19 October 2018

Inspiration and fabrics for making your Nora top

Inspiration and fabrics for making your Nora - by Tilly and the Buttons

If you haven’t already heard, there’s a new knit top in town that is destined to become one of your favourite things to make! Just like our popular Coco pattern, Nora is quick and easy to sew and will slot into your wardrobe like it’s always been there.

You can make Nora from a multitude of knit fabrics - from single jersey, to sweater knits, double knits, and stretch velvet – there are so many lovely options to choose from. The best part is the fabric can transform the shape, from being more structured, to floatier and fluid.

16 October 2018

NEW PATTERNS! Introducing the Ness skirt

Ness skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the ButtonsNess skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the ButtonsNess skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the ButtonsNess skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Today is one of those days that just keeps on getting better as we have a second brand new sewing pattern for you! Check out my previous post to read all about the Nora top if you missed it - and read on to find out about Ness.

Grab the Ness + Nora bundle for £20
- save 20% until 28th October

The Ness skirt is a timeless design that also happens to be all over the high street at the moment. If you're wondering what to wear this autumn/winter season, Ness is the answer, with a Freya sweater or Rosa shirt tucked in... plus it's versatile enough for when the weather warms up next year too - hooray!

Ness skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

NEW PATTERNS! Meet the Nora Top

Nora sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
Nora sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

It's an exciting day as we have two gorgeous new sewing patterns to introduce you to! Nora and Ness are modern, stylish and effortlessly wearable. Our team has already made multiple versions of each patterns - we're officially obsessed!

Grab the Nora + Ness bundle for £20
- save 20% until 28th October

First, let me tell you all about Nora...

Nora sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
Nora sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

If you like Coco, you'll love Nora. Quick and simple to make, easy to fit, extremely wearable and oh so versatile - what's not to like? Whip up Nora as a high neck sweater, top or t-shirt in a range of stretch knit fabrics, from sweater knits to jersey.

10 October 2018

Sewing Space Tours... New Craft House's Snazzy Studio

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

For today's Sewing Space Tour, where we peek behind the closed doors at a crafter's inspiring sewing space, we're in East London with Hannah and Rosie, the talented sewists and business partners behind the sewing studio and workshop haven The New Craft House.

Hannah and Rosie are well known for their variety of interesting workshops and of course their excellent sewing parties! Over to the ladies...

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

Hello! We’re Hannah and Rosie and we run The New Craft House. We have a studio in a railway arch in Hackney, London where we run lots of sewing workshops. We also host Pop Up fabric stores, organise our famous sewist parties and teach private classes. As well as teaching our own classes like Bra Making, Learn to Sew Swimwear and Jeans Making we also host other well-known sewists and businesses like Heather Lou from Closet Case Patterns, Elisalex from By Hand London, and Saara and Laura from Named Clothing to run workshops. Our studio gets a LOT of use!

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

We’re very lucky to have a studio where we can surround ourselves with all of our sewing supplies. We both love East London so knew we wanted to be based around here and the studio is super light and spacious - great for sewing! We both live on narrowboats and there are lots of waterways out East for us to call home, so we’re often moored really close to the studio.

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

We run our business from the studio and spend most of our time listing new workshops, sorting out upcoming classes, sewing workshop samples or posting out orders, but we also manage to sneak in a bit of selfish sewing time! Rosie has been sewing some maternity things lately and Hannah has made lots of merino turtlenecks ready for Autumn.

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

As we both run off solar on our narrowboats, we don’t use our sewing machines there. We use our evenings to knit, do English Paper Piecing, embroider and prep pattern pieces. Bra pieces are made for narrowboats because they’re so small you can easily cut them at your dinner table. Bra Making is still one of our most popular classes and we love teaching people how to make their own well-fitting bras - it’s really empowering.

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

West Elm kindly offered to furnish our studio for us which was amazing! Having a nice desk and a comfortable chair is essential for productivity, especially when you’re sewing a lot. We also got some of their ceramic planters, big tables for workshops and an amazing sideboard where we serve drinks and snacks in classes. To go alongside our West Elm furniture we picked up some pieces from IKEA to pull everything together, including some peg boards which are super handy AND pretty.

