29 June 2022

How to Add an Elasticated Back Tie to Coralie

A light blue and white gingham swimsuit with a bow tie back on a pink background

This blog post is an extract from our Learn to Sew Swimwear online workshop. 

Our online workshop Learn to Sew Swimwear guides you through sewing your Coralie swimsuits & bikinis, and also includes THREE gorgeous pattern hacks to try. In today's blog post, we're sharing an extract from the workshop showing you how to add a pretty but practical elasticated back tie to your Coralie swimwear.

Adding an elasticated back tie is the perfect way to add extra bust support, but this isn't just a practical hack, it makes a super cute bow detail to your Coralie swimsuit or bikini top. If you're finding that your swimwear is gaping slightly at the underarms, or the low back option on the swimsuit feels too open for you (but don't forget to check out our Fitting Coralie blog post too!), then this back tie hack is a quick, simple and pretty solution! 

In this extract from our online workshop Learn to Sew Swimwear you'll learn:

  • how to repurpose an existing Coralie pattern piece to use as the template for your back tie
  • how to encase 8-10mm (5/16-3/8in) wide swim elastic with swimwear fabric to form the elasticated back ties
  • how to attach the ties to the back opening of your swimwear

Watch the video extract from our online workshop below to create your own lovely back ties for your Coralie swimwear:

22 June 2022

Fitting Coralie

Tilly and the Buttons - fitting Coralie swimwear

Making the Coralie swimwear and need a little extra help getting the fit just right? Well, you've come to the right place! This post will cover the most common fitting adjustments you might want to consider for your Coralie. 

The Coralie swimwear, designed in collaboration with Hannah from Evie la Lùve, is a simple-to-sew, versatile swimwear pattern with multiple versions to choose from. Oh and did we mention it’s got ruffles too?! With so many gorgeous variations to sew we best get cracking!

Tilly and the Buttons - fitting Coralie swimwear

Our bodies are all wonderfully different and part of the joy of making our own clothes, lingerie and swimwear is that we can customise them completely to our shape and not have to settle with something that "kinda fits" bought from a shop. As with all sewing patterns, to get a perfect fit on the Coralie pattern, you may find you need to tweak the pattern a little bit before cutting out your fabric.

For best results, we recommend making a test swimsuit or bikini – AKA a “toile” – first before sewing in any special or expensive fabrics to check size and fit. It’s super important when making your toile that you use a fabric that has the same amount of stretch and recovery in both directions as the fabric you plan to make your final swimwear from. If it has a different stretch percentage, unfortunately it’s almost pointless making a test garment as it will fit differently. So make sure the stretch percentage is the same before you start, to save wasting your time and fabric! The fabric you use needs to have at least 50% stretch both widthways and lengthways. (Check out the supplies section in the online workshop for how to measure stretch percentage.)

In this post we’re going to cover:

Choosing your size
Lengthening or shortening pattern pieces
How to combine pattern sizes for different bust, waist and hip measurements
Full bust adjustment
Fixing a gaping seam
Adjusting the leg height
A quick fix for straps that are too long

Tilly and the Buttons - fitting Coralie swimwear

How do I choose my sewing pattern size?

Taking accurate measurements is the first step in making sure that your swimwear will fit. The three measurements you will need to determine your size are your bust, waist and hip measurements.

Using a flexible tape measure, find the circumference of your:

Bust – the fullest part of your bust, ie. around your nipples
Waist – the narrowest point around your middle, where you bend at the side
Hips – the fullest part of your bum (not around your hip bones, as the name suggests, which is higher up)

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.

18 June 2022

Inspiration and Fabric Shopping for Coralie Swimwear

Inspiration and Fabric Shopping for Coralie Swimwear

Ready for some mouthwatering ideas for sewing your Coralie swimsuits and bikinis

Sewing swimwear can feel daunting and we know for lots of sewists this may be your first toe-dip into the pool of supply shopping for this type of project. 

This is why we aren't only launching a gorgeous swimwear sewing pattern and an online workshop, we've also got a fully stocked supply shop with everything you need to sew Coralie - including all the fabrics we used for our stunning photoshoot samples!


We are stocking swimwear fabric for a limited period this summer, so be quick! If the fabric you have your heart set says 'OUT OF STOCK', click the 'TELL ME WHEN IT'S BACK' button underneath to get a notification if we restock it. At the time of writing, we have solid colours, lining and 6mm elastic back in stock verrrry soon and ginghams due back in early July.


Your main fabric needs to be a four-way stretch knit swimwear fabric with at least 50% stretch in both directions - crosswise and lengthwise. Look for a mix of nylon or polyester with elastane (AKA Lycra/Spandex). 

For your lining you can use a swimwear lining, stretch mesh or more of your main fabric, with at least 50% stretch in both directions. (If you're using main fabric for the lining though, we'd recommend more like 60/70% stretch as two layers of outer fabric will reduce how much the finished garment can stretch.) 

See above for the full breakdown of the Coralie sewing supplies!

15 June 2022

Learn to Sew Swimwear with our NEW Pattern and Online Workshop

Tilly and the Buttons X Evie La Luve Coralie swimsuit and bikini sewing pattern

Our sunniest launch is here! A brand new sewing pattern, an accompanying online workshop, AND a swimwear supplies shop!

Dive into summer by sewing your own Coralie swimsuit or bikini, created in collaboration with designer Evie la Lùve and available in sizes UK 6-34.

A photo of Hannah against mannequins wearing Coralie swimwear

Following the success of our collaboration last year on the Iris knickers sewing pattern and Learn to Sew knickers online workshop, we've teamed up again with Hannah Bullivant, the designer behind Evie la Lùve, this time to demystify swimwear

In our latest online workshop, Learn to Sew Swimwear, Hannah's expertise and reassuring teaching style will guide you through all the steps to creating a beautiful me-made swimsuit or bikini.

