4 November 2020

Meet the Billie Sweatshirt and Dress Sewing Pattern!

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern

Here's a riddle for you - what's ultra-comfy, casual, modern, and your next favourite make? Answer: it's the Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress! Billie is the newest member of the Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern family and we can't wait to tell you more. 

As we're spending a little (a lot) more time than usual at home at the moment, we decided to create a pattern that you'll feel great in, wherever you are and whatever you're doing - whether that's in Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting, glued to your sewing machine, or lounging on the sofa!

With multiple sleeve versions, and the choice to make a top or a dress with optional cutaway pockets, the question is: which version will you make first? 

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern

And there's more! The first 400 orders of the Billie printed pattern will get a FREE Happy Fabric 'Maker' iron-on vinyl (pictured above). Press it onto your sweatshirt (no extra sewing required) and show the world your crafty status! Select the 'Pattern + Free Gift' option from the dropdown menu on the shop page to get one. The free gift is exclusive to the Billie printed pattern and does not apply to Billie digital sewing pattern purchases, and is only available whilst stocks last.

Excited to learn more about Bille? Let's get to it...

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing patternTilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing patternTilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing patternTilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern



THE DESIGN

When designing the Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress, Tilly wanted to create a quintessential sweatshirt pattern with a twist. And what better way to elevate a garment than with on-trend sleeves and super cute pockets?

All versions of Billie have a relaxed (but not too baggy) shape, crew neckline and classic neckband. Keep it effortless with cuffed, straight sleeves (either long or three-quarter length), or add some drama with on-trend balloon sleeves and deep cuffs. The balloon sleeves are seriously gorgeous - we've gone wild for them in the TATB (virtual) office!

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing patternTilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern

Billie also comes in two lengths, a top length which sits on the high hip, or a mini dress which finishes 10cm (4in) above the knee. The dress version also has the option of adding gorgeous (and generously roomy!) cutaway pockets, which pass the test of being able to store the biggest of smartphones. Both versions are cinched in at the bottom with a deep hem band.  

It's no secret we love the concept of "secret pyjamas". These are clothes that look stylish but are so snuggly and comfortable you could totally lounge on the sofa watching a film or take a nap in them, and we're delighted to report that Billie ticks all the boxes in this category :)

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern

THE SEWING PATTERN

Our award-winning sewing patterns feature clear instructions with step-by-step colour photos to guide you through the project. The pattern pieces themselves are clearly labelled so you can see which seam is which and how they go together.

The Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress is suitable for confident beginners. If you've made a couple of garments before, you're ready to make Billie. If you've never sewn with knit fabrics before and are a bit apprehensive - don't be! Pick a low stretch French terry, loopback or sweatshirting fabric, all of which are easy to sew. Our instructions will hold your hand every step of the way, and we have some additional resources on the dedicated Billie blog page to help you further, including a video tutorial on how to sew a jersey neckband, plus a video coming soon with tips aplenty for sewing sweatshirt knit fabrics.

The only other slightly tricky aspects of the pattern are gathering the balloon sleeves and stitching the pockets, however, the instructions will also take you through these options, step-by-step. We also have a blog post (with video!) on how to sew gathers on the dedicated Billie page you can check out.

Order the printed sewing pattern and we'll send you a beautiful package in the post, with full-colour instruction booklet. Made in the UK, our patterns are printed on durable paper which you can use again and again without it tearing or scrunching up. As well as our online shop, you can buy them from fabric shops and department shops around the world - check out our list of stockists

Prefer to print your own pattern? Buy the digital pattern and you'll get an email in an instant with a PDF to download. You can either print it at home on A4 or Letter size paper and stick the sheets together, or send the A0 version to a copyshop or pattern printer to print full scale.

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern
Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern

SIZING AND SUPPLIES

The Billie pattern is available in ten sizes – from UK 6 – 24, US 2 – 20, or EUR 34 – 52. You can see the exact body measurements on the sizing chart.

Billie is designed for medium- to heavy-weight knit fabrics with at least 10% stretch such as sweatshirt fleece, French terry, ponte, double knit, interlock or sweater knit. If you're sewing the balloon sleeve version in a thick sweatshirting fabric, you'll need a sturdy machine as the gathers make the sleeve seams quite thick.

If your fabric has at least 20% crosswise stretch, you can use it for the sleeve cuffs, hem band and neckband. If your fabric has less than 20% crosswise stretch, or if you want to mix it up a bit, you can use a matching, toning or contrast ribbing fabric for these details. You can get ribbing from lots of fabric shops and it's mostly (but not always) sold as "tubular ribbing", where the fabric comes as, you've guessed it, a tube and has no selvedges. Check the online shop page for more details on what fabric you need for each version.

Tilly's working on a blog post with tips on sewing with sweatshirt fabric which will go live in the not so distant future, so make sure you check that out! Speaking of blog posts, Louise will also shortly hit publish on a fabric and inspiration post for making and styling Billie. Trust me, it's a goodie, and is filled with gorgeous fabrics and styling ideas. You won't want to miss it.

Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern
Tilly and the Buttons - Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress sewing pattern

Excited to stitch up the Billie sweatshirt and sweater dress? Us too! Grab a copy from our online shop

We always love seeing your makes and progress shots so don't forget to tag us on Instagram @TillyButtons using the hashtag #SewingBillie so we can see your lovely creations.

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Author: Nikki Hoar
Model: Marcela Solarte @mama.on.a.sew
Photographer: Jane Looker
Video: Filmed by Jane Looker, edited by Jenny Lingham-Doe
Makeup: Laura Anne
Samples: sewn by Lisa Obuchowska
Pink grid See You at Six French terry: Lamazi Fabrics (gifted)
Light blue fleece back sweatshirting: Minerva Crafts (gifted)
'Maker' decal: Created in a collaboration with Happy Fabric
Glow glam drops jacquard in navy and copper: Albestoffe (gifted)
Mustard organic sweatshirt fleece: Fabric Godmother