24 June 2015

Your Makes!

Hello, Laura here! Back with another look at what everyone has been making with Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns recently. Now the warmer weather is finally here we have lots of fab makes to inspire your summertime sewing...

Agnes top - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

This month we launched a brand new pattern – the Agnes top. It’s the perfect jersey top to throw on every day, with lots of different combinations to choose from. Jobena and Sam both made theirs by following our online workshop, Learn to Sew Jersey Tops. Jobena went for ruched sleeves and plain neckline; Sam went for plain sleeves and ruched neckline. Both are adorable!

Agnes top - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

Katie (another student of Learn to Sew Jersey Tops) used a lovely floral jersey for her Agnes top - so summery! We lurrrve this nautical version with shortened sleeves by our workshop teacher Zoe.

Arielle skirt - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

We have lots of fantastic pics of Arielle skirts sent over to us this month. Kylie has used some red buttons to add a pop of colour to her plain blue Arielle, while Lynz has made her version out of chambray. She looks suitably excited to be wearing it!

Arielle skirt - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

You may not be able to see from this pic, but check out Lynne’s blog for a close up of the crazily cute face buttons she used on her red Arielle. Yvonne has made a very stylish longer length denim Arielle and Lisa has added a fun touch to hers by using multi-coloured buttons. We love!

Francoise dress - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

The sleeveless version of the Francoise sewing pattern is a great dress for the warm weather. Kharina made a stunning version in a pale fabric, adding some interest with the optional tab. Vicki has used this amaazzing flamingo fabric for her Francoise. Want!

Mimi blouse - sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch

Joanna followed the pussy bow tutorial on the blog to create her pretty Mimi blouse (sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch). Tassadit looks great in her classic Mimi, made with a cute ditzy floral and contrasting red buttons.

Clemence skirt - sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch

Simona has teemed her Mimi with a chambray Clemence skirt (both patterns in Love at First Stitch). Rachel has used a lovely navy and white quilting cotton for her Clemence. They both look so classic and chic.

Lilou dress - sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch

Becca made her stunning Lilou dress using another flamingo print fabric – flamingo sewing is definitely a new craze! Pamela used the tutorial in Love at First Stitch to add the scalloped neckline to her Lilou dress, choosing the gathered rather than the pleated skirt.

Coco dress - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

We have been going crazy over Jo’s stripy green Coco dress with short sleeves and patch pockets – very Joules, non? Daniela has made an equally adorable dress in a polka dot knit. You can't go wrong with stripes or polka dots, basically.

Delphine skirt - sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch

How cute does Akram look wearing her Delphine skirt (pattern in Love at First Stitch) with matching headband – very school girl chic! Claire lengthened her Delphine skirt for a different look. If you fancy learning to make your own Delphine skirt, we've got a workshop in our South London studio on Saturday 11 July.

Miette skirt and Mathilde blouse - sewing patterns by Tilly and the Buttons

Karen made a nautical themed Miette skirt - love the red piping detail along the waistband and pockets. Bianca looks stunning in her semi-sheer Mathilde blouse in a lovely mint green polka dot. Need this!!

Megan dress - sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch

Adding extra details to your creations is a great way to make them stand out. The way Brenda has sewn buttons at the waist of her Megan dress is really effective (sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch). And last but by no means least - the toothpaste fabric Nickey has chosen for her Megan dress is simply excellent :)

As usual it was sooo hard to choose which of your many wonderful makes to include in this month's round up post, so please go and check out all the other amazing creations in our Maker Galleries on Pinterest. If you've sewn something with a Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern, send us your best photo for the Maker Gallery - you can tweet us, email us or send us a link through this page. We can’t wait to see what you've made!

17 June 2015

Say Hello to Us at the Handmade Fair!

We're going to be at The Handmade Fair... come say hi!

The Handmade Fair is a three day celebration of craft and creativity, hosted by TV's Kirstie Allsopp and set in the lovely grounds of Hampton Court Palace. It started last year and I know I'm not the only one who was mightily impressed with the upbeat, colourful atmosphere, wealth of inspirational talks and workshops on the programme, lovely people and amaaaazing crafty shopping. Ooh and let's not forget the prosecco van!

