28 December 2018

2018 at Tilly Towers

Behind the scenes at Tilly and the Buttons


Looking back on another year, I can't quite believe everything that has happened at Tilly and the Buttons HQ! As the business owner, it's been a very different year from previous ones as I've been working part time so I can look after my little boy, who is now 15 months. The juggle is a struggle and, while I looooove being able to spend time with my son, I do often find myself frustrated that I can't get more done at work. Yet looking back on everything we achieved this year, I feel proud of myself and the team for what we managed to do - in terms of product launches, events and growing the team behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes at Tilly and the Buttons
Behind the scenes at Tilly and the Buttons

Over the year we had four new stars join the team - Sales and Communications Manager Louise (who previously worked here in a different role), Sewing Pattern Developer Serefina, Office Manager Kate and Product Manager Nikki. They are all amazing at what they do, bringing ideas and enthusiasm to help the company get better bit by bit. Plus we had another baby Buttons arrival, Katie's daughter Posey - awwwww!

26 December 2018

Learn a New Sewing Skill with Online Video Workshops

Learn a new sewing skill with online video workshops
Learn a new sewing skill with online video workshops

If you're getting into sewing or are looking to expand your skills, you might be looking for a fairy stitch-mother to show you the way! Enter Tilly - your sewing guru, who is here to guide you through techniques, tricks and head scratching moments.

We have a range of online video workshops that cater for every skill level and can be taken at your own pace with 24/7 access. You can take the classes from the comfort of your own home (PJs are optional), and Tilly will be there to break things down every step of the way, with clear instructions. The courses are split into modules, making it easy to revisit useful sections in later projects.

If you fancy taking a workshop there is no better time, as we have 40% off ALL of our online workshops until Wednesday 2 January 11.59pm GMT. Just pop in the code TAKEALESSON at the check out and the discount will be taken off.

So now onto the workshops...

Beginner friendly online sewing workshops
Make Friends with a Sewing Machine

21 December 2018

A Snuggly Sunday Outfit of Dreams

Snuggly Stella hoodie dress - Tilly and the Buttons
Snuggly Stella hoodie dress - Tilly and the Buttons

Do you wear me-made clothes for lounging? As home sewists, we love to get out and about in our handmade wardrobe to show off what we've made, but it can be equally nice to look down on your outfit while chillaxing on the sofa and feel smug that you made it yourself.

18 December 2018

Sew a Xmas Sweater Contest - and the Winner is...

Sew a Xmas Sweater Contest - and the winner is...

Boy, you guys have had fun with our Sew a Xmas Sweater Contest! We are simply blown away with the creative entries that have had us smiling from ear-to-ear every time they hit our inbox.

The entries are in, the judges have cast their votes, and we are VERY happy to announce our prize winners! Drumroll please...

Sew a Xmas Sweater Contest - and the winner is...
Sew a Xmas Sweater Contest - and the winner is...

14 December 2018

Team Buttons DIY Christmas Jumpers

Team Buttons DIY Christmas Jumpers


Here at Tilly Towers we've been so inspired by all of your entries for our Sew A Xmas Sweater contest that we decided to join in the fun and make our own. As you'll be able to tell from the pictures, we definitely enjoyed ourselves :)

From pom poms and glitter to sparkly vinyls, once we began there was no holding us back. It was the first time for all of us using iron-on vinyls, gifted to us from Happy Fabric, who also supplied the grand prize for the contest. Now we want to embellish ALL the clothes to make them dazzle!

Team Buttons DIY Christmas Jumpers
Team Buttons DIY Christmas Jumpers

11 December 2018

Ten Favourite Posts Of 2018

Adventures in baby clothesmaking 
This blog is approaching its nine year anniversary, can you believe it? In 2018 we've continued to share sewing tips and tutorials, inspiration and peeks behind the scenes at Tilly Towers. Here are some of the most popular posts from the blog from the past 12 months in case you missed them...

Adventures in baby clothesmaking

5 December 2018

Nutty about Nora - Team Makes!