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

We’re still in the process of finishing decorating and we’d like more prints to hang and a lot more plants. I think we have quite a similar style to each other and we’re both set on creating an inspiring, creative space where workshop attendees feel welcome. We spend a lot of time in here so it’s so important to make it a nice place for us to spend time too.

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

We’re not the most organised people! The peg boards have really helped with storing scissors and other sewing supplies and of course we’ve got one of those IKEA trolleys for wheeling out when we’re sewing! How could you have a sewing room without one?!

We have a very established sewing ritual. We make tea, get a nice sweet treat and then put on some trashy TV - and we’re talking seriously trashy reality shows. We’re also big podcast listeners - Stitcher’s Brew and Love To Sew are our favourites. Hannah’s dog Twigs is our studio companion although she spends most of her time asleep in the corner.

Sewing Space Tours The New Craft House

We love our studio and we love welcoming lots of different people from all over the world into our space. Have a look at all of our upcoming classes and perhaps we’ll see you here soon too!

Thank you Hannah and Rosie for showing us around your bright and brilliant sewing studio!

We've loved seeing behind the scenes at the New Craft House and we can't wait to see what workshops will be announced next :) Our Louise and Jenny have attended the bra making and the swim wear classes and loved them and Tilly has been to the jeans making workshop with Heather Lou!

Have you seen the rest of our Sewing Space Tours? Head over and check them out!

3 October 2018

Tips for Sewing with Sequin Fabrics

Tips for Sewing Sequin Fabrics - Tilly and the Buttons

If you're thinking about making a dress for the festive season, you might be pondering how to make it a showstopper. May I suggest adding some head-turning sparkle with sequins? Sequin fabrics can definitely be time-consuming to sew, but just think of the wow factor as you swan into that soirée!

Tips for Sewing Sequin Fabrics - Tilly and the Buttons
Tips for Sewing Sequin Fabrics - Tilly and the Buttons

For one of the versions of the Joni dress pattern from my book Stretch! I used a sequin knit on the skirt part. (I didn't use sequins on the bodice as the twist front would be a bit bulky and scratchy against your skin.) Sequin knit fabrics have sequins sewn onto a knitted base material, such as mesh. They work well with simple styles with few seams. The stretch factor makes them easy to fit and relatively comfortable to wear.

Tips for Sewing Sequin Fabrics - Tilly and the Buttons

Here are my tips for sewing with sequin fabrics...

26 September 2018

Five Ways to Wear Dungarees

Five ways to wear dungarees - by Tilly and the Buttons

Have you jumped on the dungarees bandwagon yet? If you haven’t, these styling tips may persuade you to stitch this oh-so-versatile garment!

It’s Louise here, and I have been living in dungarees for years now – but I must admit it wasn’t love at first sight. Ever since I purchased my first pair, I have been playing around with styling my dungas to go from smart, to casual, to chic. I wanted to look like a stylish grown-up and not like a children’s TV presenter (that’s the fear, right?).

They are one of the easiest pieces to put on in the morning, as you have the main body of the outfit complete and just have to think about what to put underneath. Dungarees work for all ages - you just have to find the styling that speaks to you and wear it with a big smile!

Our Mila dungarees sewing pattern has a slim, modern silhouette, that is perfect for every day wear. I made my Milas from a gorgeous petrol stretch needlecord from Bobbins n Buttons and opted for the classic buckles.

Five ways to wear dungarees - by Tilly and the Buttons
Five ways to wear dungarees - by Tilly and the Buttons

19 September 2018

Sewing For The Season - Autumn

Want some drool-worthy inspo for sewing all the cosy, autumnal things? It’s Louise here and I have been planning my autumn wardrobe for quite some time (I can’t wait to get into corduroy and french terry!) – so I thought I’d share some project ideas.

I think it may be one of the most satisfying times to sew for, as you can layer up your me-mades and feel oh so snuggly. So grab a cuppa and enjoy this little lot : )
Autumn sewing inspiration
Clockwise L-R : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7
Autumn sewing inspiration
Clockwise L-R : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

12 September 2018

Ten Tips for Tip Top Topstitching

Ten Tips for Topstitching - Tilly and the Buttons

Have you ever struggled with topstitching? All topstitching is is stitching that shows on the right side (outside) of your clothes, which sounds simple enough... However it can be fiddly to get the stitches looking neat and, if you're using dedicated topstitch thread, you may have experienced skipped stitches, unbalanced thread tension and clumpy thread knots.

