8 February 2023

Ten Years of Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns!

Tilly a white woman with cropped hair, a lilac blouse and tape measure around her neck places a sewing pattern on a shelf

In 2013, I took the plunge and shared a self-drafted sewing pattern to this blog, unsure whether anyone would buy it. Little did I know that I'd still be making sewing patterns ten years later - now as my actual job, with a team of people helping me! 

43 patterns, 3 books, 9 online workshops, 2 babies, 1 global pandemic and 57,000 cups of coffee later, Tilly and the Buttons is still going strong.

A red haired model wears a teal polka dot Mathilde blouse with puffed sleeves and tucks down the bodice

That first pattern was the Mathilde blouse. Originally it was a PDF file to print at home, with simple text instructions supported by an in-depth sewalong on the blog. I did almost everything myself, from drafting the pattern, creating technical drawings, "modelling" in my kitchen with the camera on timer, to customer service... The only thing I outsourced was grading the pattern into different sizes, for which I have always hired a professional fashion industry grader.

A range of colourful Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns are shown on a turquoise background with sewing tools around them

Our patterns have evolved - and improved - a lot over the years. They now include our signature full colour photo instructions. Many are available in print as well as PDF version. Lots of our patterns now have a much more inclusive size range, from UK 6-34. And it's no longer just me working from my kitchen table - we have a team of amazing people working on the patterns, from drafting through to answering your emails.

Throughout these changes, the intention has remained the same. To inspire more people to sew, with gorgeous designs, refreshingly clear instructions, and an encouraging attitude.

Tilly smiles while sewing a floral blouse

To celebrate ten years of Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns, we thought it would be fun to give you a peek inside my sewing box, which may just contain a few memorable items from the last ten years...

Tilly looks through a rail of clothes and holds out an orange print Indigo dress

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped Tilly and the Buttons along the way - from family and friends, such as OG blogger friend Alana who stuffed envelopes from my flat in Brixton in the early days, the amazing Team Buttons old and new, our talented freelance team, loyal stockists who gave us a chance, publishing teams, sponsors, partners and press who've supported us over the years... and of course YOU lovely lot who buy our stuff, share your makes, tell your friends about us. I say it all the time, but I'll say it again - we really do have the best customers in the world :)

Tilly wears a white ruffle blouse and holds the Marnie sewing pattern in front of a shelf of sewing books and patterns

Here's to the next ten years!

Author: Tilly Walnes
Photos: Abi Dyson