5 August 2020

Tilly's Lockdown Makes (Video!)

Midi length pink and red Indigo smock dress

How has the Covid-19 lockdown affected your creativity? Have you had more time or less time on your hands to sew? Have you felt inspired to make all the things or too anxious to thread a needle?

At the time of writing, I've been extremely lucky enough not to have friends or family severely affected healthwise by the pandemic, so that hasn't been a factor for me. I acknowledge that this is a privilege, and I am aware that some of you reading this may be going through a harder time right now - if this is the case, I'm sending you lots of love. I hope that craft - or at least dreaming about creativity - has provided you with some release, relief or rest during this difficult time.

My experience of lockdown has been up and down, feeling grateful for my fortunate position (our health, a happy home, an online business that is weathering the storm, a garden...!) while also struggling most days with juggling an ever-changing small business with looking after my two year old while we haven't had childcare for four months.

I've had verrrry little time to myself. Some weeks I've been too frazzled to even go to the loo, let alone think about sewing anything... while at other times I have felt incredibly inspired and energised to make stuff, and have harnessed this urge to power on through and cut out a new project even if my body is screaming, "Go to bed!". It just goes to show that one's energy level (fuelled by inspiration and motivation) can be more important than the amount of "free time" you have when it comes to getting things done.

I've also found that my style has swung quite significantly with my feelings about lockdown. In the first few weeks, I was gravitating towards solid muted colours such as navy and black - perhaps to match my mood of anxiety, fear and the newness of being cooped up indoors. Later I had the urge to make things in ALL the colours and bold prints - mirroring the wave of rainbows popping up in windows, reflecting my need for optimism and a desire to brighten the day of anyone I happened to see. Plus I've realised I've been experimenting more with styles and silhouettes, perhaps because there's no one looking to judge if they didn't work out!

I made a video sharing some of the things I've made during this weird, unprecedented time, from April to July 2020. I say "some" of the things I made during lockdown as I also made lots of face coverings, samples for forthcoming patterns for work, as well as birthday gifts for family. Phew!

29 July 2020

Three Double Gauze Stevie Smocks

Three Double Gauze Stevie Smocks - Tilly and the Buttons

My name is Tilly and I am obsessed with making double gauze Stevie smocks.

You may have spotted not one, not two, but THREE of them in our recent video on tips for sewing with double gauze, and I thought I’d show you in more detail what I'm living in at the moment.

They were all made with our Stevie add-on sewing pattern, a digital download which gives you the extra pieces and instructions to turn our popular tunic pattern into an oversized smock dress with large patch pocket and/or to add bracelet-length sleeves to the top, tunic or smock.

Three Double Gauze Stevie Smocks - Tilly and the Buttons

This pattern works so well with double gauze fabric. It is the epitome of easy-breezy, with no tight bits clinging to your skin when you just want to breeeeathe in the hot weather, but also cute with tights when it cools down a bit. Double gauze has just the right balance between body and drape, meaning you get a floaty dress that shows off the oversized silhouette nicely.

Here are a few more details on each of the three dresses, in the order in which I made them...

24 July 2020

Inspiration for Making the Stevie Add-On Pattern

Stevie add-on sewing pattern inspiration - Tilly and the Buttons

Who feels a little smug when they maximise makes from a single sewing pattern? It feels good, doesn't it? One magical element of dressmaking is how you can use the same pattern, again and again, switching up the fabric choice and getting a totally different result. It is smart stitching because once you've got the garment fit nailed and the instructions studied, you can just fly through projects.

If you are one of many serial makers of our bestselling Stevie sewing pattern, you might be looking for new design twists to make your tenth Stevie stand out from the crowd. Well, you are in luck as we have just released a Stevie add-on pattern that gives you more ways to make this fan fave! The add-on gives you the pattern pieces and instructions to make Stevie with much-requested three-quarter length sleeves, or as an oversized smock dress with gathered skirt, and to add extra-large patch pockets to make your me-made extra practical.

You will need a copy of the Stevie pattern to use the new pieces, so if you don't have it already you can grab the add-on pattern PDF bundle which includes everything you need.

The Stevie add-on can be made from light- to medium-weight woven fabrics, such as linen, double gauze, chambray, cotton lawn, viscose (rayon), Tencel (lyocell), sandwashed silk or crêpe de chine. For the version with three-quarter length sleeves, go for a drapey fabric (for example, washed linen or linen viscose blend rather than crisp 100% linen). The gathered dress version would also be nice in a low stretch knit such as interlock or lightweight French terry.

Stevie add-on sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

You can mix and match the pattern pieces to make the Stevie of your dreams. Maybe you fancy making a three-quarter sleeve tunic dress with two extra-large patch pockets, or sewing the oversized smock dress with a smaller top patch pocket and a large one on the skirt? There are tons of ways you can play with this pattern - you become the designer!

I'm going to take you through some style inspiration as well as a few cheeky fabric suggestions (I can't miss an excuse for fabric window shopping!). I haven't seen these fabrics up close so do request a sample if you want to check out that it's exactly what you want before adding to cart.

So now onto the inspiration!

Stevie add-on sewing pattern inspiration - Tilly and the Buttons

22 July 2020

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric (with Video!)

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric - Tilly and the Buttons

One of my all-time favourite fabrics to sew with is double gauze. Not only does it make for the most scrumptiously soft and lovely-to-wear clothing, it is also pretty simple to sew once you get your head round how to handle its unique properties.

We get a lot of questions about how to sew with double gauze, so I thought I’d share my top tips with you… and hopefully inspire you to give it a try if you haven’t yet done so!

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric - Tilly and the Buttons

But first – what exactly is double gauze?

This material is made up of two layers of fine, open weave cotton gauze. The layers are held together at regular intervals with teensy stitches, leaving a suggestion of air trapped between them. The result is lightweight but not thin, airy yet snuggly, and almost squishy to the touch in some cases. As I often say, it’s like wearing a cloud!

It has a naturally crinkly texture to it, which you can press out if you like, or leave in for a more distinctive look.

Tips for Sewing with Double Gauze Fabric - Tilly and the Buttons

Back when I first started sewing, I associated double gauze with gorgeous (and expensive to import) Japanese Kokka prints. Since then, more and more fabric companies have added this lovely substrate to their range, so you can find a wider range of designs in a wider range of shops.

Sounds dreamy? Read on for my tips! Or watch the video for a condensed version of the tips…