Ten Tips for Topstitching - Tilly and the Buttons
Ten Tips for Topstitching - Tilly and the Buttons

The simplest way to avoid topstitching woes is to use regular thread that matches the colour of your fabric, so it's only visible up close. No, that's not cheating! 

But if you want to make a feature of contrast topstitch thread, I'm here to share a video with my top ten tips for getting your topstitching looking top notch. I hope this will help make your topstitching a breeze. These little tricks definitely make it easier to get it looking neat :)

This video is an extract from my online workshop, Sew Your Own Shirt or Shirt Dress, in which I guide you step-by-step through making the Rosa pattern. The tips should be useful for whatever you're topstitching though - you can also use them for making the Cleo dungaree dress, Mila dungarees, or a pattern we have coming this Autumn ;)

Ten Tips for Topstitching - Tilly and the Buttons
Ten Tips for Topstitching - Tilly and the Buttons

To summarise the video:

  1. Try a topstitch or embroidery needle in your machine, and make sure it’s sharp.
  2. Use topstitch thread as your spool only (on top of your machine), with regular thread that matches your fabric in the bobbin.
  3. Lengthen the stitches to 3 or 3.5mm to create a straighter-looking line.
  4. Press well before topstitching to flatten out the seams.
  5. Sew with the garment right sides up so the topstitch thread ends up on the outside!
  6. Stabilise lightweight or drapey fabrics with spray starch or by sewing with a layer of tissue paper under the seam.
  7. Try using an edgestitch foot to sew (edgestitch) the row closest to the seam. Or shift the needle to one side if you can do that on your machine, and keep the seam lined up with the centre of the presser foot.
  8. Avoid back tacking. On seams that won’t be crossed, leave loose tails of thread. Then tug the bobbin thread to pull a loop of topstitch thread to the wrong side, and tie the threads in a double knot by hand.
  9. If you need to unpick, rip out the bobbin thread on the wrong side and pull the thicker topstitch thread out as a single thread.
  10. Finish with a good steamy press!
Ten Tips for Topstitching - Tilly and the Buttons

I hope this helps. As always, if you have your own tips to add, do share them in the comments below. There's always more to learn!


5 September 2018

Your Makes!

Tilly and the Buttons Your Makes Joni
It's time again to be dazzled by all of the gorgeous makes from the lovely sewing community. It's Jenny here, as summer is drawing to a close I thought I’d round up all of the fabulous inspirational sewing you have been up to.

Lilac has been a very popular colour in our office lately and this Joni dress by Carrie is fulfilling all of our lilac-y dreams. We’re loving the watermelon print Carmen has used for her Joni, it’s perfect for summer. Find Joni in our book Stretch!

Tilly and the Buttons Your Makes Stevie

Stevie has been the dream outfit for summer, its boxy shape means you can feel breezy and cool whilst still looking effortlessly chic. Holly’s hibiscus print Stevie dress is eye-catching and gorgeous! The beautiful pineapple print on green background that Bonnie has used for her Stevie dress will be perfect for transitioning to autumn months and layering.

Tilly and the Buttons Your Makes Bibi

29 August 2018

Evolution of our Pattern Envelopes

Evolution of our Pattern Envelopes - Tilly and the Buttons

Bit of a trip down memory lane today... You may have seen that we recently gave our sewing pattern covers a makeover, which got me reminiscing about how the artwork has changed over the years. I had a dig around and found different versions of the covers - I thought you might like to see how far we've come!

But first, our amazing assistant Jenny made a little video to showcase our new envelopes... isn't it cute?

You might find today's post particularly helpful if you're starting your own venture and are stuck on trying to make everything perfect from the outset. Launching and growing a business involves starting where you can and iterating regularly to improve over time. I definitely started small with Tilly and the Buttons, and it's still a work in progress every single day. I've written more about this in a couple of posts before - tips for turning your hobby into a business and achieving your goals.

