6 November 2019

Make It Simple: The inspiration behind my forthcoming book

Make It Simple: Easy, Speedy Sewing Projects to Stitch Up in an Afternoon - Tilly and the Buttons

Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I’d love to sew, but I don’t have time”?

Me too. As a business owner and mum to a toddler, I don’t have big chunks of free time to sew. My week is divided between being in the office and being at home playing with my energetic little boy, and, once he’s in bed, quite frankly I’m wiped out! After he was born, I went through a spell of not sewing at all. But I soon missed my hobby and passion, so I decided to question the story I was telling myself about not having time to sew and reframe my thinking to make it achievable.

This was the inspiration behind my new book. I’m excited to be able to share the cover with you today!

Make It Simple will be out in February 2020, published by Quadrille (Hardie Grant). You can order it now from Amazon. As you may know, pre-orders are so important for a book as they show potential stockists that the demand is there – and, in turn, help keep the book in stock so it’s available to more people. If you are able to pre-order my book, I’d be extremely grateful :)

Pitch over, let’s talk about what the book is all about and what you’re going to get out of it…

Make It Simple: Easy, Speedy Sewing Projects to Stitch Up in an Afternoon - Tilly and the Buttons

My goal in writing Make It Simple was to help you fit more creativity into your life, no matter what you’ve got going on.

The book is jam-packed full of my trusted time-saving tactics and secret shortcuts to make it easier for you to get your sewing fix.

Moreover, it features 24 gorgeous garment projects that you can whip up in a few hours, from a classic T shirt to a pretty playsuit, a cosy cardigan to an office-ready shift dress, comfy PJs to a stylish pinafore. They’re all easy to make, simple to fit, with no fiddly bits, and extremely wearable. I am obsessed with these patterns and hope you’ll love them too! I can't wait to share some sneaks of the patterns with you a bit nearer the launch.

30 October 2019

Ten Tips for Sewing Gathers - With Video!

Tilly and the Buttons - Ten tips for sewing gathers

Want some top tips on how to sew beautiful, even gathers? Well, look no further, we've got you covered. This post is jam-packed with hints and tricks on how to create and sew gathers which can be used for tonnes of sewing projects. We've also made a step-by-step tutorial video to show you how it's done :)

Gathering is a sewing technique that pops up in loads of different sewing projects. Put simply, gathering involves reducing the width of one piece of fabric so it can be joined to another piece. You'll often see this in skirts and dresses where flowy skirts are gathered to join a waistband or bodice. In the case of our Indigo smock pattern, you can also use gathers to attach the flounce sleeve option. 

Before we get stuck into the tips, if you want to learn the basics of sewing gathers, check out our how-to video to see how it's done:


Onto Team Tilly's ten tips for sewing gathers...

23 October 2019

Team Buttons' Indigo Smock Obsession

Team Buttons Indigo Smock Top and Dress Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons


Smock lovers unite! Since we released the Indigo smock top and dress pattern, it has become a firm favourite here at TATB HQ. We heart this pattern!

You’ll see here why our team loves this pattern so much - it's pretty, comfortable, and versatile. With a wide range of fabric options, Indigo looks different depending on which one you choose. What's not to love?

Team Buttons Indigo Smock Top and Dress Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the ButtonsTeam Buttons Indigo Smock Top and Dress Sewing Pattern - Tilly and the Buttons


Kate's first Indigo dress is made in soft drapey viscose from Pin and Sew. She lengthened the skirt pattern piece by 5cm (2in), keeping the dipped hem, and shortened the bracelet sleeves to elbow length.

The icing on the cake was the extra gathered tier she added to the bottom of the skirt for that seventies swooshy dream dress - it reminds us of THAT Zara dress. We've seen a few versions like this - and longer - popping up on Insta. If you make your own, do share with us :)

16 October 2019

How to Stitch in the Ditch - With Video!

