16 September 2019

How to Do Bust Adjustments for a Bust Darted Bodice

Bust adjustments bust darted bodice bodice pattern fitting - Tilly and the Buttons

Do you ever wish your me-mades fit better across the bust? Do you find that excess fabric seems to pool around your bust, or that it's too tight? Ever think that the bust darts point in the wrong place on your garments? If you're finding yourself nodding enthusiastically in agreement to any of these statements, then you probably need to do a bust adjustment to your bodice pattern pieces.

It's Nikki here, Product Manager and fitting geek at Tilly and the Buttons, and I'm going to to talk you through how to do a full bust adjustment, a small bust adjustment and how to move the dart on a bust darted bodice.

Now, before we go any further I'd like to give you a little positive pattern pep talk. There are a few diagrams in this post, but whilst they might look quite daunting, they are relatively simple if you follow them step by step :)

How do I know if I need a bust adjustment?

There's a technical and a not-so-technical answer here! The answer depends on your own unique shape and the fit of the garment - you may not need to do a bust adjustment to a loose top or dress, but might have to do one on something more fitted. If you find that things are generally either too tight or too loose in the bust area, then I'd recommend making a quick toile of the bodice, or wearable toile of the whole garment to test the fit around the bust and take it from there. I'm going to briefly cover how you would work out how much to add or subtract from your bust in the adjustment, but do remember this is just a rough framework, and you might not need to do it at all.

Measure your high bust (your upper chest, just under your armpits) and add 5cm (2in). Choose the pattern size with that bust measurement – this is the size you’ll do your bust adjustment on.

Now measure your full bust (fullest part, around the nipples) and compare it to the bust measurement on the pattern size you just selected.

If your full bust is 5cm (2in) smaller than the pattern, you’ll be subtracting 5cm (2in) from the pattern; if it’s 7.5cm (3in) bigger, you’ll be adding 7.5cm (3in) and so on. If you need to make the bust bigger, you'll need to do a full bust adjustment (FBA) and if you need to make it smaller, you'll need to do a small bust adjustment (SBA).

Since the front bodice pattern represents one half of the top, as the fabric is cut on the fold - or one boob - you'll be adding or subtracting half of that difference. So, if you want to do a 5cm (2in) full bust adjustment, you'll need to add 2.5cm (1in) to the pattern piece.

There are a few ways in which you can do a bust adjustment, but the method I'm going to show you today is the "slash and spread" method. It sounds a bit aggressive but this just means that you do the adjustment by cutting into your pattern piece and either spread it apart to create more space at the bust, or overlap it to make it smaller.

To do a bust adjustment you will need:
  • a ruler (or pattern master if you have one)
  • glue stick and/or sticky tape
  • pencil
  • paper scissors
  • extra paper

As you'll be merrily snipping into your pattern piece with wild abandon for these adjustments, I thoroughly suggest tracing off the front bodice pattern piece so you can keep the original one intact in case you need to make any further adjustments. Make sure you trace all the notches, the dart and 'lengthen or shorten here' lines onto the new pattern piece.

Got your scissors and ruler at the ready? Ok, let's go. And remember, you've got this!

Full bust and small bust adjustments



13 September 2019

How to Combine Pattern Sizes


Do your bust, waist or hip measurements fall across different sizes? If so, you can "grade" between sizes to get a perfect fit. Hooray! It's Nikki here, Product Manager and self-confessed fitting nerd here at Tilly and the Buttons, and in this post I'm going to cover how to combine sizes on pattern pieces.

One of the best things about sewing is that you can create clothes that fit your unique body shape. If you have bust, waist and hip measurements that are different sizes, like me, you'll probably have stood in a clothes shop fitting room before, surrounded by a pile of clothes that are too loose on top and too tight across your hips, or vice-versa. Luckily, when it comes to making your own clothes, you can combine pattern sizes to make parts of the garment bigger or smaller to give you a truly bespoke fit. 

When should I combine pattern sizes? 

Now, it might be tempting to combine sizes for the bust, waist and hips on all your patterns, but depending on the fit of the garment you don't always need to do this. 

