12 November 2014

Introducing the Francoise sewing pattern!

easy dress sewing pattern


Say hello to our new sewing pattern – the Francoise dress!

Francoise is a chic yet easy-to-wear mini shift dress. The design is inspired by sixties mod fashion, which just so happens to be all over the catwalk this season... and always in style in my book :)


The dress is shaped at the bust, with curve-skimming diagonal French darts and an A-line skirt meaning you can look gorgeous and have freedom of movement to run for the bus at the same time. Designed for woven fabrics, the dress closes at the back with an invisible zip. Choose from two-piece raglan sleeves, or a sleeveless raglan yoke with armholes finished with bias binding made from the pattern. The pattern includes an optional flat collar and waist tab, so you can make multiple versions of the dress in different styles.

I designed this pattern to be a great first dress project for beginner stitchers. The flat construction method on the raglan sleeves is much easier to sew than setting in sleeves at the shoulder, and there is no gathering or other fiddly bits to grapple with.

More experienced stitchers can have fun with variations. For example, the sleeves or yoke would look great in a contrast fabric, the collar is screaming out for embellishment, or how about inserting piping into the seam?  I’ll be sharing some ideas on the blog to make it your own, and I’d can't wait to see what designs you come up with.

easy dress sewing pattern

This a real year-round, dual-hemisphere pattern. The three-quarter length sleeve option is great for looking chic while keeping warm in winter (Christmas party dress, anyone?), and the sleeveless version will see you through spring and summer. I’ve been layering the sleeveless versions over stripey tops these past few weeks, and am eager to wear it over a collared blouse too.

As for what fabrics to make Francoise in, I’d suggest a medium weight woven cotton, sateen or light twill, preferably with a bit of stretch if you’re making the sleeves; double crepe; linen or double knit. The sleeveless version would also be great in gabardine, quilting weight cotton, light wool or brocade (they might restrict your movement a bit in the sleeved version). I experimented with sewing this in a light, drapey viscose and it looked okay, but it's much more striking in a fabric with body that will hold the shape of the skirt.

easy dress sewing pattern


Order the printed pattern and we’ll send you a gorgeous package in the post. If you haven’t seen one of our printed patterns before, let me tell you a bit about them. The printed pattern comes with a delightful booklet featuring jargon-busting instructions and photos of the steps, so you can see what to do at each stage of the make. The pattern sheets themselves are clearly labelled to show you which seams go together and what all the markings mean. They are printed in the UK on durable paper that you can use and re-use without tearing, and that you can fold up and get back in the envelope neatly without that annoying scrunching that you get with tissue. Hooray!

If you prefer to print your own pattern at home, you can order the digital version. You'll get a tiled version of the pattern to print and assemble yourself - the pattern prints on 29 sheets of A4 or US Letter paper (or just print pp.1-26 if you’re making the sleeveless version). You'll also get a full colour instruction booklet which you can print at home or simply read on your computer or tablet.

All patterns are multi-sized, with eight sizes included – you can see the full size chart plus other details such as yardage and a supplies list in the shop.

easy dress sewing pattern

Wanna make the dress together? Over the next 3 weeks we’re going to have a sewalong on the blog, offering extra tips on everything from fitting the dress to inserting an invisible zip, and some design ideas to boot. And there’s going to be prizes! Amazing prizes! I’ll tell you all about the sewalong contest tomorrow, so watch this space.

What I can tell you right now is that I’m delighted that Tilly and the Buttons is partnering with my favourite sewing machine brand Janome to bring you more sewing patterns over the coming year. And yes, that may just be a clue as to what one of the sewalong prizes is...

Hopefully that’s enough info to be getting on with! Laura and I are sitting here with coffee and squidgy envelopes at the ready, so go forth and order your Francoise pattern!

[Soundtrack: 'Le Temps de l'amour' by Francoise Hardy]