17 September 2020

Nikki and Tilly's Lotta dresses

Nikki's Lotta dress - easy sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons
Nikki's Lotta dress - easy sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

Our latest sewing pattern, the Lotta dress, is out and about in the world - woohoo! Today we thought we'd show you three dresses made by Nikki and Tilly to give you an idea of how it looks in different fabrics, styled in different ways and on different bodies.

First up, over to our Product Manager Nikki:

"For my first version of Lotta, I wanted something classic and wearable. The fabric is a ditsy polka dot print viscose from Minerva Crafts. This is the style of dress I wear all the time, and the elasticated waistline makes it extra comfy.

I went with the knee-length version of the dress, with longer sleeves and the optional patch pockets - because who doesn't love pockets?! I made this during the development stage of the pattern, and the sleeves on the final pattern are actually a bit shorter than this, they finish just above the wrist.

Nikki's Lotta dress - easy sewing pattern from Tilly and the ButtonsNikki's Lotta dress - easy sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

At the moment while the weather is still balmy, I've been loving wearing my Lotta dress with Converse and bare legs. I am looking forward to the weather turning though (anyone else just LOVE Autumn?) so I can layer it up with a chunky cardigan, tights and black ankle boots."

14 September 2020

Fitting the Lotta dress

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Making the Lotta dress and want a few extra fitting hints and tips? Well, this is great timing, as this post is packed full of info about some fitting adjustments you might want to make to your Lotta dress pattern pieces.

The Lotta dress is suitable for stitching newbies as it’s easy to sew and fit – high-five! This post will cover the most common fitting adjustments you might want to consider for your Lotta dress. However, don’t feel like you need to do them all, or even any at all!

We sometimes recommend that you make a "toile" (or "muslin") - a practice garment in cheap or spare fabric in a similar weight to the fabric you're going to use for the final garment to test the fit - however, it's not strictly necessary here. If you're unsure about your sizing and have some expensive fabric lined up to make the dress in, you could make a quick toile of the bodice to check the fit, leaving off the skirt. However, if you don't feel overly precious about your fabric, then go for it!
 In this post we're going to cover:
  • Choosing your size 
  • Lengthening or shortening the bodice, sleeve or skirt
  • How to combine different bust, waist and/or hip sizes 
  • Bust adjustments 
Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Choosing your size

Using a flexible tape measure, find the circumference of your:
- Bust - take the measurement at the fullest point i.e. around your nipples
- Waist - where you bend at the side
- Hips - the fullest part - it helps to turn to the side and look in a mirror to see where this is

Check the tape measure is sitting level with the floor all the way around. It can help to turn to the side and look in a mirror to check.

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

11 September 2020

Inspiration and Fabrics for Making Lotta

Inspiration and fabrics for making Lotta

Have you got Lotta on your sewing list yet? This swishy dress is beginner-friendly and requires minimal fit adjustments so you can get on with the fun part of choosing material for your perfect make!

The Lotta dress can be made up in woven AND knit fabrics, which opens up so many opportunities. Lotta is not just versatile with the fabrics you can make it in, you'll also find this chameleon transforms with your choice. You can make an everyday Lotta in comfy plain jersey, sew one for the weekend in a fun animal print, channel the season with an autumnal floral, or even go for a party Lotta dress in stretch velvet! 

Once you have made one, you will be sure to fill your wardrobe with this sewing pattern that ticks all the boxes. So, with that in mind, I have gathered a few fabric and inspo suggestions together focusing on some of the most popular trends in the sewing community at the moment. Animal print, florals and autumnal hues are all popping up on our IG feed. 

If you are a complete beginner, you might want to start with a more stable fabric like cotton lawn or chambray as it won't shift around too much when you're sewing. More experienced stitchers can make Lotta in a drapey jersey, stretch velvet or lightweight French terry.

We have not seen these gorgeous fabrics up close, so it's worth requesting a sample from the lovely independent fabrics shops we have been window shopping at.