If you're making a looser fitting garment or a garment that is looser fitting in some areas, you might not need to combine sizes at all. A looser fitting garment will have a lot of "positive ease", meaning the garment (or parts of it) will be much bigger than your body, so a few inches difference in that area won't make much difference to the overall fit. 

So for example, if you're making something with a fitted bust and loose waist and hips, like the Indigo top and dress pattern, and your waist measurement is 2 or 3 sizes different to your bust, then you probably won't need to make any alterations here. The same applies to the hip measurement - the skirt is loose and flowy so a few sizes difference between your body measurements won't affect the fit of the garment. However, if your bust and waist span across more than 3 sizes you might want to consider grading between sizes.

On the other hand, if you're making a garment that is designed to have a closer fit, like the Ness skirt or Etta dress, you will want to grade between sizes at the bust, waist and hip, where applicable, as there is much less ease in these areas.

Please do bear in mind though, if your bust measurement is particularly smaller or larger than the body measurement of the size you have picked, then you might need to do a bust adjustment, as well as combine sizes. Check out our bust adjustments post (coming soon!) for more info!

Most sewing patterns will list the finished garment measurements in their instructions, so if you're a bit unsure whether you need to combine sizes, comparing them against your body measurements will help you decide :) 

General info about combining pattern sizes

OK, so you've decided that you need to combine pattern sizes, but there are a few things you need to know before you get stuck in! 

Most patterns will have notch markings on them signifying where the bust, waist and hip should sit. If a pattern doesn't have them, you can hold up the pattern piece to your body to get an idea of where they should be. You can use these notches as a start and finish point and grade between them. 

When combining pattern sizes, it's very important that you make sure they will match the pattern pieces that they are joining. So for example, if you are making a dress and have graded between the bust and the waist, make sure the waist size is the same for both the bodice and the skirt! If you are sewing something with a front and back bodice, front and back skirt etc. make sure you have done the same adjustment to both pieces. The same applies to facings - if you have graded a piece that will join it, make sure it matches. 

The first diagram below shows how you combine sizes on a pattern piece that has a straight side seam, and no dart.  If you are combining sizes on a curved seam, it's exactly the same principle but you'll want to use a french curve, pattern master or a steady hand to draw a smooth curved line, instead of a straight one. The Jessa fitting post has more deets on how to do this is you fancy having a look. Later on in the post, I'm also going to cover how you combine sizes on a bodice that has a bust dart.

Ready to get stuck in? let's do this!

Combining sizes for an un-darted seam


Combining and grading pattern sizes fitting - Tilly and the Buttons

If you're combining different bust and waist measurements, on a straight seam, draw a straight line at the side seam joining up your bust size at the top and your waist size at the bottom. The above photo shows a back bodice for a size 6 bust and a size 5 waist in red, and a size 3 bust and size 4 waist in green.

If your pattern piece is more curved, draw a curved line between the sizes using a pattern master, french curve or by hand.

It really is as simple as that :)

Combining sizes on a darted bodice

11 September 2019

How to Lengthen or Shorten a Sewing Pattern

How to Lengthen or Shorten a Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Do you have a particularly long or short torso, legs or arms? If this sounds like you, you might want to consider lengthening or shortening your sewing patterns to get a better fit.

It's Nikki here, and today I'm going to talk you through lengthening or shortening pattern pieces. The diagrams below show a bodice, which you can adjust if you have a long or short upper body, but you can use the same technique on loads of pattern pieces - trouser legs or skirts if you have long or short legs, sleeves if you have long or short arms, you name it. This is one of the great things about sewing - you can adjust just the parts you need to get a garment to fit your unique shape.

If you are lengthening a pattern piece that has a matching pair or facing that will be affected by the length - for example, a front bodice will often join a back bodice and sometimes a front opening facing - make the same adjustment to the matching pattern pieces, else you'll end up with a wonky garment (not cool).

Ready? Let's get stuck in to...

How to lengthen a sewing pattern
How to Lengthen or Shorten a Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

If you want to lengthen your pattern piece, cut along the bottom "lengthen or shorten" line, to separate your pattern pieces into two.

