9 October 2019

10 Design Hack Ideas for Nora

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern

Are you nutty about Nora and want some ideas for creating more? It's Louise here, the Sales and Communications Manager at Tilly and the Buttons, and I am a serial Nora-maker! Ever since we launched the Nora sweater or top pattern, the team have racked up quite a lot of Nora makes between us. The more you make something or see it being made, the more it gets you thinking of what else you could add to make the next.

So I got my thinking cap on and came up with an idea for a super cute Nora dress with cuffs and tie-waist and it was just love-at-first-wear! I've also made a pom pom cuffed Nora that filled the position of sewing-inspired Christmas jumper, an edible parma violet Nora cardigan hack inspired by Tilly, and a polka dot ruffle hem t shirt that I need to replicate 100 times.

I've pulled together 10 design hack ideas for this gorgeous pattern that will help you get even more use out of it. Most of them would be fairly simple to do and you could combine a few of the ideas to create a super hack. So grab a notebook and pen and let the Nora hack planning commence!

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

I have tried, tested, and worn this hack a lot so I can vouch for how brilliant it is. When Tilly came into the office wearing her Nora cardigan hack, I thought she'd developed a new pattern. My only question was, "When can I make one?"!

Tilly shared how to hack nora into a cardi so you can sew your own. Tilly made hers in a low stretch knit, I chose a snuggly sweatshirt fabric, and Kate, our Office Manager, made one in a lovely contrast back sweatshirting.

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

2 October 2019

How to Understitch Like a Pro

How to understitch - Tilly and the Buttons


Do you feel like you need a helping hand with understitching? Well never fear as help is here. It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Team Tilly and in this post I'll be talking you through how to understitch like a pro.

Understitching is a technique used to stop a facing or lining from peeking out from the inside of garments. When attaching a facing or lining to your garment, you can stitch the seam allowances to the facing or lining, close to the seam line, and this will help it stay on the inside where it belongs.

Understitching is one of those nifty sewing techniques that may seem small but makes all the difference to your me-made garments.

If you're the type of person who prefers to learn by watching rather than reading, then you're in luck as we've also made a video to help bring the words in this post to life. Hooray! Tilly has also written a brilliant post where she shares her five tips for neat understitching if you want to get even more tricks and tips, which I thoroughly recommend you check out.



So, how do you understitch?

To prepare for understitching, you need to sew the two fabric pieces together in question, for example the facing or lining and neckline. Sew them together at the seam allowance stipulated in the instructions.

How to understitch - Tilly and the Buttons

25 September 2019

Tilly's Blue Tencel Indigo Smock

Tilly's blue Tencel Indigo smock - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
Tilly's blue Tencel Indigo smock - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

When we were developing the Indigo smock pattern, the version I knew I had to make first was a classic chambray-blue top with all the trimmings, i.e. I said a big fat yasss to the flounce sleeves and exposed frill seams :)

Tilly's blue Tencel Indigo smock - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

20 September 2019

How to Do Narrow and Wide Shoulder Adjustments

How to do wide narrow shoulder adjustment - Tilly and the Buttons

Do you usually find that your garments are too small or too big across the shoulder? If so, you might want to consider doing a narrow or wide shoulder adjustment. It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly Towers, and I'm here to show you two ways to adjust the shoulders on your pattern pieces to help you get a good fit - one "quick and dirty" method, and one more involved and more accurate method.

How do I know if I need a shoulder adjustment?

But first, if you want to know whether you need a narrow shoulder adjustment you'll have to know where the shoulder should actually sit. 

As with most things when it comes to sewing, the answer to this depends on the style and fit of the garment you're making. Some patterns are designed with a drop shoulder seam, like the Nora top, whilst others intend for the shoulder seam to sit directly on the shoulder socket, like the Indigo top and dress. If you're unsure, have a good look at the pattern technical drawings - this should tell you what you need to know. 

If the pattern is intended to sit on the shoulder socket, you'll need to know how to find out where this is on you. Luckily this is really easy to do. Bend your arm at the elbow and lift it up and down to the side (I like to imagine I'm playing the bagpipes if that helps!) and feel with the fingers on your other hand for where the "hinge" is, where the arm meets the shoulder socket. As you move your arm up and down you'll be able to feel where the socket moving. This point is where the shoulder seam should sit. 

To find out whether the shoulder seam will sit in an optimum spot for you personally, I thoroughly recommend making a toile (a muslin) first, or at least a wearable toile. Mark the armhole seam allowances on the toile and take a look in the mirror to see if the seam (the seam allowance line) is sitting roughly on your shoulder socket. 

If it's sitting beyond the socket and is migrating down your arm, this indicates that there is too much length in the shoulder seam and you need a narrow shoulder adjustment. If it's sitting further back towards your neck, and most likely feeling a bit tight, then this indicates that the shoulder seam on the pattern is too short for your shoulders and you need a wide shoulder adjustment.

Measure the distance between the seam line and the shoulder socket - that's the amount you either have to add or subtract from your shoulder seam. You can use the below methods to adjust the shoulder seam up to around 2cm (3/4in). If you want to add or subtract any more than this amount, you'll have to also adjust the sleeve head to make it bigger or smaller so it matches the new armhole shape.

I'm going to show you two different ways of doing a narrow and wide shoulder adjustment. The first method is super speedy, but may slightly alter the length of the armhole. Because of this, I'd recommend using this method for small adjustments made on knit garments, or for patterns that have ease or gathering in the sleeve head - you can ease in any excess fabric where needed.

For a more accurate technique, use the more involved "slash and spread" method outlined further down the page, which will keep the armhole seam the same length. This is best for sleeves in woven garments with little to no ease.

Narrow shoulder adjustment - the quick and dirty way