Nora Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons - Team Makes


You could say we’re Nora obsessed, but can you blame us? Our latest pattern Nora is an easy-to-make boxy top, she's speedy, versatile and adaptable, what’s not to love? Once you make one, you'll be hooked!

Since we've had the Nora pattern in our hands we've made a whopping 23 Noras between us. Wow! That's true sewing love. We've put together this team makes post to show off our favourite Noras in all their glory :)

Nora Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons - Team Makes


28 November 2018

How to Make a Christmas Confetti Sweater

How to Make a Christmas Confetti Sweater with Sew Jessalli and Tilly and the Buttons

Want a fun and festive way to decorate an old sweater or one you've made yourself?

You might have seen our Sew an Xmas Sweater Contest, where we are challenging you to stitch and embellish one of our patterns to win some fantastic prizes (closing Dec 9). Sophia Palmer, of Sew Jessalli, is a pro at embellishing and a wonderful judge in our contest, so we just had to ask her to share her skills with us.

Sophia creates and sells the most gorgeous personalised gifts (perfect for xmas pressies) and teaches sewing workshops from her studio in Dorset - we are particularly taken with the 'Revamp Your Sweater' workshop.

Over to the lovely Sophia to show us how she made this gorgeous Nora top with glittery baubles and machine embroidered felt stars...

How to Make a Christmas Confetti Sweater with Sew Jessalli and Tilly and the Buttons
How to Make a Christmas Confetti Sweater with Sew Jessalli and Tilly and the Buttons

23 November 2018

How to Make a Fairy Lights Xmas Sweater



Tis’ the season to be lit up like a Christmas Tree! Is this the cutest Christmas sweater ever or is this the cutest Christmas sweater ever? If you fancy making your own, Marnie from Happy Fabric has created a quick and easy tutorial for how to upcycle a top using vinyl sheets that you cut and press onto your garment. Enter your DIY into our Xmas Sweater Contest if you want a chance to win some amazing goodies!

You will need:

  • 1x A4 sheet HappyGlitter for the baubles in each of the following colours: red, orange, gold, kelly green, royal blue, lavender, egg plant.
    (Suited for cotton, polyester, poly/cotton blends, sublimated polyester.) 
  • 1x metre of HappyFlex in black for the wire and top of bauble.
    (Suited for cotton, polyester and poly/cotton blends.)
  • Iron
  • Greaseproof paper 
  • Ball point pen 
  • Scissors
  • Sweater, t-shirt or sweatshirt

Lay out your sweatshirt and plan out where you want the wire of the lights to go. For this one we will be creating a squiggly line going from the right shoulder down to the waist on the left. Once you have an idea, lay the black vinyl across the jumper facing down. With a pen begin to draw your squiggly line. Remember when you turn your vinyl over to be ironed it will be in the reverse. Once you are happy with line you have drawn, draw another line running alongside your first line about 5mm (1/4in) apart, then cut it out.

Xmas Sweater Christmas Lights Tutorial


21 November 2018

Black Friday Sewing Goodies Sale

 Shop all the Black Friday offers at Tilly and the Buttons

Our biggest sale of the year is here, with up to 40% off sewing goodies - yay!

We have discounts on patterns, books, fabric, and more so make sure you check out these very special offers. You can build your stash, or give the gift of sewing this Christmas - you decide : )

The Black Friday sewing goodies sale must end Monday 26 November midnight GMT, so don't miss out!

 Shop all the Black Friday offers at Tilly and the Buttons
 Shop all the Black Friday offers at Tilly and the Buttons
 Shop all the Black Friday offers at Tilly and the Buttons
 Shop all the Black Friday offers at Tilly and the Buttons

17 November 2018

Design Your Own Fabric with Spoonflower! - Part Two

Design Your Own Fabric With Spoonflower


Welcome to part two of designing your own fabric with Spoonflower! If you missed part one you can find it here. Now that you have finished making your design (yay!), it’s time to start cleaning them up and getting them ready for Spoonflower to print. With the help of our wonderful teacher Suzie, we have put together some retouching tips for you.

