25 January 2023

How to Combine Pattern Sizes

Do your bust, waist or hip measurements fall across different sizes? If so, you can "grade" between sizes to get a perfect fit. Hooray! It's Nikki here, Product Manager and self-confessed fitting nerd here at Tilly and the Buttons, and in this post I'm going to cover how to combine sizes on pattern pieces.

One of the best things about sewing is that you can create clothes that fit your unique body shape. If you have bust, waist and hip measurements that are different sizes, like me, you'll probably have stood in a clothes shop fitting room before, surrounded by a pile of clothes that are too loose on top and too tight across your hips, or vice-versa. Luckily, when it comes to making your own clothes, you can combine pattern sizes to make parts of the garment bigger or smaller to give you a truly bespoke fit. 

When should I combine pattern sizes? 

Now, it might be tempting to combine sizes for the bust, waist and hips on all your patterns, but depending on the fit of the garment you don't always need to do this. 

If you're making a looser fitting garment or a garment that is looser fitting in some areas, you might not need to combine sizes at all. A looser fitting garment will have a lot of "positive ease", meaning the garment (or parts of it) will be much bigger than your body, so a few inches difference in that area won't make much difference to the overall fit. 

So for example, if you're making something with a fitted bust and loose waist and hips, like the Indigo top and dress pattern, and your waist measurement is 2 or 3 sizes different to your bust, then you probably won't need to make any alterations here. The same applies to the hip measurement - the skirt is loose and flowy so a few sizes difference between your body measurements won't affect the fit of the garment. However, if your bust and waist span across more than 3 sizes you might want to consider grading between sizes.

On the other hand, if you're making a garment that is designed to have a closer fit, like the Ness skirt or Etta dress, you will want to grade between sizes at the bust, waist and hip, where applicable, as there is much less ease in these areas.

Please do bear in mind though, if your bust measurement is particularly smaller or larger than the body measurement of the size you have picked, then you might need to do a bust adjustment, as well as combine sizes. Check out our bust adjustments post (coming soon!) for more info!

Most sewing patterns will list the finished garment measurements in their instructions, so if you're a bit unsure whether you need to combine sizes, comparing them against your body measurements will help you decide :) 

11 January 2023

Abi's Recent Makes and Sewing Plans

Abi's Recent Makes & Sewing Plans

This time last year I was writing a blog post sharing my 1960s-inspired handmade Martha wedding dress with you - how time flies! It's Abi here, the content producer and social media Button. I don't know about you but at the start of the year, I'm always fired up and ready to sew some new projects. I find it easier to sew when the days are longer and there's more daylight in my sewing space. So with lighter days on the horizon, I'm ready to rejuvenate my sew-jo!

Grab a cuppa and let me share my recent makes and some* of my upcoming sewing plans with you:

*The rest is top secret until spring! 

28 December 2022

Looking Back at 2022 at Tilly and the Buttons

Team Buttons employee places Marnie sewing pattern on a shelf at Tilly and the Buttons' studio
Well, it’s been another strange year, has it not?!

As 2022 draws to a close, I’m taking the opportunity to look back and reflect on what we’ve achieved at Tilly and the Buttons. This year has been a challenging one!

While we are settling into the new “normal” now that the worst of the pandemic is happily behind us (we hope), this year has been the toughest of recent times for many small businesses, in the UK at least, including ours. The aftermath of Covid, the impact of Brexit, the invasion of Ukraine, the recession and more have created turbulent times. Costs are spiralling at the same time as sales are declining, and it has been truly heart-breaking to see some of our favourite craft businesses close this year. 

At Tilly and the Buttons, we are feeling all of this, and are hanging on in there, determined to keep on with our mission to help more people sew their own clothes. We are more grateful than ever for your orders and support!

Despite these challenges, we kept our heads down and worked hard to bring you lots of lovely sewing goodness…

Pearl cardigan sewing pattern on two models - one plus size black woman in green cardigan, one petite Asian woman in multicoloured wrap cardigan

Our first new release of 2022 was the Pearl cardigan sewing pattern – a cosy V-neck wrap cardigan with three different sleeve options.

The edges are finished with bands rather than hems, making it a nice and easy sew if you’re not that confident working with knit fabrics. It’s perfect for the cold weather – definitely one to try!


14 December 2022

Five Tips for Sewing with Corduroy

Five tips for Sewing with Corduroy or Needlecord - Tilly and the Buttons

I love corduroy. And judging by the number of corduroy makes that pop up on our Instagram feed, so do lots of people! Today I thought I’d share a few tips on sewing with corduroy to get a great result.

Corduroy - which is made of cotton, sometimes blended with polyester - has visible ribs or “wales” running vertically down its lengthwise grain. The width of the ribs can vary, from jumbo cord which has wide wales - if you see it labelled as “3 wale”, this means it has 3 ribs per inch - to finer needlecord or pincord, which is more like 16 wales per inch).

Corduroy is great for making dungaree dresses, skirts, trousers (corduroy flares, anyone?) and jackets. Finer needlecord is also lovely for shirts and dresses. Keep on scrolling to find a whole host of our gorgeous patterns you can use with this lovely fabric.

So what do you need to know when cutting and sewing with corduroy?