Inspiration and fabrics for making Lotta
*AD/GIFTED FABRIC* Did you love the Lotta on our pattern cover? This splodge style print is really modern and cool and gives some interest without dominating your outfit. We had this gorgeous Flint peachskin in teal gifted to us from Fabric Godmother to make up the cover sample. You can also find it in a black colourway which would make a great base for a statement necklace to finish off the look.

Inspiration and fabrics for making Lotta

We are SO excited about the Lotta dress working for both woven and knit fabrics as it is something we are often asked about. If you are planning on making a Lotta dress in a knit fabric you want to look out for something with drape to it so you can swish, swish, swish your skirt!

Why not choose one of the Tilly and the Buttons x Craft Cotton Co. organic cotton jerseys? Tilly picked one of her favourites from the collection for the Lotta sample - the Love Your Nails design. It has just the right amount of drape for Lotta and the prints are very cute. Unfortunately, we have sold out of the fabric on our own shop, but you can find the collection in a number of haberdasheries.

9 September 2020

NEW Lotta Sewing Pattern and Online Workshop!

Tilly and the Buttons - Lotta dress sewing patternTilly and the Buttons - Lotta dress sewing patternTilly and the Buttons - Lotta dress sewing pattern

What time is it? Why, it's new pattern o'clock!

Eeesh, please excuse the cheesy intro but you'll forgive us when you meet the newest member of the Tilly and the Buttons family - say hello to the Lotta dress, available as a stand-alone pattern or complete with a step-by-step online workshop!

If you like comfy dresses, roomy pockets and fuss-free sewing, then you'll love Lotta. With no fiddly fastenings, no set-in sleeves, and an easy-to-fit elasticated waist, this pattern is simple enough for even complete beginners to sew.

Aside from her swishy shape and gorgeous details (optional sleeves! Pockets!), her extra star quality is you can make her in both jersey and woven. Say what?! So many of our lovely customers have requested a pattern that can be made with both jersey and woven fabrics and we thought you guys were on to a winner :)

Got lots of love for Lotta? Us too! Read on to find out more...

Tilly and the Buttons - Lotta dress sewing pattern

2 September 2020

Tilly's Home Sewing Space Tour (with Video!)

Tilly's home sewing space tour

Want to take a peek around my home sewing space? Seeing as we’ve all been spending more time at home recently, I thought I’d give you a tour of the place I've been spending a lot of time in. We even made a little video!

If you're a long time reader, you may have seen some of my previous sewing space tours. My latest space is in the house we moved to two years ago now. We're lucky enough to have a spare room, which is a multifunctional space - we use it as our home office (for both me and my partner), my sewing room, there's a futon for guests, plus this is where we hang up the laundry to dry, do the ironing, and even have a little play table for our son. 

Yes, there's a lot going on in here - so organisation is key. And no, it's not always this tidy!

Tilly's home sewing space tourTilly's home sewing space tour

26 August 2020

Tilly's Rainbow Brushstrokes Tabitha T-Shirt Dress

Tilly's Rainbow Brushstrokes Tabitha T-Shirt DressTilly's Rainbow Brushstrokes Tabitha T-Shirt Dress

Here's a quintessential example of how my sewing style got more colourful and flamboyant during lockdown - my rainbow brushstrokes Tabitha T-shirt dress.

I mentioned this shift in the colour and prints of my me-mades in my recent post and video on my lockdown makes, and thought I'd show you some more pics of this dress that featured. It is one of my favourite makes OF ALL TIME after all :)

Tilly's Rainbow Brushstrokes Tabitha T-Shirt DressTilly's Rainbow Brushstrokes Tabitha T-Shirt Dress

The pattern is the Tabitha T-shirt, which is in my latest book Make It Simple. The dress version is a variation on the main pattern - the book shows you how to draft your own simple skirt for it to your own measurements and to the length you want. It works equally well in mini, knee-length or even midi-length. I went for a hemline that ends just below the knee. Plus I added the seventies-style ringer cuffs, the pattern piece for which is also included in the book.