You will need
  • Scanner
  • Computer
  • Adobe Photoshop or any photo editing software of your choice
  • Internet - to upload to Spoonflower
  • Biscuits (as a treat for designing your own fabric, of course!)

Design Your Own Fabric with Spoonflower



The following steps are shown using Adobe Photoshop, if you use an alternative editing software these may differ.

After opening up your scanned design in Photoshop (or equivalent) you’ll want to begin by adjusting the image using Levels (Image > Adjustments > Levels). If you move the slider (on the right) to the left it will brighten the image, making the whites more white. And by moving the opposite slider (on the left) to the right this will make the blacks more black. This helps to brighten up scans and make the ‘paper’ background disappear. 

Design Your Own Fabric with Spoonflower



15 November 2018

Design Your Own Fabric with Spoonflower! - Part One

Designing your own fabric with Spoonflower - by Tilly and the Buttons

Have you ever wanted to design your own fabric? If you're anything like us at TATB, the idea of not only making your own garment, but designing fabric to go with it, makes us squeal with excitement! We have teamed up with Spoonflower to show you how to design your own seamless repeat pattern.

Spoonflower enables you to upload your own designs and print them onto so many different fabrics. Their digital printing process uses eco-friendly, water-based pigment inks and dyes that produce very little waste. They hold the largest collection of independent designers in the world, so you can browse a wealth of designs - but why not have a go yourself?

Spoonflower asked the lovely Suzie to come along to our studio to teach us how to design our own seamless repeat pattern, which is then scanned to become a print. Suzie is a wonderful print designer from Suzie London and is based in the cutest shop (that she describes as a shed) in North London.

Let the designing commence!

Designing your own fabric with Spoonflower - by Tilly and the Buttons
Designing your own fabric with Spoonflower - by Tilly and the Buttons

14 November 2018

Say Hello to A0!

Tilly and the Buttons digital patterns now include A0 pattern files!

If you're a digital pattern lover, you may be excited to hear that we now include A0 copy shop patterns with all your PDF purchases. We received feedback that many of you would love to have this option, so have been beavering away to get the files set up for all our patterns - phew!

You might be wondering what the A0 copy shop option means. Well, you can have your pattern printed on a large format printer directly onto A0 paper. Take the files to a local copy shop, or stay at home and get your pattern printed and delivered to your door by our favourite printing option, Netprinter.

Your pattern will be printed on one, two or very occasionally three large sheets (depending on the size of the pattern) and you'll be able to cut your project straight out without having to stick any of the pages together.

When you buy a PDF pattern from us, you'll still get the option of A4 / Letter sheets to print at home, as well as the large format option if that's what you prefer.

8 November 2018

Sew a Xmas Sweater Contest

Tilly and the Buttons contest - Sew a Xmas Sweater!

We are so excited announce announce a very festive Tilly and the Buttons contest! Everyone is invited to join us in stitching and embellishing a Tilly and the Buttons' sewing pattern to wear for the holiday season. We are using the term 'xmas sweater' loosely - it could be a Christmas sweater, Hanukah hoodie or Diwali turtleneck... as long as it's festive a snuggly it will fit the bill!

Creativity is key here – we are not going to be checking seams, hemlines or fastenings, we want you to have fun and be free to add the wow factor to your project. We suggest using Coco, Stella, Nora, and Freya – as they’re all pretty speedy to make and cosy to wear. Embellish, embroider and applique to your hearts content. Here is a little inspo to give you some ideas for what you could do : )

Tilly and the Buttons contest - Sew a Xmas Sweater!
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

5 November 2018

Free Coin Pocket Pattern! Add this to Your Ness Skirt

Free Coin Pocket Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Fancy adding a little something extra to your Ness skirt? A coin pocket will heighten the jeans-inspired detailing on this classic skirt. And there’s no such thing as too many pockets, amirite?

We’ve created a bonus pattern piece that you can download for free, plus instructions below on how to add it to your skirt.