Last year I was teaching workshops pretty much non-stop for three days in the Janome sewing tent (and pretty star struck to see my mug on the flyer alongside Kirstie, Cath Kidston and Annie Sloan, omg). This year I'm so excited that we've booked our very own stand in the Shopping Village. The Shopping Village! We get to play shops! You can come and say hi to us, chat sewing and of course buy our gorgeous sewing patterns and book. We'll be at stand E4 in the East Tent - THE place to be.

It runs from 18th - 20th September 2015 at Hampton Court Palace. You can get your ticket here, and if you use the code ‘EXM27’ at checkout I believe you get £2 off. The ticket price includes access to a certain number of talks and workshops - check the website for the full deets.

It'd be so nice to meet you!

10 June 2015

Five Agnes Tops

As promised, today I'm sharing some of the tops I've been making with the Agnes sewing pattern, and details on the fabrics...

If you've signed up to the Learn to Sew Jersey Tops online workshop, you will already have seen this one. No frills - just the plain sleeve and plain neckline version for every day. The fabric was given to me by one of this blog's lovely sponsors, Dragonfly Fabrics - it's an absolutely gorgeous quality cotton jersey, baby soft with a nice amount of stretch and recovery. They have it in a whole load of different colours - I see plenty more of these in my future. It's one of those garments I miss severely when it's in the laundry basket.

This one is a shiny shiny leotard fabric picked up from somewhere on Goldhawk Road. Our pattern cutter made a sample in this fabric during the development process and I loved it, so thought I'd make one for myself. However, the shiny, shadow-casting fabric shows up every seam line of my bra and every single wrinkle of fabric is exaggerated. Plus it's very booby! I'll spare you a pic of me wearing it :) I reckon a black leotard fabric wouldn't be so unforgiving though - it'd look pretty cool, non?

I lurrrve this one (sigh). The fabric is from somewhere on Goldhawk Road again, it's a slinky viscose-lycra kinda thing. I wear it a lot tucked into jeans or skirts (pictured here with one of my Miette skirts) - basically it goes with everything.

For this one, I added both the ruched neckline and ruched sleeve. The rose-print jersey is from Walthamstow yeeears ago. You may not be able to tell from the photo, but the background is a lovely dark petrol blue. The jersey is quite a bit drapier than the blue and white stripe fabric (below), so the puff in the sleeves is less pronounced. Still cute though.

Last but not least, this is the version that you may have seen in the pattern instructions and model shots - it seems to be popular on Instagram :) It was sewn to the model's measurements so is a little big for me around the shoulders and upper chest, but I've been wearing it happily anyway. I bought the fabric from a company called Montreux Fabrics at the Knitting and Stitching Show this Spring. I tried emailing them to see if they still had it, but didn't hear back unfortunately. Again, it goes well with jeans, shorts, and all kinds of skirts (I'm wearing a denim Arielle skirt here with anchor buttons).

So those are some of my Agnes tops. I'm really looking forward to seeing yours! Take a look at the previous post on fabric suggestions for Agnes if you haven't seen it already. What fabric are you going to use?

[Soundtrack: 'Soul of Fire' by LaVern Baker]

5 June 2015

Fabric Ideas for the Agnes Sewing Pattern

Fabric ideas for the Agnes sewing pattern
Making the Agnes sewing pattern? Let's talk fabric shopping!

Agnes is a close-fitting top, with in-built "negative ease", meaning that the finished top is actually smaller than your body measurements - so you need to sew it in stretchy knit fabric (as opposed to woven fabric or low-stretch knit fabric) to get a nice fit over your curves.

We recommend light- to medium-weight stretch knit fabrics, such as cotton jersey, viscose jersey or wool jersey, with at least 25% crosswise stretch. What does that mean? That means that if you stretch the fabric along the direction with the most amount of stretch, or along the grain that's at right angles to the finished edges, it should stretch at least 25% longer than its resting width. If you sign up to our online workshop, Learn to Sew Jersey Tops, you can watch a video in which I demonstrate exactly how to test fabric stretch. Two-way stretch is enough - the fabric doesn't have to stretch in all directions. If the fabric listing says it's jersey fabric and includes 5% elastane, spandex or Lycra, it's probably stretchy enough for Agnes.

One of the things I love the most about this top is its versatility. You can make it in a lightweight cotton jersey for Summer, a sweater knit for Winter, I've even made one in leotard fabric just because! I'll show you some of my own Agnes tops soon, but in the meantime Vanessa's been digging around the internet to bring you some suggestions for what to make your own Agnes tops in...