19 August 2020

How to Make a Magnetic Pin Holder (with Video!)

How to make a magnetic pin holder - Tilly and the Buttons

My name is Tilly and I am clumsy. Seriously, I drop my pins on the floor ALL. THE. TIME. A magnetic pin holder is a must-have in my house to avoid those pins flying all over the carpet (and to quickly pick them up when they do), and I thought I’d share an easy DIY to make your own, using air-dry clay.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, I got into playing with modelling clay, and made a few things like necklaces, egg cups, pinch pots… and a pin holder. It’s a lovely craft to get into as it uses very little equipment, and you can experiment to make pretty much anything you can imagine.

One thing I should say very clearly is that I am not a modelling clay expert, I’m just sharing what I did and a few things I learnt along the way. If I can do it, you can too!

So if you fancy making your own magnetic pin holder with air-dry clay, read on… or watch the video below!

How to make a magnetic pin holder - Tilly and the Buttons

You will need:
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11 August 2020

OMG, It's Buy One Get One Free*!

OMG! it's buy one get one free

It has been a strange few months at TATB HQ with our shipping capabilities reduced and, at times, put on hold while the team stayed home and safe through the UK's COVID-19 lockdown. But this month, the lovely Frances has started returning to the office and is able to help Kate pack your orders!

So to celebrate we are having a summer sale with a very tempting offer : ) We have selected some gorgeous printed sewing patterns for the offer - when you buy one, you get another for free - winning! 

OMG! it's buy one get one free

There are eight designs in the offer - Jessa, Mila, Zadie, Martha, Rosa, Orla, Fifi and Agnes. All you have to do is pop two of these printed sewing patterns into your basket and one of them will automatically be free - it's easy peasy! You can use this offer more than once in a transaction, so if you add four of the selected patterns to your basket, you'll only need to pay for two of them, and so on.

The sale is running until midnight BST on 25th August 2020 and is while stocks last so make sure you check out your basket before then!

Would you like to know a little more about the patterns in the offer? I thought so!

5 August 2020

Tilly's Lockdown Makes (Video!)

Midi length pink and red Indigo smock dress

How has the Covid-19 lockdown affected your creativity? Have you had more time or less time on your hands to sew? Have you felt inspired to make all the things or too anxious to thread a needle?

At the time of writing, I've been extremely lucky enough not to have friends or family severely affected healthwise by the pandemic, so that hasn't been a factor for me. I acknowledge that this is a privilege, and I am aware that some of you reading this may be going through a harder time right now - if this is the case, I'm sending you lots of love. I hope that craft - or at least dreaming about creativity - has provided you with some release, relief or rest during this difficult time.

My experience of lockdown has been up and down, feeling grateful for my fortunate position (our health, a happy home, an online business that is weathering the storm, a garden...!) while also struggling most days with juggling an ever-changing small business with looking after my two year old while we haven't had childcare for four months.

I've had verrrry little time to myself. Some weeks I've been too frazzled to even go to the loo, let alone think about sewing anything... while at other times I have felt incredibly inspired and energised to make stuff, and have harnessed this urge to power on through and cut out a new project even if my body is screaming, "Go to bed!". It just goes to show that one's energy level (fuelled by inspiration and motivation) can be more important than the amount of "free time" you have when it comes to getting things done.

I've also found that my style has swung quite significantly with my feelings about lockdown. In the first few weeks, I was gravitating towards solid muted colours such as navy and black - perhaps to match my mood of anxiety, fear and the newness of being cooped up indoors. Later I had the urge to make things in ALL the colours and bold prints - mirroring the wave of rainbows popping up in windows, reflecting my need for optimism and a desire to brighten the day of anyone I happened to see. Plus I've realised I've been experimenting more with styles and silhouettes, perhaps because there's no one looking to judge if they didn't work out!