What's more, we've also put together a supply shop of mouthwatering swimwear fabrics and durable elastics, so your sewing will be smooth sailing.


Grab an ice cream and relax, because we've got SEW MUCH exciting info to share...

Back view of a lilac Coralie swimsuit featuring a low back with ruffles.
Model wearing a Coralie bikini featuring lilac high waist bottoms with a bikini top with neckline ruffles in mint and coral.
Model wearing a blue and white gingham Coralie bikini.
Model wearing a chartreuse yellow and white gingham Coralie swimsuit.


Nervous about tackling swimwear? If you need a helping hand, our brand new Learn to Sew Swimwear online workshop, taught by Hannah of Evie la Lùve, will take you step-by-step through making the pattern, with in-depth video lessons. Online workshops are the perfect way to learn from home, with on-demand lessons you can take at your own pace - plus the pattern is included in the price!

Get £10 off with our early-bird discount

Discount valid until 9am BST (UK time) on Wednesday 29 June 2022. No code required.

8 June 2022

Marcela's Lyra Shirt Dress Hack ft. Full-Length, Faux Button Placket!

Marcela's Lyra Shirt Dress Hack ft. Full-Length, Faux Button Placket!

Ready for some serious sewing inspo? We're handing the blog reins over to our newest Button recruit, our Office Assistant (and previous sewing pattern cover gal) Marcela! Marcela is known for her dreamy and adventurous sewing pattern hacks, and when we caught sight of her latest Lyra shirt dress featuring a full-length, faux button placket, we just HAD to know how she did it, and we bet you wanna know too...

Take it away, Marcela!

Marcela's Lyra shirt dress

Hi all! I want to share one of my favourite Tilly and the Buttons patterns with you, not because my face is on the cover, but more so for the fit of this pattern and because of my love for shirts. It’s the Lyra Shirt Dress sewing pattern, of course! 

When the pattern was released, I made my first version using a gorgeous viscose fabric from Fabrics Galore London, and confession time ... this was the first time I'd sewed with a "slippery fabric". Why I waited so long I will never know because it was super easy to sew with (check out our cutting & sewing tips here!). The drape in the fabric suits the Lyra pattern perfectly and I love how the final dress looks.

1 June 2022

Low Sew-Jo? Three Tips to Motivate Yourself to Sew (with Video!)

Three tips to motivate yourself to sew - Tilly and the Buttons

Lost the motivation to sew? How do you reignite your sew-jo - by which, of course, I mean your sewing mojo - when you're just not feeling it?

Let's face it, even if you lurrrrrve sewing, sometimes it's hard to summon the will and energy to cut something out or sit down at the machine and actually, you know, sew it. 

I know the feeling, particularly during the current phase of my life while I'm juggling running a business with looking after two children, one of whom is a baby who hasn't yet understood the assignment to sleep through the night. When they're finally in bed at the end of the day, I'm absolutely zonked and either want to go straight to bed myself or collapse on the sofa!

But, when I do sew, I feel really good. Even if I'm tired, spending even just a few minutes sewing a few seams makes me feel fulfilled. Making things really does nurture the soul, and it feels great to do something that’s just for myself.

So here are three tips I’ve learned that motivate me to sew when you I don’t feel like it...

Tilly's home sewing space

1) Make your sewing space appealing

I don’t know about you, but I'm more likely to want to spend time in my space when it looks cute – it makes me want to dive right in! 

So it's worth making the effort every so often to tidy away the clutter, organise your tools and sort out your supplies stash. 

Ask yourself how you can make it look and feel appealing to you – for me, this means adding colour with pastel tools and accessories, a rainbow thread rack, and cute pattern envelopes on display. Maybe for you this means adding pictures, plants, a comfy chair or motivational quotes – whatever it is that makes the space inspiring so you actually want to spend time there! Hopefully a little makeover will make your sewing table lure you in more often...

Sewing machine tools and project bag

2) Keep everything to hand

If you have the space, it's a great idea to keep your sewing machine out where you can see it. If it's hidden away in a cupboard, you're much less likely to use it - partly because you can’t see it, partly because it's an inconvenience to get it out and set it up. (I mean, how often do you use that smoothie maker that's stored under your stairs?)

I also like to keep my most-used tools - such as scissors, pins, tape measure and, of course, a seam ripper - in one pot that I can easily grab when needed. 

I also keep works-in-progress in a dedicated bag so I can easily find everything I need for that sewing project, such as thread, interfacing, buttons or elastic. I either use zip lock bags or re-use cellophane bags from online clothes shopping, which are great as they're easily resealable and you can instantly see what’s inside them.

Making it easy to find what you need makes it that little bit more convenient to stitch a few seams together when you have a bit of free time!

Tilly's hands sewing

3) Sew for just ten minutes

When life is busy and/or you're really tired, if you tell yourself that you should be sewing for an hour or two, that can feel overwhelming and unachievable. You're much more likely to get started if you don’t make it a big deal - try telling yourself that you're only going to sew for ten minutes. What can you get done in that time? Maybe you could insert a sleeve or two, sew a couple of seams, add some buttonholes... or even just tidy up a little for next time (see tip number one!).

If you do sew for ten minutes, you'll most likely still feel great and make progress. And, once you've overcome the hurdle of starting, chances are you won't want to stop and that ten minutes will turn into a fair bit longer :)

Those are my three tips for motivating yourself to sew when sew-jo is low. I hope they may be helpful to you if you find yourself in a sewing funk too!

P.S. I wrote a similar post about kick-starting your sew-jo back in 2016 - it includes some different tips to this post so is also worth a read (back then I didn't have children, so they're written from a different viewpoint!).

Author: Tilly Walnes