Fabric ideas for the Agnes sewing pattern
Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Fabric ideas for the Agnes sewing pattern
Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 (I've made Agnes top from this pink and white stripe cotton jersey - the fabric is fantastic quality and soooo soft)

Fabric ideas for the Agnes sewing pattern
Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Fabric ideas for the Agnes sewing pattern
Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Fabric ideas for the Agnes sewing pattern
Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Please note that we haven't actually seen or handled most of these fabrics in person, so do order a swatch to check suitability before buying if you're not sure. Ooh and the prints in our little illustrations aren't to scale! For more information, the fabric requirements, supplies list and sizing chart are all listed on the Agnes sewing pattern page.

What fabric are you going to make your first Agnes top in? We can't wait to see... Happy fabric shopping!

PS. Don't forget the early bird special fee for the Learn to Sew Jersey Tops online workshop finishes this coming Monday 8 June 2015 at 9am GMT!

2 June 2015

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - Take Our Online Workshop From Home!

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online sewing course

Want to be able to make comfortable, wearable tops for every day?

Want to take your sewing skills to the next level with an introduction to sewing stretchy jersey fabric?

Don’t have an overlocker or serger – or just don’t like using it?

Fancy taking a Tilly and the Buttons workshop – but can’t get to London?

No problemo... Introducing our first online workshop that you can take from the comfort of your own home - Learn to Sew Jersey Tops… on a regular sewing machine!

Watch the trailer!

 Register for our online workshop - Learn to Sew Jersey Tops

Who is the workshop for?

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops is suitable for advanced beginners and improvers - you’ll need to be comfortable using a sewing machine and have experience sewing a few things already. I’ll take you through essential tips and techniques to get you feeling confident sewing jersey on a regular sewing machine, without overwhelming you with too much information. If you’re a fan of the Coco sewing pattern, a loose-fitting garment designed for low-stretch knits, the Agnes top, which we'll be sewing in the course, is the perfect next step to build your skills and get to grips with handling stretchier knit fabric and sewing a close-fitting top.

Why jersey?

Jersey tops are comfortable, wearable and practical for every day. They’re also quick to sew and easy to fit once you know how. Yet many people are scared of sewing stretchy jersey, and you might think that you need to get an overlocker or serger to be able to sew with it. I want to show you that it doesn’t have to be tricky, and that you can sew jersey on your regular sewing machine. I’m hoping to get you hooked on sewing jersey!

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online sewing course

What will I learn?

  • How to make the gorgeous and wearable Agnes top, in a variety of different styles – destined to become your new wardrobe staple!
  • Tips, techniques and tools for sewing jersey on a regular sewing machine
  • How to choose the right jersey fabric for your project
  • Techniques for cutting and stabilising jersey so it doesn’t stretch out of shape
  • No-fuss fitting for jersey tops (so much easier than fitting woven clothing!)
  • How to attach a neckband that won’t gape
  • Steps for sewing both plain sleeves and puffed sleeve
  • How to use elastic to create adorable ruched necklines and sleeves
  • Transferrable sewing skills that you can use again and again

You’ll also get a free digital copy of the Agnes sewing pattern to print and assemble at home, plus a discount for the printed pattern (available through the course platform).

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online sewing course

How do online workshops work?

One of the best things about sewing is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home, at a time that suits you, without having to travel anywhere special, or schedule any time off work. Now you can take a sewing workshop with me (Tilly) in your own time and space too. You can even do it in your pyjamas if you like!

When you register for the workshop, you’ll get instant access to a member-only course website. The lessons are taught through a combination of video, text, and printable check lists, viewable on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Yes, video! It’s so helpful to see sewing in action, in moving images.

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online sewing course

I’ve designed this course to be manageable and actionable – the lessons are broken down into bitesize chunks, with practical action points so you can get sewing straight after watching each step. You can record and track your progress as you go to keep you motivated, and I’m hoping that the participants will form a supportive online community.

There are no set dates or deadlines for this workshop – you’ll get instant access, and you can start and finish the course at a time that suits you. While we can’t guarantee “lifetime access”, you know, in case of digital apocalypse or something, you’ll have access to the course for as long as it’s available – we’re not planning to take it down any time soon. It’s self-paced, so it’s totally up to you whether you binge watch the whole thing in one weekend, or spread it out over ten or more evenings – whatever suits you. And you can pause, rewind and rewatch the lessons as much as you like – so if you forget how to do something, you can always check back.