Tilly and the Buttons - How to Stitch in the Ditch

Do you ever find that your facings pop out of your clothes and you wished you knew of a way to keep them in place? It's Nikki here, and I'm going to talk you through a sewing technique which will help with just that - stitching in the ditch.

"Stitching in the ditch" is a technique which involves sewing down the channel of an existing seam (the "ditch") to secure pieces of a garment in place without the stitches being seen on the outside. By sewing down the seam line in matching thread to your fabric, the stitches are hidden and invisible to the outside. It really is sewing wizardry!

Tilly and the Buttons - How to Stitch in the Ditch

This technique is usually used to secure facings to the inside of garments, although you can sometimes do it to keep an outside piece in place, like a cuff. There are a few different places on a garment you can do this; securing a neckline facing through the shoulder seams or stitching a waistband facing to a waistband instead of topstitching are common examples.

For those of you that prefer to learn visually, we've made a short video showing how you stitch in the ditch. Hooray! The example in the video shows stitching in the ditch to secure a facing to a shoulder seam, however you can apply this method to any project which requires this technique.



So, we've covered what the "ditch" is, but how do you "stitch" it?

9 October 2019

10 Design Hack Ideas for Nora

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern

Are you nutty about Nora and want some ideas for creating more? It's Louise here, the Sales and Communications Manager at Tilly and the Buttons, and I am a serial Nora-maker! Ever since we launched the Nora sweater or top pattern, the team have racked up quite a lot of Nora makes between us. The more you make something or see it being made, the more it gets you thinking of what else you could add to make the next.

So I got my thinking cap on and came up with an idea for a super cute Nora dress with cuffs and tie-waist and it was just love-at-first-wear! I've also made a pom pom cuffed Nora that filled the position of sewing-inspired Christmas jumper, an edible parma violet Nora cardigan hack inspired by Tilly, and a polka dot ruffle hem t shirt that I need to replicate 100 times.

I've pulled together 10 design hack ideas for this gorgeous pattern that will help you get even more use out of it. Most of them would be fairly simple to do and you could combine a few of the ideas to create a super hack. So grab a notebook and pen and let the Nora hack planning commence!

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

I have tried, tested, and worn this hack a lot so I can vouch for how brilliant it is. When Tilly came into the office wearing her Nora cardigan hack, I thought she'd developed a new pattern. My only question was, "When can I make one?"!

Tilly shared how to hack nora into a cardi so you can sew your own. Tilly made hers in a low stretch knit, I chose a snuggly sweatshirt fabric, and Kate, our Office Manager, made one in a lovely contrast back sweatshirting.

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Nora Sewing Pattern
Clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

2 October 2019

How to Understitch Like a Pro

How to understitch - Tilly and the Buttons


Do you feel like you need a helping hand with understitching? Well never fear as help is here. It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Team Tilly and in this post I'll be talking you through how to understitch like a pro.

Understitching is a technique used to stop a facing or lining from peeking out from the inside of garments. When attaching a facing or lining to your garment, you can stitch the seam allowances to the facing or lining, close to the seam line, and this will help it stay on the inside where it belongs.

Understitching is one of those nifty sewing techniques that may seem small but makes all the difference to your me-made garments.

If you're the type of person who prefers to learn by watching rather than reading, then you're in luck as we've also made a video to help bring the words in this post to life. Hooray! Tilly has also written a brilliant post where she shares her five tips for neat understitching if you want to get even more tricks and tips, which I thoroughly recommend you check out.



So, how do you understitch?

To prepare for understitching, you need to sew the two fabric pieces together in question, for example the facing or lining and neckline. Sew them together at the seam allowance stipulated in the instructions.

