24 February 2021

A trick for turning narrow loops - with video!

A trick for turning narrow loops, waist ties, drawstrings and straps - Tilly and the Buttons

Ever sewn a drawstring, button loop, waist tie, narrow strap, or other teeny tube before wondering how on Earth you're going to turn it right sides out?

I've shared in a previous post how to turn out narrow tubes or loops using a bodkin or a dedicated loop turner. Here's another way of doing it, using just the thread on your sewing machine - with video! You can use this method to make the drawstrings on the Jaimie PJs or Joe PJsMake It Simple book patterns - the Tabitha dress, Safiya dungarees, Suki dress, Stretch! book patterns the Stella hoody and joggers,  Maternity Agnes top and the waist tie on the Maternity Bettine dress.

If you want to watch this magical process in action, check out the video below :)

It begins before you've started sewing the fabric strip into a tube...

A trick for turning narrow loops, waist ties, drawstrings and straps - Tilly and the Buttons

Start by pulling out the bobbin and spool threads on your sewing machine, so you have about 5cm (2in) or so more than the length of the strip you're sewing together.

17 February 2021

Seven Tips for Sewing Maternity Clothes

Seven Tips for Sewing Maternity Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

If you're reading this and pregnant, first of all, congratulations! It's an exciting - if nerve-wracking and exhausting - time, and making some of your own maternity clothes is a lovely way to slow down and celebrate the wonder of your changing body.

At the time of writing, I'm in my fourth pregnancy, and hoping to meet our second little one in a few weeks' time. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some tips I've learnt about sewing for this season of my life in case you're planning to make your own maternity clothes too.

First up - why make your own maternity clothes? Why not just buy them instead? Ready-to-wear maternity clothes are very limited, and personally I've found it difficult to buy maternity clothes that are a) in my size, b) not just black or khaki, and c) to my taste, so have enjoyed making a few colourful pieces that are unique to me. And, if you're a sewing addict like me, you're not going to want to stop making things just because you're pregnant!

Onto the tips...

Maternity Agnes top in lilac stripe - worn by Tilly
Maternity Agnes top sewing pattern

1) Comfort is key

From achey hip joints to swollen ankles, pregnancy takes its toll on your body. So it's more important than ever to focus on comfort. Think soft jersey fabrics that feel nice against your skin, stretchy of flowy garments, the kind of thing you could have a quick schluff in if you get the chance! 

10 February 2021

Plans for More Pattern Sizes - and a Call for Testers!

Overhead photo of a yellow cutting mat and pattern making tools

As you may have read in my blog post from December, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes developing a new size band for our sewing patterns. Read on to find out more details of what we have planned, the process involved, and a call for pattern testers to help us get a great fit!

First of all, why are we creating a whole new size band?

I started Tilly and the Buttons because I wanted sewing to be accessible and inspiring to more people,  and decided to do something constructive about it. One of our main focuses and points of differentiation from other pattern brands out there has been introducing sewing to new people, including the younger generations and those of us who had never been taught the techniques. We aim to break down the barriers of lack of skills and creative confidence with user-friendly patterns, a wealth of free sewing resources and a hearty dose of encouragement. 

This is still – and will remain to be – a big focus for us. But one of the other barriers stopping even more people enjoying sewing is the availability of sewing patterns that fit the variety of body shapes and sizes out there.

Over the past couple of years we’ve been adding additional sizes up to a UK 24 to our core collection of new and most popular patterns, making 18 patterns to date in this extended sizing. But we know there are more people outside of this size range who would love to join in the fun of making our patterns. If we continued to add extra sizes to our existing patterns, the proportions wouldn’t end up quite right. So getting a great fit means starting from scratch with the patterns and their proportions.

So what we’ve done is created a whole new size chart with different proportions, from UK 16 – 34 (US 12 – 30 / EUR 44 – 62). In our chart, this will go up to a 152.5cm (60in) bust, 134.5cm (53in) waist and 155cm (61in) hip.

The most noticeable difference in the proportions from our current patterns is that the tummy slightly fuller and the bust will be curvier (a 10cm/4in difference between high bust and full bust, as opposed to 5cm/2in difference in our current chart). This is great news for those of you who have been telling us you have larger boobs, including those of you in the upper half of our existing size chart – five of the sizes overlap, so you can choose which one to buy depending on your shape. 

3 February 2021

Spring PDF Sewing Pattern Sale!

PDF sewing patterns - Tilly and the Buttons

Spring is the perfect time to get stitching, which means it's also a great time for a little sale! 

Our PDF patterns are on offer until midnight GMT Sunday 7th February 2021 - when you buy one PDF pattern, you get another one half price*. Yessssss!

There's no code needed, and you can use the offer across multiple patterns - so if you buy four patterns, two of them will be half price, and so on.


So why are PDF patterns such a great option? Well, you can download them immediately after purchase, and either print them at home straight away or send them to a pattern printer or copy shop to print for you - so nothing can stand in the way of your sewing session. You can print them as many times as you like, so if you need to do lots of adjustments or want to sew a different size in the future, you can easily print another fresh copy. If you also like to sew gifts for other people you can print off a copy in their size rather than using your personal pattern - genius!

Another pretty important plus - storage. Yep, we all know that when you sew you amass lots of things which can mean your sewing stash gets out of control very quickly. A digital sewing pattern library helps to keep your patterns appropriately "Marie Kondo-ed" until you need them. If you keep your library in a digital cloud you can check out your pattern stash and their fabric requirements when you are fabric shopping - speedy searching equals more fabric browsing time which we like! 

PDF sewing patterns - Tilly and the Buttons

Are you a fan of pattern mash-ups or hacks? PDF patterns make it easy to print off the pattern pieces you need, without touching the original. You can print off your favourite sleeve, pocket, belt, bodice, and so on, to use when you come to create your "Frankenpattern". Again, with a digital pattern, you can do this without touching the original - winning! 

Tilly and the Buttons PDF patterns come with two printing options - print-at-home on A4/Letter size paper, then stick the sheets together to make one full size pattern. It can be done in front of the telly with snacks... or is that just me?! If you're a newbie to this process you might find our handy guide to using digital sewing patterns - with video - useful. You'll be a pro in no time :) 

Your PDF pattern also comes with a large format copyshop file (usually A0 size) that you can send off to a sewing pattern printer or copyshop to be printed on large sheets of paper, which means no sticking the pattern together - phew! You may find your local print shop offers large format printing, or try one of the many sewing businesses that offer this service. This blog post explains A0 printing in a little more detail. 

So, are you going to join the PDF sewing pattern gang? Here are a few of our pattern picks from the spring sale that will get you started on your digital journey :)

Billie sweatshirt and dress sewing pattern


If you haven't joined the Billie brigade yet, now is your time! Our latest sewing pattern - and most popular launch to date - is a fab sweatshirt or comfy dress, which is simple to sew and has dreamy details like the optional balloon sleeves and cutaway dress pockets. You can do so much with this pattern and you most certainly will!

Shop the PDF Billie

Jaimie pyjama bottoms or shorts sewing pattern