How to Lengthen or Shorten a Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

9 September 2019

Fitting the Indigo top and dress

Fitting the Indigo smock top and dress

Making the Indigo smock and want some tips on how to get a great fit? The good news is that Indigo is relatively easy to fit thanks to the loose-fitting smock style. It does have a fitted bodice though, so you may want to make some tweaks to the pattern to create a bespoke-fitting garment especially for you.

It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly and the Buttons. In the next few blog posts, I'm going to talk you through some of the most common pattern adjustments you may want to make for your Indigo. You'll also be able to use these techniques for lots of other sewing patterns in the future, so make sure you bookmark these posts to help you on your future sewing escapades.

In this post we're going to cover:
  • Making a toile
  • Choosing your size

The posts coming over the next weeks will cover:
  • Lenghtening or shortening pattern pieces
  • Combining sizes
  • Bust adjutsments for bust darted bodice
  • Moving a dart on a bust darted bodice
  • Wide and narrow shoulder adjutsments
Ready? Ok, on with the show.

6 September 2019

Inspiration and Fabrics For Making Your Indigo Smock

Inspiration for making the Indigo smock by Tilly and the Buttons

Do you suffer from wardrobe woes, with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? We think we have solved this conundrum with a wear-it-all-week piece that you can throw on and go! You won't give your outfit another thought (apart from, 'I look great!'), and can get on with your busy day in handmade style.

If you haven't already been introduced to our latest pattern, the Indigo smock top or dress, then make sure you read all the juicy deets in our previous post.

It's Louise here from team Buttons, a smock lover who is happiest when floating around in me-made style. I am going to take you through a little inspo for making your Indigo along with some dreamy fabric suggestions. One of my favourite things about Indigo is how it transforms with the choice of fabric. You can sew up an everyday top to chuck on with jeans, a smart dress that is office-appropriate or go for a swishy, party dress. Indigo just does it all!

I've broken things down by fabric type so you can think about what is best going to suit the vibe you want to go for. I guarantee you won't stop at one and will tick these off your list in no time and have an Indigo for every occasion!

Inspiration for making the Indigo smock by Tilly and the Buttons
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

First up, we have cotton lawn which something most of us probably already have sitting in our stash waiting to be made. Enter Indigo! Cotton lawn has just enough drape and feels silky soft to the touch down to its fine and high thread count. It's perfect for creating a smock with little more fullness to it as the cotton lawn will hold the shape beautifully.

Inspiration for making the Indigo smock by Tilly and the Buttons
Top: Fabric - Lamazi Fabrics / Dress  / Bottom: Dress / Fabric - Minerva Crafts

Recreate these floral beauties that would work as well with tights and a cosy cardigan in the autumn as they would with a pair of tan sandals in the summer.

Inspiration for making the Indigo smock by Tilly and the Buttons
Top Row: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 Middle Row: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 Bottom Row: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

3 September 2019

Introducing the Indigo smock top or dress pattern!

Indigo smock top and dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

We've got something extra exciting to reveal today. Hands up who wants to take a closer look at our gorgeous new pattern release? Meet Indigo!

Indigo is a smock top or dress that you'll want to put on day after day. With no zips or fiddly fastenings, you can quite literally throw it over your head and swish out the door to whatever you have planned for the day or evening.

We love nothing more than making sewing patterns with loads of customisable options, and Indigo is no exception. With multiple hem, sleeve and gathering options, you can make one for every day of the week. And, have you seen that exposed frill seam? Swoon. To make things even better, and because we know you love them just as much as we do, the dress version also has pockets!

We're thrilled to announce that the Indigo top and dress sewing pattern is available in two further sizes, in sizes UK 6-24 (US 2-20 / EUR 34–52). For more details check out our shop page.

Are you excited as we are? We knew you would be, read on to find out more :)


Indigo smock top and dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
Indigo smock top and dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

28 August 2019

Kate's Coral Cleo... With Hacked Pockets!

Kate's Coral Cleo with Hacked Pockets - Sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
It's Kate here today, Team Buttons Office Manager, sharing my latest make. I am a such a huge fan of all things bright pink, orange or neon that it came to no one's surprise that I snapped up as much of the sunny coral stretch denim from Like Sew Amazing’s online store as I could. I knew straight away I had to make a Cleo dungaree dress.

