5 May 2021

Seven Sewing Projects You Can Make in an Afternoon

Seven sewing projects you can make in an afternoon

Find yourself with small pockets of sewing time and want to see a project through from start to finish? Yep, we all know this feeling. A satisfyingly speedy make can leave you feeling motivated and encouraged by being able to complete something in an afternoon.

Is that possible you ask? Well, it absolutely is if you're working with a simple design that has limited pieces. Avoiding fiddly fastenings and designs that require fitting can set you up for success. You can also do yourself a favour and browse the notions and instructions while having your breakfast, soaking in the bath, watching the telly... any snatched pocket of time before the sewing session can help you familiarise yourself with what's going to take place. Plan for no surprises!

I reach for simple projects when I'm in a sewing slump or don't have the headspace for something complicated. It reminds me that I have sewing-super-skills and makes me feel rather proud that I can make my own clothes... sometimes we forget how wonderful that is!

If you're taking part in Me Made May 2021 and you've spotted a few wardrobe gaps you'd like to fill, this list of seven sewing patterns might be just what you're looking for. 

New to Me Made May, or have no idea what I'm talking about? Check out all the deets of the challenge that is run by the very lovely Zoe of 'So, Zo', where makers take a month to wear (and share if you fancy) their handmade garments. You can set yourself an aim; maybe you want to wear your makes more often, show some rarely worn pieces some love, or just take some time to assess the handmade garments in your wardrobe - it's a highlight in our DIY style calendar!

If you read on, you might spot a sneak of our upcoming UK 16-34 pattern releases - I won't tell if you don't! Now onto the projects...

Seven sewing projects you can make in an afternoon

The Jaimie pyjamas make bedtime the event of the day! They are simple to construct, comfortable to wear and a very speedy make!

SIZE RANGE: UK 4-24 (US 0-20 / EUR 32-52) OR coming soon UK 16-34 (US 12-30 / EUR 44-62)

PATTERN FORMAT: Sizes UK 4-24 printed or PDF pattern OR coming soon sizes UK 16-34 PDF pattern

NUMBER OF PATTERN PIECES: Three, plus a length for cutting your elastic


GOOD TO KNOW: Jaimie comes with a FREE full video sewalong


You might also like the Joe pyjamas. Brother to our Jaimie PJs, they are great for anyone who prefers a straighter, menswear fit. 

Seven sewing projects you can make in an afternoon

28 April 2021

How To Sew On A Button (+ Video!)

How to sew on a buttons with video by Tilly and the Buttons

Hand sewing on a button is one of those pleasing sewing tasks that everyone should have in their dressmaking skill set. At one point or another almost everyone will need to sew on a button, right? Whether that's replacing a long lost button on a ready-to-wear garment, or adding a sprinkle of colourful buttons to your latest make, this tutorial will show you step by step (with a helpful video too!) how to sew on a button by hand.

But wait, if there's a button, there must be a buttonhole! Fear, not sewists, we've already got you covered when it comes to stitching up perfect, stress-free buttonholes. Check out THIS post for automatic one-step buttonholes and THIS post for four-step ones. We promise they aren't as scary as you might think, and can actually be a really satisfying part of sewing!

Let's get back to buttons...

In this tutorial, I'm sewing a colour pop of bright pink, heart-shaped buttons onto a floaty viscose Lyra shirt dress. The perfect pattern for nailing your buttonholes and buttons! You can also find buttons on our Indigo Add-on pattern for a cool button-up back dress, on our classic Rosa shirt, the simple Arielle skirt, our swishy Seren, and our trendy Alexa jumpsuit.

How to sew on a buttons with video by Tilly and the Buttons

21 April 2021

Ten Tips for Sewing a Neat Shirt Collar

Ten tips for sewing a neat shirt collar - Tilly and the Buttons

When you advance your sewing beyond the basics, making a shirt or shirt dress can make you feel like a sewing ninja! And there's something particularly satisfying about the intricate steps involved in crafting the perfect shirt collar. Sure, it may be one of the fiddlier aspects of making your own clothes, but it's also super rewarding to put on that collar and know that you made it yourself.

I'm going to share my top ten tips with you for how to get great results when sewing a shirt collar. You can use these tips when making our Lyra shirt dress pattern, Rosa shirt and dress pattern, or basically any other shirt with a two-piece pointed collar and stand. 

Ten tips for sewing a neat shirt collar - Tilly and the Buttons
Rosa shirt dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

If you'd like more help with shirtmaking in general, I recommend our Sew Your Own Shirt or Shirt Dress online workshop, in which I take you through every step of making the Rosa shirt and dress, with video lessons giving you a front row seat in the class.

Anatomy of a sewing collar

Before we get stuck into the tips, let's get our heads around which pieces of the collar are which, and what direction they are cut and whether they are interfaced in our sewing patterns:
  • Top collar = the outside part of the collar that's on view when you wear it. Cut on the straight grain and interfaced to give it structure.
  • Under collar = the inside part of the collar that's folded under when you wear it. Cut on the bias grain so it sits nicely around your neck, and not interfaced (in our patterns at least - it can be interfaced sometimes).
  • Outer collar stand = band that sits under the collar, and which is visible from the outside. Cut on the straight grain, and interfaced for structure.
  • Inner collar stand = inside of this band which sits against your neck. Cut on the bias grain so it curves nicely around your neck, and not interfaced.
Got it? Okay! Now onto my tips...

Trimmed under collar and inner stand curves

1) Trim the under collar and inner stand to hide the seams

When you've been to all the trouble to sew your own shirt, the last thing you want is the collar seams to be visible when you wear your finished creation. 

To stop them peeping out, start by trimming a teensy bit off the short ends and long outer edge of the under collar, as well as the curved ends of the inner collar stand (remember - these are the uninterfaced, bias-cut ones). Trim by 2mm (1/16in), tapering to 0mm at corners. This will encourage the seams to roll towards the underside. 

When you pin the top collar to the under collar and the outer stand to the inner stand, just be sure to  bring the raw edges together to make your trimming worthwhile, rather than laying them flat against each other.

14 April 2021

Fitting the Lyra Shirt Dress

Fitting the Lyra Shirt Dress - Tilly and the Buttons

Making the Lyra shirt dress and want a helping hand on how to get a great fit? Well then, this post is right up your street! 

Lyra is our first sewing pattern available in two size bands - either in sizes UK 6-24 or UK 16-34. This post is going to cover the most common fitting adjustments you may want to make to your Lyra shirt dress for both size bands :)

Lyra has an oversized, blousy bodice with bust darts, quite a bit of ease at the waist, and a flowy, gathered skirt. This means it not only looks ultra-cool (if we do say so ourselves) but is also relatively simple to fit - yay! 

In this post we're going to cover: 

  • Making a toile 
  • Choosing your size
  • Lengthening or shortening pattern pieces 
  • How to combine pattern sizes 
  • How to do bust adjustments for a bust darted bodice 
  • How to do wide and narrow shoulder adjustments

Fitting the Lyra Shirt Dress - Tilly and the Buttons

Making a toile