16 June 2021

Five Tips for a Neat Finish

Five tips for a neat finish by Tilly and the Buttons

To sew neatly or not to sew neatly, that is the question? Whether you like to take your time sewing everything precisely or prefer to stitch a little more freely and hope for the best, a few little tips up your sleeve to improve your finished result can be a huge plus.

We are definitely of the opinion that sewing should be fun and there is never just one way to approach things. We advocate for taking your time or taking shortcuts. The way you sew is up to you and it's not for anybody else to tell you what is the "right" or "wrong" way to do things. There is just a way to do things that work best for you! 

If you do want to improve your sewing or take it to next level, here are five tips that only take a few extra minutes per project, but add hugely to the finished garment result. They can save you a little time in the long run if you are the kind of stitcher who likes to unpick to get things just so. If you tend to go with the flow, these tips can help mask a few little humps, bumps and lumps - if you so choose!

Now on to the tips :)

Five tips for a neat finish by Tilly and the Buttons

1) Baste (tack) before you sew 

Have something that needs to line up or stay in place, like the end of waist tie or side seams that join at a waistline? You could take an extra few minutes to baste (tack) pieces together before stitching them for real to make sure they go together nicely. 

Set your machine to a longer stitch length - somewhere between 3-4mm - and sew your pieces together. It can be helpful to do this in a contrasting colour to make the stitching easier to remove after you have sewn your final line. When you come to sew the whole seam, the basted (tacked) pieces will stay put, and you can feel smug :)

It may seem like a step too far, but it can reduce the frustrating process of unpicking stitches when your pieces haven't lined up as perfectly as you had pinned, or that waist tie that made a break for it during the sewing process.

Five tips for a neat finish by Tilly and the Buttons

2) Use a walking foot

8 June 2021

Summer School - 30% off Online Workshops!

Tilly and the Buttons Online Workshop summer sale - until 13/06/21


Use code: SUMMER30 for 30% off online workshops from Tuesday 8th June until Sunday 13th June 2021 midnight BST 

Do you want to learn to sew or build your stitching skills this summer? We have just the thing for you! 

We have a range of online video workshops that cater to every skill level and can be taken at your own pace with 24/7 access. You can take the classes from the comfort of your own home (you could even watch the lessons in the garden with a spritz!), and Tilly will be there to break things down every step of the way, with clear instructions. The courses are split into modules, making it easy to revisit useful sections in later projects.

Make Friends with a Sewing Machine online workshop

It is also National Sewing Machine day on Sunday 13th what better way to celebrate your machine than getting to know it a little bit better :)

Whether you need to learn how to use your sewing machine or finally want to conquer your overlocker (serger), we have an online workshop for you!

If you've been putting off getting your new sewing machine out of the box (we all know this feeling!), or feel a wave of panic coming over you when the machine needs threading, our Make Friends with a Sewing Machine workshop is just what you need! The class covers:
  • Getting to know your machine (including what to look out for if you don't have one yet)
  • Threading your machine 
  • Getting to grips with stitching
  • Sewing a simple scarf
  • Troubleshooting tips and how to fix your sewing mistakes

2 June 2021

Five Tips for Cutting and Sewing Slippery Fabric

I know we’ve all been there, dreaming up floaty summer dresses but then our drapey fabric starts misbehaving at the sewing machine, if not before driving us crazy at the cutting table and developing a mind of its own. 

Mismatched seams, fraying fabric and all kinds of wonky cutting, there’s a reason sewing with lighter weight fabrics has a tricky reputation. But we promise it doesn’t have to be like that and sewing with lightweight fabrics can be rather lovely when you've got some tricks up your sleeve... 

Drapey fabrics make perfectly cool and floaty summer dresses and can provide some serious swish-factor. Check out our Lyra shirt dress (the interfacing tip in this blog post will be especially helpful for that collar!), the summer-ready Seren dress and our simple Lotta dress to name a couple of our patterns that can be made in lightweight fabrics like viscose & crepe.

26 May 2021

Five Tips for Sewing Clothing with Quilting Cotton

Five tips for sewing clothing with quilting cotton

The pretty prints beckon... the cute colours call to you... sometimes their allure is just too strong to resist. Yes, we're talking quilting cottons.

Quilting cottons - or just "medium weight cottons" - are often used for home and accessory sewing. They come in an array of beautiful designs and quirky prints, and - crucially - tend to feel stiff and hold their shape, rather than hanging softly. This stiffness puts many stitchers off using quilting cotton for sewing clothing, but if you embrace this kind of fabric for a perfectly paired project, the result can be gorgeous! 

So when is it okay to use quilting cotton for sewing apparel? Of course part of this comes down to personal preference, but the guidelines I tend to follow are these:

Five tips for sewing clothing with quilting cotton

1. Determine how much drape or body your project needs

Quilting cottons tend to have quite a lot of body to them, so won't cling or flow over your curves. I learnt the hard way in my early days of sewing that quilting cottons make super crisp blouses that stand away from your body - which works well for some designs, but not so well for others.

Five tips for sewing clothing with quilting cotton