Cleo is as fun and cheeky as the fabric so, to me, a match made in heaven. But I wanted more - I also wanted a distinctive way to tie my straps, as well as pockets I could sink my hands into. For an Office Manager who needs stock room keys to hand at all times, handy pockets are a must!

Kate's Coral Cleo with Hacked Pockets - Sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
Kate's Coral Cleo with Hacked Pockets - Sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons


I used our free pocket pattern intended for the Mila dungarees, as the shape was just what I had in mind. I downloaded the free pattern, folded the pattern piece in half and traced the shape.

23 August 2019

Jessa: Fastenings, cuffs and hem

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

We've reached the final instalment in the Jessa sewalong! It's Nikki here, and today I'm going to talk you through the fastenings, sewing the cuffs (if you're making the shorts) and hemming the legs (if you're making the trousers).

Well done to everybody that's been following the sewalong for getting this far. Whether you've been sewing in tandem with these posts or reading on the sidelines, I hope you've found this series helpful and that you now feel like an unstoppable sewing superhero when it comes to sewing the Jessa trousers or shorts.

All of the previous Jessa sewalong posts are saved on our dedicated sewalong page - if you need to catch up you'll find everything you need there :)

Ready? OK, let's dive into...

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern
Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Fastenings 

21 August 2019

Jessa: Constructing and attaching the waistband

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Welcome back to the Jessa sewalong. Can you believe we are only two posts from the end? Well done for sticking with me this far - you are so close to having a finished pair of Jessa trousers or shorts!

This post is going to cover constructing the waistband. Before we crack on with sewing, if you made any adjustments to the leg side seams (covered during the previous post) you'll have to make these same adjustments to the side seams of the front and back waistband pieces to make sure it fits the waistline of the legs. So ,if this applies to you, keep this in mind when you are sewing the waistband pieces together at the side seams.

Catching up? Check out the dedicated sewalong page to find all of the posts published so far. 

All set? Amazing, let's get our sew on...

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

You will have cut out two sets of waistband pieces earlier (four front waistbands and two back waistbands) and interfaced one set. The interfaced pieces will form the outer waistband and the un-interfaced ones will be the facing, which sits on the inside of the trousers or shorts.

The first thing we need to do is mark the centre of the interfaced back waistband pieces. Fold the interfaced waistband in half widthways to find the centre back, and snip a small notch (around 5mm / 1/4in long) into the upper and lower edges.

19 August 2019

Jessa: Sewing the legs

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

I hope you're ready for the next installment of the Jessa sewalong because it's happening right now :) It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Team Buttons, and today I'm going to cover the process of sewing the legs on your Jessa trousers or shorts.

Catching up? Check out the dedicated sewalong page to find all of the posts published so far. 

I would recommend at this stage tacking (AKA basting, AKA sewing with a 4-5mm stitch length) the inside leg and side seams so you can try them on and check the fit. Tack the interfaced waistband (not the un-interfaced facing) to the waistline to check the fit around the waist. It's much easier to do this before you have properly attached the waistband and will save you a lot of unpicking! Take in or let out the side and inside leg seams until you are happy with the fit, then sew with a normal stitch length.

It's a short and sweet post today, so let's get right to it.

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

The previous post in the sewalong covered sewing the zip fly, so the next step is to sew the legs together. Pin both back legs together along the centre back seam, matching notches. Before you stitch this seam, it's a good idea to check that you have enough thread on the bobbin - those legs are verrrry long and Sod’s Law would have it that you run out of bobbin thread a few stitches in and don’t notice until you’ve got to the end of the legs and removed all the pins!

15 August 2019

Jessa: Sewing the zip fly

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Hello sewing gang, are you ready for your next installment of the Jessa sewalong? Yeah you are! It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly and the Buttons, and today I'm going to cover something very exciting - how to sew the zip fly on your Jessa trousers or shorts.

OK, here comes a pep talk. If you've never sewn a zip fly before, the process can seem a bit intimidating. There are a few different steps involved in constructing a zip fly and I can totally relate to the feeling of flicking through a pattern booklet and looking at all the instructions thinking it looks a bit scary.