I made a video sharing some of the things I've made during this weird, unprecedented time, from April to July 2020. I say "some" of the things I made during lockdown as I also made lots of face coverings, samples for forthcoming patterns for work, as well as birthday gifts for family. Phew!

29 July 2020

Three Double Gauze Stevie Smocks

Three Double Gauze Stevie Smocks - Tilly and the Buttons

My name is Tilly and I am obsessed with making double gauze Stevie smocks.

You may have spotted not one, not two, but THREE of them in our recent video on tips for sewing with double gauze, and I thought I’d show you in more detail what I'm living in at the moment.

They were all made with our Stevie add-on sewing pattern, a digital download which gives you the extra pieces and instructions to turn our popular tunic pattern into an oversized smock dress with large patch pocket and/or to add bracelet-length sleeves to the top, tunic or smock.

Three Double Gauze Stevie Smocks - Tilly and the Buttons

This pattern works so well with double gauze fabric. It is the epitome of easy-breezy, with no tight bits clinging to your skin when you just want to breeeeathe in the hot weather, but also cute with tights when it cools down a bit. Double gauze has just the right balance between body and drape, meaning you get a floaty dress that shows off the oversized silhouette nicely.

Here are a few more details on each of the three dresses, in the order in which I made them...

24 July 2020

Inspiration for Making the Stevie Add-On Pattern

Stevie add-on sewing pattern inspiration - Tilly and the Buttons

Who feels a little smug when they maximise makes from a single sewing pattern? It feels good, doesn't it? One magical element of dressmaking is how you can use the same pattern, again and again, switching up the fabric choice and getting a totally different result. It is smart stitching because once you've got the garment fit nailed and the instructions studied, you can just fly through projects.

If you are one of many serial makers of our bestselling Stevie sewing pattern, you might be looking for new design twists to make your tenth Stevie stand out from the crowd. Well, you are in luck as we have just released a Stevie add-on pattern that gives you more ways to make this fan fave! The add-on gives you the pattern pieces and instructions to make Stevie with much-requested three-quarter length sleeves, or as an oversized smock dress with gathered skirt, and to add extra-large patch pockets to make your me-made extra practical.

You will need a copy of the Stevie pattern to use the new pieces, so if you don't have it already you can grab the add-on pattern PDF bundle which includes everything you need.

The Stevie add-on can be made from light- to medium-weight woven fabrics, such as linen, double gauze, chambray, cotton lawn, viscose (rayon), Tencel (lyocell), sandwashed silk or crêpe de chine. For the version with three-quarter length sleeves, go for a drapey fabric (for example, washed linen or linen viscose blend rather than crisp 100% linen). The gathered dress version would also be nice in a low stretch knit such as interlock or lightweight French terry.

Stevie add-on sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

You can mix and match the pattern pieces to make the Stevie of your dreams. Maybe you fancy making a three-quarter sleeve tunic dress with two extra-large patch pockets, or sewing the oversized smock dress with a smaller top patch pocket and a large one on the skirt? There are tons of ways you can play with this pattern - you become the designer!

I'm going to take you through some style inspiration as well as a few cheeky fabric suggestions (I can't miss an excuse for fabric window shopping!). I haven't seen these fabrics up close so do request a sample if you want to check out that it's exactly what you want before adding to cart.

So now onto the inspiration!

Stevie add-on sewing pattern inspiration - Tilly and the Buttons

22 July 2020

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric (with Video!)

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric - Tilly and the Buttons

One of my all-time favourite fabrics to sew with is double gauze. Not only does it make for the most scrumptiously soft and lovely-to-wear clothing, it is also pretty simple to sew once you get your head round how to handle its unique properties.

We get a lot of questions about how to sew with double gauze, so I thought I’d share my top tips with you… and hopefully inspire you to give it a try if you haven’t yet done so!

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric - Tilly and the Buttons

But first – what exactly is double gauze?