Free Coin Pocket Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

The pattern prints on one sheet of A4 or Letter size paper. You won’t need any extra fabric – the pattern piece is small and will fit on the fabric around the other pieces.

2 November 2018

How to shorten a metal zip

How to shorten a metal zip - Tilly and the Buttons

Zip too long for your pattern? It’s not always easy to find a good quality zip in the right colour and type that you need which also happens to be the exact length stated in a sewing pattern’s supplies list.

Never fear – you can always get one that’s a bit longer than needed and cut it down.

You may have shortened an invisible zip before by sewing a bar tack over the teeth to create a new bottom stop. But if you’re using a zip with metal teeth, as needed for our Ness skirt sewing pattern, there’s a different approach you can take.

I’m going to show you how to shorten a metal zip using Ness as an example – but you can apply this to lots of other patterns too.

How to shorten a metal zip - Tilly and the Buttons

Attach the zip tapes to the garment as normal, following the instructions in the pattern, using the bottom stop as a guide for where to line it up. In other words, in the Ness skirt instructions we ask you to place the metal bottom stop of the zip 15mm (5/8in) up from the bottom of the zip guard. When you join the zip guard to the skirt, it will end up in the correct position no matter the length of the zip.

How to shorten a metal zip - Tilly and the Buttons
How to shorten a metal zip - Tilly and the Buttons

31 October 2018

How to Sew a Zip Fly - with Video!

How to Sew a Zip Fly - really useful video!


Want to learn a great method for sewing a zip fly?

Zip flies on trousers and skirts can be a little fiddly, but our awesome pattern cutter Serefina, who has worked for many years for couture and high street fashion designers alike, showed me a brilliant approach which is relatively easy to do and creates a neat finish.

Ness skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
How to Sew a Zip Fly - really useful video!

We’ve outlined this method in full, with detailed text and step-by-step photos, in the instructions that accompany our Ness skirt pattern. To make it even easier for you to understand how to sew it, we’ve made a video so you can see the process in moving pictures :)

You can also use this video tutorial for many other sewing projects, not just the Ness skirt. But if you are making Ness, it’s a good idea to watch the video in tandem with referencing the instructions, as the instructions have more a few more details included in the text.



25 October 2018

Fitting the Ness skirt

Fitting the Ness skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Making the Ness skirt? If you need any help choosing your size or fitting the skirt, you've come to the right place. It's Serefina here, the Sewing Pattern Developer at Tilly and the Buttons, to talk you through what you need to know.

So versatile, our latest skirt pattern can be worn all year round, and works in so many different fabrics. Dress it up, keep it casual or make it in a traffic-stopping print - if you get the fit of this down, you’ll be able to reuse the pattern again and again.

The good news is the Ness pattern only has a few areas that are crucial to the fit. It’s a good idea to make your first one as a sort of work-in-progress. If you only do one thing, tack (baste) together the side seams before you sew them together, trying it on and taking it in or letting it out where needed. Check it's comfy to sit down in as well as stand up in! If you want to make any further alterations, read on...

Fitting the Ness skirt sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

In this post I'm going to take you through the most common adjustments that you might need to make to your pattern - if you are already aware of which alterations you’ll need to make, go ahead and adjust the pattern before you make your toile or tack together your real fabric. Or if you're not sure, make your skirt first and adjust the pattern based on how that fits.

We're going to cover:
  • Choosing your size
  • Lengthening and shortening
  • Combining waist and hip sizes
  • Fitting the back yoke

22 October 2018

Inspiration and fabrics for making your Ness skirt

Inspiration for making the Ness skirt - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons


Have you fallen for the oh-so-stylish new pattern on the block yet? If you haven't, by the end of this post I guarantee our latest pattern, the Ness skirt, will have your heart skipping a beat!

Ness will slot into any wardrobe seamlessly. Make her in autumn-friendly fabrics, such as corduroy, gobelin, jacquard, or wool - or select a denim for a multi-seasonal piece! With to-die-for denim-inspired details, Ness is sure to build your dressmaking skills and have you creating me mades that look like they just walked out of a shop!