The good news, however, is that it really isn't as fiddly as it seems! Constructing a zip fly is like sewing anything - completing a series of small steps until you end up with something amazing, that looks different from the pieces and notions you started with. You can do this!

The Jessa zip fly construction is very similar to the steps in Ness skirt instructions, so you can mostly follow along using the brilliant 'How to sew a zip fly' video Tilly and Jenny made last year. Yay! There are a couple of differences between the video and the Jessa construction which I'll talk you through below, but the middle section follows the same steps.

To make the Jessa trousers and shorts you will need an 18cm (7in) jeans zip. If your zip is on the long side we have a great blog post which talks through how to shorten a metal zip.

Need to get up to speed on the previous Jessa sewalong posts? Check out the dedciated sewalong page to catch up on all posts. 

Ready to sew a zip fly? Let's do this!



Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

12 August 2019

Jessa: Making the pockets and faux pocket flap


Hello lovely stitchers! It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly HQ, and I'm back today with your recommended dose of the Jessa sewalong.

Catching up? Check out the dedicated sewalong page to find all of the posts published so far. 

Today is a very special day because I am going to be covering all things pockets. Who doesn't love pockets? Nobody, that's who. Luckily for you the pockets on the Jessa trousers and shorts are very roomy. Keep your phone in there, your snacks, a small sudoku book... these pockets are here to serve you.

You have a few different options when it comes to choosing your pockets for Jessa. You can choose to attach the patch pockets to the front or the back, or both! You also have the option of adding a faux pocket flap to the front leg, or both legs if you are feeling fancy. I think the faux pocket flap looks best on its own with no patch pockets on the front but hey, who am I to tell you what to do. If you want all the pockets then go right ahead :)

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

The patch pockets

Before we stitch the pockets to the legs, we have to finish the edges and turn them under so the edges are hidden on the inside. Using an overlocker, or a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, finish all edges except the top edge on all of the patch pockets you are using.

To help get lovely even pockets, staystitch all the edges you have finished 14mm (just under 5/8in) from the edge. Don't worry about backtacking at either end of the stitching. We'll come back to this in a minute.

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern
Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Fold the top, unfinished edge of the patch pockets down, wrong sides together, by 10mm (3/8in) and press down. Fold the same top edge under again by 20mm (3/4in) and press. Topstitch this top edge 15mm (5/8in) away from the edge.

8 August 2019

Jessa: Prepping the pieces and sewing the darts


Welcome back to another Jessa sewalong post. It's Nikki here, Product Manager for Team Tilly, and today I'm going to cover the next few steps in the adventure that is sewing the Jessa trousers and shorts - prepping the pieces, AKA interfacing the waistband, zip facing and optional faux pocket flap, staystitching the relevant pieces, and sewing the darts.

Need to catch up on the previous sewalong posts? Check out our dedicated sewalong page to make sure you're up to date! 

I always find there's something so satisfying in the prepping steps and doing those first few stitches on a new project. These steps make sure your cut pieces will behave properly when you sew and wear your finished garment. It might be tempting to skip the interfacing and staystitching and actually get on with the sewing (I know I did this in my early sewing days!) but I promise the next few steps will help support your pieces and will stop them from stretching out when are sewing or when you actually wear your finished trousers or shorts. Your future self will thank you.

 Ready? Ok let's jump straight into...

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Interfacing

There are loads of different types of interfacing out there, which can make it overwhelming when it comes to choosing one for a project. I usually opt for an iron-on woven interfacing as it's easy to apply and I find it gives the best results for most projects I sew. It's important when choosing your interfacing that you pick something that is a similar weight to the fabric you are sewing with. For this pink denim pair of Jessas which are featured in the sewalong, I used a medium weight woven interfacing as it was a good match to the weight of the fabric.

Tilly has written a blog post which covers the different types of interfacing if you want to do some further reading :)

You will need to interface the back wasitaband, both front waistband pieces, zip facing, and faux pocket flap if you are sewing one. You need to apply the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric - the purpose of interfacing is to secretly add structure and support to the garment and isn't intended to be a fashion statement!

