30 November 2022

A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

At Tilly and the Buttons, we love nothing more than hearing our customers say they had a great experience with our sewing patterns – whether we got them started sewing in the first place, helped them get over their fear, gave them a lightbulb moment, or took their existing sewing skills up a level.

I started making patterns after hearing friends and blog readers saying that they found traditional sewing patterns confusing and intimidating. This was so sad to hear, as I wanted everyone to discover the joy of sewing! So, blending my professional experience in developing learning resources with my personal passion for DIY fashion, I set out to rethink sewing patterns for the new wave of makers – with refreshingly clear instructions that translate the jargon and show you what each step looks like in colour photos.

Our patterns have come a long way since I first started making them in my kitchen at home! A decade on, we have a team of amazing professionals working on them. We are so proud that our patterns regularly win awards and are often recommended for their user-friendliness.

You may have seen our current patterns on the shelves of your local fabric store, on your Instagram feed, or maybe sitting unopened in your own stash at home. So I thought I’d give you a look inside to show you what you get once you open that magical envelope…

But first, the cover! Rather than using professional models, we prefer to hire inspiring-yet-relatable people from the crafting community to showcase our designs, on a range of body shapes.

Most of our printed patterns now have two models on the front, which means they’re printed in our full size range, from UK 6-34 / US 2-30 / EUR 34-62 / AUS 6-34. (Some even include one size below this, making them great for teens and tweens.)

Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns
Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

A strip across the bottom indicates which skill level the pattern is aimed at – “beginners” can be made by total newbies, “confident beginners” are great if you’ve made a few things before or are up for a challenge, and “improvers” will teach new skills such as French seams, collars and more.

Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

The back cover breaks down the key features of the design and shows technical drawings of the garment so you can see the style lines and features. We like to include multiple variations so you have lots of options.

You'll also find information on the supplies you'll need and which fabrics your pattern is suitable for.

Underneath you'll see a body measurements chart to help you pick your pattern size and see how much fabric you need depending on the size, version you’re making and fabric width. All measurements are listed in both metric and imperial throughout our patterns.

Let's take a look inside!

Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns
Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

Every element of the pattern, including the paper, is printed right here in the UK. We use durable paper rather than tissue, so you don't have to worry about the pattern tearing, scrunching up or flying away while you’re using it! Our paper is much easier to use, more accurate to cut, and folds away again at the end.

Another thing that sets our patterns apart is that we label the seams so you can see which bit is which and understand how the garment will come together. I can clearly remember what it’s like to be a beginner looking at those random shapes and trying to figure out what’s what! It’s these little touches that can make your sewing experience soooo much smoother.

All the sizes are included, each in a different dash style to show you where to cut.

Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

We want our instructions booklet to look as cute on your sewing table as your lovely fabric, so we don’t scrimp here – you get a lovely-looking full-colour booklet.

The jargon buster translates key terms for you – we don’t assume prior knowledge.

Next, you’ll find important information about sizing, including finished garment measurements, and a link to free fitting resources on our blog.

Then we outline how to cut and mark your fabric, with diagrams to show you the most economical way of laying out the pieces.

Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

And now we come to the most important part – the sewing instructions! There's a reason our sewing patterns are award-winning, and we believe it's due to our hand-holding instructions. The step-by-step photos show you what your project should look like as you’re making it – they’re great for visual learners. We write with makers in mind, making sure we explain everything clearly and don’t assume prior knowledge. Our instructions are also tested by sewists of different experience levels, including beginners, to ensure they are easy to follow. 

We also like to pepper the booklet with bonus sewing tips that you can use in future projects. Plus we include links to free tutorials and videos if you need more help with a particular technique.

Tilly and the Buttons - A Look Inside Our Sewing Patterns

We have an AMAZING online community who inspire us with their creations. On the back, you'll find the dedicated hashtag for the pattern you've picked up so you can snoop on other people’s makes, get ideas, and share what you’ve made too! (Our official pattern hashtags are always #Sewing*PatternName* - for example, #SewingMarnie or #SewingBillie)

With Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns, you finish with more than a gorgeous piece of clothing that you’ve made yourself. You also come away with new skills, inspiration and confidence to fuel your sewing in the future, whatever your level. We really hope you enjoy them!

P.S. Like this post? Check out our 'How We Make Our Sewing Patterns' video mini-series on Instagram! Start here.