6 November 2020

Inspiration and Styling Ideas for Billie

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons

It's sweater weather! And luckily for you, we have just released a sewing pattern you can use to fill your wardrobe with snugglies. It's like we planned it (wink, wink)! Billie is the ultimate working from home outfit - stylish enough to look put together and oh-so-comfortable. 

Billie is a sweatshirt or sweater dress that you can whip up in an afternoon, with a relaxed shape, crew neckline and classic trim details. Keep it effortless with cuffed, straight sleeves, or add some drama with on-trend balloon sleeves and deep cuffs. You can dress it up or down, whether you’re wearing Billie for a meeting, dinner date or Sunday on the sofa.

Everybody needs a sweatshirt in their wardrobe. It's modern, cool and comfortable. A classic sweatshirt will go so with so many things in your handmade closet and will definitely be a key player in your weekly wardrobe. And the dress version is your comfy new BFF - chic enough to wear for work, cool enough for brunch with friends, and practical enough for chasing the kiddos around the playground. What's more, it has (deep) cutaway pockets!

As there is sooooo much you can do with this blank canvas, this post is going to focus on ideas for how you could make and style your handmade Billie sweatshirts and dresses. So, let's get onto the fun bit - all the dreamy inspo!

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

There are so many colour options for Billie, so the first bit of this inspo post is going to cover some palettes you might want to consider. You can figure out which one reflects your style - candy crush, nicely neutral or rainbow bright!

Candy colours are definitely a favourite at TATB. Sweet hues that make even sweeter me-mades are always one of our top choices. Pastel shades are perfect for Billie, especially for lounging around at home. If you want to make a candy-coloured Billie for daywear, try pairing with a solid colour neutral, such as black, white or denim. If you can't choose your favourite shade, why not make a sweatshirt with a few colours like the centre right image? That's got to be first on my list!

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12

Making your own clothes means you get to choose the fabrics and trimmings, but occasionally means you can end up with lots of pieces that don't go together - doh! Why not make a Billie that is so nicely neutral, it teams with all the prints in your wardrobe and gets maximum wear?

I have a ready-to-wear black sweatshirt that I wear all the time in spring, autumn and winter, so that might have to move over for a black Billie sweater with balloon sleeves! We cannot talk about neutrals without acknowledging the ultimate sweatshirt colour - grey marl. As a dress or sweatshirt, it will be casual, smart and understated, and allow your accessories to do the talking.

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Wearing bright clothes really can help lift your mood - something we all need right now. Inject some fun rainbow colours into your handmade wardrobe with a bright Billie. Bold colours go really well with monochrome prints, perfect for boosting your spotty dotty makes, like the bottoms right image!

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 

There would be no TATB without stripes, so I can't go without mentioning them, can I? A classic striped Billie sweatshirt or dress would make a lovely addition to any me-made wardrobe. You can find striped sweatshirting in tons of different stripe colour combinations - a particular favourite of mine is anything multicoloured or with rainbow stripes. 

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Prints, prints, gotta love those prints! What about a fun pattern or print for your Billie make? Animal print, spots, dots and checks... there are so many options out there you're sure to find one that speaks to you. I love the idea of doing a contrast neckband, cuffs and hem band with a print.
Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Billie can be a blank canvas for you to express yourself however you want to. You could use your Billie make to say what's on your mind and add a slogan. Whether you are announcing it's your 'Day Off' or letting the world know your favourite food is 'French Toast', you can say it your way!

There are lots of different ways you could do this, with iron-on vinyl, ready-to-use iron-on letters, pre-made patches, embroidery, sewing on fabric scraps... it's just such a fun idea :)
Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

There are lots of other ways you could customise and embellish your Billie to make it your way! Just a few ideas include tie-dyeing, sewing on pearls or beads, fabric painting, sewing on patches of fabric, colour blocking, adding pompoms, using iron-on or sew-on patches, doing some hand embroidery. The list is endless and once you go down a Pinterest hole with your idea, there's no coming back!

So now onto how to style your Billie sweatshirt in five different ways!

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

First up is my personal favourite way to wear a sweatshirt and currently in heavy rotation as it's perfect for wearing when staying at home - Billie paired with joggers! You could sew a luxurious loungewear suit using the Stella joggers sewing pattern from Tilly's book, Stretch! to team perfectly with the Billie sweatshirt. You could sew the whole suit from the same fabric in a block colour, print or pattern, or make mix and match set! You might find you want to whip up more than one set...

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2 / 3

Workwear has shifted for lots of people, to more comfortable options that can be worn when working from home. Whether your desk is currently your kitchen table or you are travelling into an office, workwear can be comfy and chic! The Safiya trousers tick the smart and comfy boxes and, just like the Billie sweatshirt, are easy and speedy to make. Safiya is just one of six main patterns in Tilly's book Make It Simple, which can be made in multiple different ways. 

You can make Safiya from smart drapey woven fabrics, such as Tencel, crêpe and plissé. Team it with a neutral or subtle print Billie sweatshirt with balloon sleeves for a bit of on-trend interest to your outfit, and you've got a work-appropriate outfit!

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2

Sweatshirts are a great option for the weekend. If you're heading out to meet pals and want something that looks put together but is also comfortable, you could team Billie with the Bobbi skirt

Bobbi is packed full of gorgeous details - adorable patch pockets with optional flaps, pretty topstitching, buttons down the front, and optional belt loops. Billie is a great partner to Bobbi to allow those details to do the talking. Your friends won't believe you made the whole outfit yourself!

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2


We have a long-term love affair with 70s style and with the right outfit combo, the humble sweatshirt can give off serious 70s vibes. Pair the simple Billie sweatshirt with the gently flared Jessa trousers and you will make an outfit that gives a modern twist to the era. 

If like me, you need lots of layers when it gets cold, a Freya roll neck top would be an ideal under the Billie sweatshirt. A 70s rainbow stripe Freya would look very at home with this outfit combo. The Freya roll neck or mock neck is just one of six patterns in Tilly's book Stretch! 

Inspiration and styling ideas for Billie - Tilly and the Buttons
Images clockwise L-R: 1 / 2

Are you a member of the dungarees appreciation society? This combo will make potentially practical dungarees a little bit pretty! Team a pair of our Mila dungarees with the Billie balloon sleeve variation - it's got to be one of the dreamiest pairings there could be! It's just the thing for taking the kids or pooch(es) to the park or taking a leisurely stroll or cycle at the weekend. Practical and pretty in one me-made package!

Are you full to the brim with inspiration for making and wearing your Billie sweatshirt and dress yet? We cannot wait to see what you make or how you style it, so please do share it with us by tagging @TillyButtons and using the #SewingBillie tag.

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Author: Louise Carmichael