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Use the same pattern pieces you used to cut your fabric to cut your interfacing. The back waistband needs to be cut on the fold to get the correct shape. You only need to cut one fly facing and it needs to be cut with the glue side - the rough-feeling side - facing down.

Lay the interfacing pieces over the wrong side of the cut fabric pieces, glue side is facing down. If you run your fingers over the interfacing, the glue side will be rough and bumpy whereas the non glue side will be smooth. Make sure the glue side is against the fabric and not facing up towards your iron otherwise you'll have to press pause on your project and clean melted glue blobs off your iron (fun rating: 0/10).

Hold a hot iron, steam turned off, over the interfacing pieces to fuse them to the fabric. I picked up a great tip on this year's Great British Sewing Bee where Patrick said that you should place the iron on the interfacing and count to five, before you carefully pick it up and move it to another section. Try to avoid moving the iron as if you are ironing a shirt as the glue can get all squidged up.

To protect the interfacing from too much heat or moisture, you can place a pressing cloth (a piece of muslin or a tea towel will work) between the surface of the iron and the interfacing if you like, or just make sure there's no steam and the iron isn't too hot. If you are sewing with corduroy or velvet (mmm...), you can use the same fabric as a pressing cloth, right sides together, to avoid squashing the pile.

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Staystitching

The next step on our list is to staystitch the waistlines on the front legs, back legs and waistband facings (uninterfaced back and front waistbands). As these pieces are curved, staystitching helps to stabilise these pieces and keep them from stretching out of shape as you handle the fabric and sew it.

Despite having a slightly technical name, staystitching is actually really easy to do. For each piece that needs to be staystitched, sew a line of regular stitching (2.2-2.4mm long stitches) 10mm (3/8in) away from the edge. You don't have to backtack at either end - hooray!

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Sewing the darts

Now we're ready to sew out darts on the back legs. These darts will help create a nice shape over your booty.

Fold the fabric, right sides together, so the dart lines you have marked on the wrong side of the fabric are visible. Manoeuvre the fabric so the dart lines are on directly on top of each other. I like to do a couple of things to make extra sure the darts are totally in line with each other.

Firstly, I snip into the fabric a couple of millimeters at both ends of the dart legs, so I can easily line up the snipped fabric and therefore the dart at the edge. Once I line up these snipped edges I then
put a pin horizontally across the dart point - this really helps to anchor the shape of the dart. After this I pin vertically through one dart leg, and make sure that the pins are also exactly going through the dart leg on the other side. If they're not, I carefully move the fabric until it is all lined up and the pins are running exactly through the lines on both sides of the fabric.

We'll be sewing from the raw edge to the tip, so point the pins towards the raw edge, most of the fabric to the left of the pins as shown, so you can easily pull the pins out as they're approaching the needle.

5 August 2019

Jessa: Cutting, marking and prepping the fabric

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern
Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Are you taking part in the Jessa shorts and trousers sewalong? If so, hello there! It's Nikki here and I am bringing you the next post in the Jessa sewalong series to help you on your way to a gorgeous pair of trousers or shorts.

Louise has written an excellent (as always) fabric and style inspiration post to help you decide which gorgeous fabric you want to use to make your Jessas. Our previous post in the sewalong covered fitting and adjusting the pattern pieces to make a nicely fitting pair of shorts or trousers, so make sure you've caught up with both these posts if you've missed them.

Ready? On to the matter at hand which is...

Preparing the fabric

It's a universal truth that the most exciting part of sewing is when you find the perfect fabric for a new project, whether that's in a fabric shop or from your stash. Once you find this magical fabric and pattern combo it can feel like the stars have aligned and all you want to do is bust out your sewing machine and get started right away.

However, I'm going to ask you to pump the brakes a little, because new fabric needs to be washed and dried before you start sewing. Fabric can often shrink the first time you wash it, so make sure you pre-wash your fabric in the machine before you start cutting to make sure your Jessa trousers or shorts stay the same size later on.

Once your fabric is dry, iron out any creases, making sure to test the iron temperature on a scrap piece of fabric beforehand. If you're sewing with corduroy, go light with the iron and try not to squish the ribs in the fabric. Tilly has written a great post with tips on how to handle corduroy fabric if you want more help.

