Stretch! book patterns the Stella hoody and joggers,  Maternity Agnes top and the waist tie on the Maternity Bettine dress.

If you want to watch this magical process in action, check out the video below :)

It begins before you've started sewing the fabric strip into a tube...

A trick for turning narrow loops, waist ties, drawstrings and straps - Tilly and the Buttons

Start by pulling out the bobbin and spool threads on your sewing machine, so you have about 5cm (2in) or so more than the length of the strip you're sewing together.

17 February 2021

Seven Tips for Sewing Maternity Clothes

Seven Tips for Sewing Maternity Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

If you're reading this and pregnant, first of all, congratulations! It's an exciting - if nerve-wracking and exhausting - time, and making some of your own maternity clothes is a lovely way to slow down and celebrate the wonder of your changing body.

At the time of writing, I'm in my fourth pregnancy, and hoping to meet our second little one in a few weeks' time. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some tips I've learnt about sewing for this season of my life in case you're planning to make your own maternity clothes too.

First up - why make your own maternity clothes? Why not just buy them instead? Ready-to-wear maternity clothes are very limited, and personally I've found it difficult to buy maternity clothes that are a) in my size, b) not just black or khaki, and c) to my taste, so have enjoyed making a few colourful pieces that are unique to me. And, if you're a sewing addict like me, you're not going to want to stop making things just because you're pregnant!

Onto the tips...

Maternity Agnes top in lilac stripe - worn by Tilly
Maternity Agnes top sewing pattern

1) Comfort is key

From achey hip joints to swollen ankles, pregnancy takes its toll on your body. So it's more important than ever to focus on comfort. Think soft jersey fabrics that feel nice against your skin, stretchy of flowy garments, the kind of thing you could have a quick schluff in if you get the chance! 

10 February 2021

Plans for More Pattern Sizes - and a Call for Testers!

Overhead photo of a yellow cutting mat and pattern making tools

As you may have read in my blog post from December, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes developing a new size band for our sewing patterns. Read on to find out more details of what we have planned, the process involved, and a call for pattern testers to help us get a great fit!

First of all, why are we creating a whole new size band?

I started Tilly and the Buttons because I wanted sewing to be accessible and inspiring to more people,  and decided to do something constructive about it. One of our main focuses and points of differentiation from other pattern brands out there has been introducing sewing to new people, including the younger generations and those of us who had never been taught the techniques. We aim to break down the barriers of lack of skills and creative confidence with user-friendly patterns, a wealth of free sewing resources and a hearty dose of encouragement. 

This is still – and will remain to be – a big focus for us. But one of the other barriers stopping even more people enjoying sewing is the availability of sewing patterns that fit the variety of body shapes and sizes out there.

Over the past couple of years we’ve been adding additional sizes up to a UK 24 to our core collection of new and most popular patterns, making 18 patterns to date in this extended sizing. But we know there are more people outside of this size range who would love to join in the fun of making our patterns. If we continued to add extra sizes to our existing patterns, the proportions wouldn’t end up quite right. So getting a great fit means starting from scratch with the patterns and their proportions.

So what we’ve done is created a whole new size chart with different proportions, from UK 16 – 34 (US 12 – 30 / EUR 44 – 62). In our chart, this will go up to a 152.5cm (60in) bust, 134.5cm (53in) waist and 155cm (61in) hip.

The most noticeable difference in the proportions from our current patterns is that the tummy slightly fuller and the bust will be curvier (a 10cm/4in difference between high bust and full bust, as opposed to 5cm/2in difference in our current chart). This is great news for those of you who have been telling us you have larger boobs, including those of you in the upper half of our existing size chart – five of the sizes overlap, so you can choose which one to buy depending on your shape.