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

What is double gauze fabric?

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