This material is made up of two layers of fine, open weave cotton gauze. The layers are held together at regular intervals with teensy stitches, leaving a suggestion of air trapped between them. The result is lightweight but not thin, airy yet snuggly, and almost squishy to the touch in some cases. As I often say, it’s like wearing a cloud!

It has a naturally crinkly texture to it, which you can press out if you like, or leave in for a more distinctive look.

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric - Tilly and the Buttons

Back when I first started sewing, I associated double gauze with gorgeous (and expensive to import) Japanese Kokka prints. Since then, more and more fabric companies have added this lovely substrate to their range, so you can find a wider range of designs in a wider range of shops.

Sounds dreamy? Read on for my tips! Or watch the video for a condensed version of the tips…

17 July 2020

Fitting the Stevie Top or Dress

Fitting the Stevie top dress tunic sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Making the Stevie pattern or Stevie add-on pattern and want a helping hand in getting a good fit? Well, make yourself a cuppa and take a seat, because this post is for you!

The Stevie top, tunic dress and add-on patterns are suitable for beginners, as they’re simple to sew and fit – yay! This post will cover the most common fitting adjustments you might want to make to your pattern. However, don’t feel like you need to do all of these adjustments, or any of them at all. They’re here to guide you just in case you need them :)

In this post we're going to cover:

• Making a (wearable) toile - or not!
• Choosing your size
• Lengthening or shortening pattern pieces
• How to combine pattern sizes
• Bust adjustments

Fitting the Stevie top dress tunic sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

15 July 2020

Introducing the Stevie Add-on Pattern!

Stevie top and dress add-on sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

We've got something super exciting to share with you today... We're thrilled to announce the launch of our Stevie add-on pattern!

The Stevie add-on pattern is a digital-only download of pattern pieces and instructions which enables you to turn our bestselling, beginner-friendly Stevie top and tunic into even more different styles of tops and dresses - including a three-quarter length sleeve, gathered skirt and oversized pocket. Our lovely customers have been asking for a sleeve addition for the Stevie pattern for ages and, well, we like to give the people what they want!

As this is an add-on pattern, you'll also need the original Stevie top and tunic pattern to use it. If you don't have it yet, grab the Stevie add-on bundle from our online shop.

We'd like to say a HUGE thank you to our model Kathy (who you may recognise from her sewing-obsessed Instagram account @sew_dainty) and her husband Mick for taking these stunning photos at home during lockdown. How fab does she look?!

Keep reading to find out why we're in love with the Stevie add-on pattern...

Stevie top and dress add-on sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
Stevie top and dress add-on sewing pattern - Tilly and the ButtonsStevie top and dress add-on sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Stevie top and dress add-on sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons


8 July 2020

How to Finish Seams with a Zigzag Stitch

How to Finish Seams with a Zigzag Stitch - Tilly and the Buttons

Finishing the seams on your handmade clothes is important to neaten them, strengthen them and prevent them from fraying. If you don't have an overlocker or serger, a simple way to finish seams is by using the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. It's how I was first taught to finish my seams and is a technique I used all the time before I got my overlocker.

How to Finish Seams with a Zigzag Stitch - Tilly and the Buttons

I would recommend getting an overedge, overcast or overlock foot for your sewing machine - in fact, you may already have one included with your machine. They can look a little different depending on which model you have - this one has a little brush but they don't all have this. The key feature of this type of foot is a little buffer or guide which you line up with the raw edges of the fabric - this makes it easier to get the zigzag landing in the right position.

If you don't have one of these, don't worry - just be sure to test out the placement of the zigzag by turning the handwheel towards you before you put your foot down on the pedal.

Here's how to zigzag finish your seams:

How to Finish Seams with a Zigzag Stitch - Tilly and the Buttons

1 July 2020

10 Design Hack Ideas for the Dominique Skirt

10 design hack ideas for the Dominique skirt

Our easy-peasy Dominique skirt has had a makeover and now comes with two extra sizes - yippee!

