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!

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.

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!

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!