22 August 2018

A Dreamy Double Gauze Stevie Top

Tilly's dreamy double gauze Stevie top - Tilly and the Buttons
Tilly's dreamy double gauze Stevie top - Tilly and the Buttons

My everyday wardrobe is seeing more and more versions of our Stevie pattern on rotation. I've made two dresses, which have seen me through the never-ending London heatwave, and my third version is this top, which I think is my favourite one yet.

Tilly's dreamy double gauze Stevie top - Tilly and the Buttons
Tilly's dreamy double gauze Stevie top - Tilly and the Buttons

The fabric is a beautiful double gauze that I found on Etsy. If you haven't handled it before, double gauze is made up of two layers of very fine cotton gauze woven together, giving it a lightweight-yet-not-thick, almost cloud-like - marshmallow-like, if you will - feel. Yes, it's as dreamy as it sounds! I thought the stripes would be horizontal, so was a bit thrown when it arrived and they were vertical, but I've come round to it and think I like it more this way.

15 August 2018

Sewing Space Tours.... Lladybird's Charming Studio

Lladybird Sewing Space Tours - Tilly and the Buttons

For today's sewing space tour where we peek behind the closed doors at a crafter's inspiring sewing room, we're in Nashville TN with Lauren, the inspiring sewist behind the captivating Lladybird Blog.

Lauren is well known for sharing no-nonsense sewing realness and being hilariously forthright about everything she makes. We've admired her sewing knowledge and passion for the craft for years and are so excited to share where her sewing magic happens!

Lladybird Sewing Space Tours - Tilly and the Buttons

Hello everyone! My name is Lauren Taylor, and I blog at LLADYBIRD.com. I live in the US - in Nashville, TN (born and raised!). I do lots of sewing-related jobs - I manage the class schedule at Craft South, I am an on-set tailor for commercial photoshoots and videos, and I teach a Sew Your Own Jeans Workshop that travels around the US and Canada!

Even with all this going on, I still manage to find plenty of time to sew. I love to make garments and I sew almost everything I wear at this point - including exercise gear, pajamas, and even underwear! I also dabble in several other creative pursuits - including knitting, embroidery, calligraphy, painting (watercolors and acrylic) and sketching - which means I have a lot of supplies that need to be corralled in one space!

Lladybird Sewing Space Tours - Tilly and the Buttons

8 August 2018

Five Tips for Neat Understitching

Five Tips for Neat Understitching - Tilly and the Buttons

There are various types of stitching that a DIY dressmaker needs in their toolkit – topstitching, staystitching, edgestitching… and let’s not forget understitching!

What is understitching? Once you’ve joined a facing or lining to a garment, you then stitch the facing or lining to the seam allowances – both its own and those of the piece it’s joining.

Why understitch? The aim of the game is to help keep the facing or lining on the inside of the garment once it’s turned to the inside – stitching it to the seam allowances means it’s less likely to roll out.

Five Tips for Neat Understitching - Tilly and the Buttons

It’s one of those steps that is tempting to skip if you just want to get on and finish your project. But making the effort to understitch can help make your homemade garment look much more professional, and means you won’t have any annoying inside bits peeping out when you wear it.

Here are some tips on creating a neat finish with your understitching…

1 August 2018

Our New Studio!

Tilly and the Buttons Studio Tour

Fancy a look at our gorgeous new studio space? It's Katie here and I'm so excited to be able to share a little behind the scenes look at our new home today!

Tilly and the Buttons Studio Tour
Earlier this year we began to realise we were outgrowing our studio space. When we first moved into our lovely South London premises back in 2014 things were quite different for Tilly and the Buttons. Tilly had decided to have more of a clear divide between work and home life, as until then her office had been based out of her flat. She hoped that making the big move to a separate office space would help the business to grow and encourage her to be more ambitious. To say that worked would be an understatement!

Tilly and the Buttons Studio Tour

Four years ago Tilly had three patterns, her first book Love At First Stitch and had just hired her first part time assistant. Jump to today and our team has grown to a group of five fabulous women, sending our collection of 17 patterns and 2 books to customers all over the world!

Tilly and the Buttons Studio