The pattern now comes in sizes 1-10, which translates to UK 6-24, US 2-20 and EUR 34-52. It's available as a printed pattern on durable paper sheets or as a PDF pattern for immediate download in both print-at-home (A4 or US letter) and copyshop formats (A0).

Tilly designed this pattern with complete novices in mind as it's so simple to sew. If you're a more confident stitcher, Dominique makes the perfect blank canvas for hacking and adding your own design touches. It actually includes not one but two skirts - a straight skirt and a bias-cut flared skirt, each in two lengths. The patch pocket is also one of our favourite details and you can use that pattern piece to add cute pockets to many more me-mades.
10 design hacks for the Dominique skirt

I started working on pattern hack ideas for Dominique last year when the ideas came flooding into my head (and Pinterest board), and I am very pleased to see that the first one I'm going to show you couldn't be more on-trend at the mo'. I can also see some of these ideas pairing really well with a handmade top in matching fabric - that way you can wear the co-ordinating pieces together or separately to get even more wear out of them!

Most of these ideas would be pretty simple to do, but if you're using particularly precious cloth it would be worth making a toile first to check the measurements on you. I have linked a couple of TATB videos from our YouTube channel that might help with some of the techniques you would use.

So, let's get into it... ten design hack ideas for Dominique coming right up!

10 design hack ideas for the Dominique skirt
Images: Top row - 1 / 2 / 3 Middle row - 1 / 2 / 3 / Bottom row - 1 / 2 / 3
My favourite idea of the bunch is to hack the Dominique skirt into a wonderfully floaty tiered summer skirt. Three is the magic number, so I think that number of tiers is just right for me. You could whip up a mini, midi, or maxi skirt - you probably won't stop at one!

To do this you can use the straight skirt pattern piece and create a new cutting line for your second tier to attach to. I think somewhere around your hip line would be nice for the second tier to join the main skirt, and don't forget to add 1.5cm (5/8in) for your seam allowance to join the next tier. The skirt has a seam down the centre front and centre back, but you could eliminate this if you like by making it 1.5cm (5/8in) narrower.

You will need to draft rectangles for the second and third tiers. I would make each tier approximately 30% wider than the bottom hem of the skirt above. Bear in mind how wide your fabric is when working out your tier measurements - if you've eliminated the centre seams, your fabric will need to be on the wider side for the lower tier if you're making one of the larger sizes.

That decides the width, but the length will vary depending on your height and whether you want to make a mini, midi or maxi skirt. Sewing a vertical strip of your tiers to test out whether you are happy with where the length hits is a good idea before gathering all the fabric. And/or try the skirt on before adding each tier.

Once you have your pieces cut out, you will need to gather them to make them fit the above tier - this video on how to sew gathers is a handy tool for getting them nice and even. Then hem your skirt and you're ready to swish, swish, swish around in me-made style!

10 design hack ideas for the Dominique skirt

24 June 2020

Tilly's Indigo Midi Dress of Dreams

Tilly's Indigo midi dress - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
Tilly's Indigo midi dress - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons

It's official... I've joined the Indigo Midi Dress Club... and I'm obsessed!At 5'1" with curvy hips, I always thought a midi dress would look unflattering on me, especially a looser fitting shape like this. But I tried one on in H&M and was pleasantly surprised. And of course I left the shop empty-handed thanks to the stitcher's refrain, "I could make that!".Tilly's Indigo midi dress - sewing pattern by Tilly and the ButtonsTilly's Indigo midi dress - sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons
So make it I did. This is of course our popular Indigo dress sewing pattern, with the short sleeves and midi tier extra pieces from the Indigo add-on pattern. (You can buy them together at a discount with this PDF bundle.) I love love LOVE this dress - it's so floaty and whimsical, comfy yet pretty, breezy for summer days with a bit of extra leg coverage for cooler evenings.
And it turns out I really like the silhouette on me. It just goes to show, never say never when it comes to your style or what is supposed to suit your body shape.