Fold the fabric in half lengthways, with the right side (the nicer side) on the inside of the fold, bringing together the selvedges, which are the finished edges of the fabric. It's important to make sure the fold is hanging straight and the fabric isn't twisted. If you need to adjust the fabric, hold it by the fold and adjust until it's straight.

Keeping the fabric folded like this, lay it out on the largest table you have, or even the floor, preferably with a cutting mat underneath so you don't scratch what's underneath! Folding the fabric in half allows us to cut two symmetrical pieces at once, or one symmetrical double-sized piece where a piece is cut on the fold.

1 August 2019

Fitting the Jessa trousers and shorts

Tilly and the Buttons - Fitting the Jessa trousers and shorts

If you're making the Jessa trousers and shorts and want some guidance with fitting, then today is your lucky day. It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly Towers, and I'm here to help with some handy tips on sizing and fitting.

Jessa is one of our two latest sewing patterns - the other being the gorgeous Romy top and dress. We covered fitting Romy a few weeks back, so check that post out if you missed it :)

Trousers have a bit of a bad rep when it comes to fitting. There are a few different adjustments - especially in the crotch - which can be done to get a good fit, and this can put sewists off from taking the plunge and having a go. But fear not, I'm going to go over a few of the most common adjustments for trousers or shorts fitting. You'll have a beautiful pair of Jessas in no time!

Tilly and the Buttons - Fitting the Jessa trousers and shorts

In this post we're going to cover:
  • Making a toile
  • Choosing your size 
  • Lengthening the legs or rise 
  • Shortening the legs or rise
  • Combining pattern sizes 
  • Lengthening or shortening the crotch seams 
  • Full booty adjustment 
  • Small booty adjustment 
  • Saggy back leg adjustment

29 July 2019

Announcing the Jessa Sewalong!

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern
Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Are you thinking about sewing the Jessa shorts or trousers but want a bit of extra guidance and support? Want to make some shorts for the hot weather, or get ahead by making trousers or jeans for your autumn wardrobe? We're delighted to announce that we are going to be running a Jessa sewalong!

What is a sewalong, I hear you ask? We pride ourselves on creating clear, comprehensive and inspiring instructions - but we have a limited word and picture count in our instruction booklets. In a sewalong we can take you through each step in more depth, offering extra tips and tricks, and showing more photos - and a video! - of each step to help you on your way. And of course, we'll provide you with a big dose of sewing cheerleading :)

The idea of sewing a pair of shorts or trousers can seem a little intimidating if you haven't done it before, but we're here to show you how, every step of the way.

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

26 July 2019

Jenny's Gathered Skirt Stevie Hack

Jenny's Gathered Stevie Hack - Sewing Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons


There's something so fun about hacking one of your favourite sewing patterns - it's like looking at it from a brand new angle. Our Stevie pattern not only looks different depending on the fabric you choose, but it also has fantastic hacking potential.

It's Jenny here, Office Assistant at Tilly Towers. I bought this lilac linen-Tencel mix last summer and it hadn't been paired with a project until it hit me - I can sew a Stevie hack!

Jenny's Gathered Stevie Hack - Sewing Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons


This was definitely a situation in which the fabric inspired the project, which is usually the case for many of my me-mades.

It may not look like it here as I'm wearing tights (these pictures were taken at the beginning of June before the summer heat really kicked in), but this Stevie hack was made for those super hot days.

23 July 2019

Sizzling Summer Sewing Pattern Sale!

Tilly and the Buttons summer sale is here

Did someone say sale? We did! It's time to treat you to some sizzling savings to celebrate the summertime! We are taking 20% off all our individual printed and digital patterns until Sunday 28 July 2019 midnight BST.

Sooooo, what are you waiting for? You can grab a pattern perfect for whipping up and wearing now, or get ahead of the game and start working on garments you can wear in the autumn.

Tilly and the Buttons summer sale is here

Head over to our shop, fill your trolley and enter the code SUMMER20 at the checkout and we will take 20% off your total! The offer is not valid on pattern bundles, books, sewing kits, dungaree buckles, gift vouchers or online workshops.

Tilly and the Buttons summer sale is here

Happy shopping! xx