How to understitch - Tilly and the Buttons

25 September 2019

Tilly's Blue Tencel Indigo Smock

Tilly's blue Tencel Indigo smock - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
Tilly's blue Tencel Indigo smock - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

When we were developing the Indigo smock pattern, the version I knew I had to make first was a classic chambray-blue top with all the trimmings, i.e. I said a big fat yasss to the flounce sleeves and exposed frill seams :)

Tilly's blue Tencel Indigo smock - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

20 September 2019

How to Do Narrow and Wide Shoulder Adjustments

How to do wide narrow shoulder adjustment - Tilly and the Buttons

Do you usually find that your garments are too small or too big across the shoulder? If so, you might want to consider doing a narrow or wide shoulder adjustment. It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly Towers, and I'm here to show you two ways to adjust the shoulders on your pattern pieces to help you get a good fit - one "quick and dirty" method, and one more involved and more accurate method.

How do I know if I need a shoulder adjustment?

But first, if you want to know whether you need a narrow shoulder adjustment you'll have to know where the shoulder should actually sit. 

As with most things when it comes to sewing, the answer to this depends on the style and fit of the garment you're making. Some patterns are designed with a drop shoulder seam, like the Nora top, whilst others intend for the shoulder seam to sit directly on the shoulder socket, like the Indigo top and dress. If you're unsure, have a good look at the pattern technical drawings - this should tell you what you need to know. 

If the pattern is intended to sit on the shoulder socket, you'll need to know how to find out where this is on you. Luckily this is really easy to do. Bend your arm at the elbow and lift it up and down to the side (I like to imagine I'm playing the bagpipes if that helps!) and feel with the fingers on your other hand for where the "hinge" is, where the arm meets the shoulder socket. As you move your arm up and down you'll be able to feel where the socket moving. This point is where the shoulder seam should sit. 

To find out whether the shoulder seam will sit in an optimum spot for you personally, I thoroughly recommend making a toile (a muslin) first, or at least a wearable toile. Mark the armhole seam allowances on the toile and take a look in the mirror to see if the seam (the seam allowance line) is sitting roughly on your shoulder socket. 

If it's sitting beyond the socket and is migrating down your arm, this indicates that there is too much length in the shoulder seam and you need a narrow shoulder adjustment. If it's sitting further back towards your neck, and most likely feeling a bit tight, then this indicates that the shoulder seam on the pattern is too short for your shoulders and you need a wide shoulder adjustment.

Measure the distance between the seam line and the shoulder socket - that's the amount you either have to add or subtract from your shoulder seam. You can use the below methods to adjust the shoulder seam up to around 2cm (3/4in). If you want to add or subtract any more than this amount, you'll have to also adjust the sleeve head to make it bigger or smaller so it matches the new armhole shape.

I'm going to show you two different ways of doing a narrow and wide shoulder adjustment. The first method is super speedy, but may slightly alter the length of the armhole. Because of this, I'd recommend using this method for small adjustments made on knit garments, or for patterns that have ease or gathering in the sleeve head - you can ease in any excess fabric where needed.

For a more accurate technique, use the more involved "slash and spread" method outlined further down the page, which will keep the armhole seam the same length. This is best for sleeves in woven garments with little to no ease.

Narrow shoulder adjustment - the quick and dirty way

18 September 2019

Five Tips for Sewing a Smooth Dart - With Video!

Tips for sewing a smooth dart - Tilly and the Buttons

Show of hands - who's sewn a dart before? Whether you've sewn loads or are still to take that first step, there's always a new hint or tip to learn when it comes to sewing. It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly and the Buttons and I'm here to share our favourite tricks on how to sew a smooth dart.

In addition to the info in this post, Jenny and I have also made a great video (if we do say so ourselves), included below, which shows you how to sew a single, straight dart - the same principles apply to most darts. The video shows these tips in action so make sure you check it out :)

So, what is a dart?


Tips for sewing a smooth dart - Tilly and the Buttons

Darts are shapes of fabric (often triangle) sewn together to make a flat piece of fabric three-dimensional. They are one way of creating shape in a garment, and are often found near the bust, shoulder and waist on dresses, tops, skirts and more.

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:
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.