How much is it?

Less than half the price of a face-to-face workshop, with no travel costs either – hooray! The fee is $69 (US dollars), which includes a digital version of the Agnes sewing pattern. If you'd like a printed version of the pattern, there's a 20% discount code for workshop participants - you'll see it on the Agnes sewing pattern page of the workshop once you've signed up.

In British pounds, that’s roughly £45 (sorry I can’t tell you exactly how much it is as currency conversion rates fluctuate). The reason the price is in US dollars rather than British pounds is because that’s the only currency used by the course platform - I’m sorry if that’s annoying for British people, we'd like to develop our own course platform in the future if the workshop is popular so we can get around limitations such as this. Good news for our friends in the US, though! ☺

Remember – you can revisit this workshop as many times as you like, whenever it suits you.

Learn to Sew Jersey Tops - online sewing course

What equipment do I need to take part?

You’ll need a sewing machine with an adjustable width zigzag stitch, plus a computer, tablet or smartphone to watch the lessons on. You don’t need an overlocker/serger or coverstitch machine for this workshop! There are a few other low cost supplies that I find helpful for sewing jersey fabric – I’ll talk you through them in the workshop.

Any other questions? Take a look at our FAQ, or feel free to ask in the comments below.

 Register for our online sewing course - Learn to Sew Jersey Tops

I’m looking forward to welcoming you to the workshop!

[Many thanks to Dan Matthews, Jimmy Barnett and Charlie Moore at ramshackle.tv for their incredibly hard work producing the videos! If the Vikings can make it to Canada...]

Introducing the Agnes Sewing Pattern

Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jerseyAgnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey

Meet the Agnes sewing pattern – your new favourite top!

Agnes is a close-fitting jersey top, speedy to sew and simple to fit, finished with a narrow band at the neckline.

Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey
Agnes is the ultimate wardrobe staple – a wearable classic, that’s comfortable and practical for every day. It’s also incredibly versatile, with a number of variations - choose from long sleeves or sleeves cropped above the elbow (which are also easy to shorten even further); plain sleeves or sleeves that are ruched and puffed at the shoulder; flattering scoop neckline or adorable ruched sweetheart neckline.

Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey
Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey
Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey

The close-fitting silhouette looks great tucked into a skirt (such as Arielle, Miette, Delphine or Clemence), or worn casually with jeans or Summer shorts.

You’ll want to make this top again and again – and wear it all the time!

Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey
The easy-to-use sewing pattern includes clearly labelled pattern pieces that show you which seams are which, step-by-step photo instructions and helpful tips for sewing jersey on a regular sewing machine – no overlocker or serger required!

The pattern is suitable for confident beginners or improvers – jersey isn’t the easiest fabric to sew, so ideally you should have made a few garments before. If you’re a fan of the Coco sewing pattern, a loose-fitting garment designed for low-stretch knits, Agnes is the perfect next step to build your skills and get to grips with handling stretchier knit fabric and sewing a close-fitting top. Scared of sewing jersey and want an accessible introduction? Check out our exciting accompaniment!

Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey

Order the printed pattern and we’ll send you a beautiful pattern in the post, with full size pattern sheets and colour booklet. We ship around the world, or in the next few days you’ll also be able to order the pattern from one of our lovely stockists.

Order the digital pattern and we’ll email you instantly with a PDF version of the pattern and instructions to print and stick together at home.

The pattern comes in eight different sizes – see our sizing chart. We recommend making it in light- to medium-weight stretch knit fabrics, such as cotton jersey, viscose jersey or wool jersey. Check that the fabric can be stretched crosswise at least 25% wider than its original width. You can see the full supplies list and fabric requirements, and we'll talk more about choosing fabric in a forthcoming post.

Agnes sewing pattern - learn to sew jersey

But wait - there’s more! Want an accessible introduction to sewing jersey fabric? Check out our exciting accompaniment to the Agnes sewing pattern - Learn to Sew Jersey Tops online workshop!

[Photography: Fanni Williams / Hair and make up: Elbie van Eeden / Model: Stephanie Lewis / Pattern graphic design: Arielle Gamble / Special thanks to all the lovely pattern testers for your discerning eyes and invaluable feedback]