22 March 2023

Tilly's Makes

Tilly wears floral Lyra shirt with black jeans

Looking back at what I've made over the last six months, I must say I'm surprised at how productive I've been because I don't actually remember sewing this much! 

And this isn't even all of it - as usual I'm making secret projects that I can't show you yet - patterns in development, because you want a surprise, don't you?

If you fancy a peek at what I've been making, take a look at my video talking you through recent me-made projects. (The details of patterns and where I got the fabrics are listed below.) Lots of florals, knits, and Marnies!

Close up shot of Tilly wearing floral Lyra shirt

Sewing pattern: Lyra shirt dress - hacked by leaving off the skirt and extending the front bodice, back bodice and button stand

Fabric: Floral viscose from Sew Me Sunshine

8 March 2023

Cutting and Sewing with Stripes

Tilly and the Buttons - Cutting and sewing with stripes so they match up

It's no secret that I love a good stripe. But making clothing with striped fabric adds the challenge of matching up the lines when you sew the pieces together. So I thought I'd share some tips on how to get your stripes matching up at the seams - this is the process that I go through when making a stripey top or dress using the Coco, Romy or Agnes sewing patterns.

But first, I'd just like to point out the obvious fact that this process is totally optional. Ready-to-wear clothing is sold all the time with unmatched stripes. If the stripes on your dress don't join at the seams, the world isn't going to end. If anyone points out that the stripes on your top are a bit wonky, well, they're probably not the kind of people you want to be hanging out with. If you just wanna get on and sew without taking these additional steps, go for it - life's too short!

Still here? Okay, so on to the tips. My stripe matching strategy begins before I've even cut the fabric...

Finger pointing to lengthen/shorten waist  line on the bodice pattern pieces of Agnes

Draw a horizontal line around the centre of the front bodice and back bodice pattern pieces, at right angles to the grainline arrow or centre front/back line. The pattern I’m using has a lengthen/shorten line in the middle of the pattern, so I’m going to use this.

22 February 2023

How to Sew with a Twin Needle

Tilly and the Buttons - How to Sew with a Twin Needle

Sewing with a twin needle can be a great way of creating professional-looking hems and other finishes on your me-mades. It's one of those techniques that can seem tricky at first, so I'm here to show you how it's done!

Examples of twin needes

What is a twin needle used for?

A twin needle (sometimes called a double needle) is composed of two needles connected by one shank at the top.

The twin needle creates two parallel lines of straight stitches on the top side, with a small zigzag stitch connecting them on the underside.

You can use it to topstitch the hems on garments made in stretch fabrics, like the Agnes jersey top or Billie sweatshirt, as well as topstitching on non-stretch garments such as the Jessa jeans or Rosa shirt.

Here's how to sew with your twin needle...

Twin needle sewing supplies laid out.

What supplies do I need to sew with a twin needle?

To sew with a twin needle, you will need:

  • Twin needle (see below)
  • Second spool pin if your machine came with one (don't worry if it doesn't have one)
  • Presser foot with a hole wide enough to fit the twin needle (if your regular presser foot isn't wide enough, try a zigzag or walking foot)
  • Two spools of good quality thread in the same colour, with one bobbin
  • Scrap of your garment fabric to test your stitches on

8 February 2023

Ten Years of Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns!

Tilly a white woman with cropped hair, a lilac blouse and tape measure around her neck places a sewing pattern on a shelf

In 2013, I took the plunge and shared a self-drafted sewing pattern to this blog, unsure whether anyone would buy it. Little did I know that I'd still be making sewing patterns ten years later - now as my actual job, with a team of people helping me! 

43 patterns, 3 books, 9 online workshops, 2 babies, 1 global pandemic and 57,000 cups of coffee later, Tilly and the Buttons is still going strong.

A red haired model wears a teal polka dot Mathilde blouse with puffed sleeves and tucks down the bodice

That first pattern was the Mathilde blouse. Originally it was a PDF file to print at home, with simple text instructions supported by an in-depth sewalong on the blog. I did almost everything myself, from drafting the pattern, creating technical drawings, "modelling" in my kitchen with the camera on timer, to customer service... The only thing I outsourced was grading the pattern into different sizes, for which I have always hired a professional fashion industry grader.

A range of colourful Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns are shown on a turquoise background with sewing tools around them

Our patterns have evolved - and improved - a lot over the years. They now include our signature full colour photo instructions. Many are available in print as well as PDF version. Lots of our patterns now have a much more inclusive size range, from UK 6-34. And it's no longer just me working from my kitchen table - we have a team of amazing people working on the patterns, from drafting through to answering your emails.

Throughout these changes, the intention has remained the same. To inspire more people to sew, with gorgeous designs, refreshingly clear instructions, and an encouraging attitude.

Tilly smiles while sewing a floral blouse

To celebrate ten years of Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns, we thought it would be fun to give you a peek inside my sewing box, which may just contain a few memorable items from the last ten years...