Month: August 2017

Tilly and The Buttons Agnes in black jersey

Agnes sewing pattern cover

Such a simple but wearable top!

The Agnes sewing pattern by Tilly and The Buttons makes a simple, but very wearable jersey top. It comes with several options to make it more versatile, with different arm lengths and ruched details. I am coming late to this party though after my sewing hiatus, I think every sewing blogger under the sun has made stacks of these by now!

I opted to buy the PDF pattern and download it and print it myself which cost £9.50. You can download the Agnes pattern here. The printed pattern costs £12.50. It took me a whole evening to cut out and assemble the pattern pieces, which makes me wonder how long I would take to assemble and cut out a dress or bigger project like this. It was easy to assemble though and felt a little like a brain training exercise!

Sewing pattern instructions

The instructions were clear and easy to follow

I bought some inexpensive jersey fabric from Fabric Land in Bristol for this make. It is very soft, with some stretch, and isn’t see through despite being black (yay!). It is covered in a very fine random polka dot pattern in silver. It was a bargain at £3.99 per meter. I bought 1.5 meters for this project and I have a fair bit left I could use for something-or-other.

Cat sitting on sewing

Kiki the cat modelling the black jersey I made the Agnes with

I used my normal sewing machine for this project and opted to do the super easy route of just using zig zag stitch and it has worked very well. I bought ball point needles for this project and they have worked well. I will try using a twin needle on a future project.

The sizing is straight forward and it does seem to come up very true to what the patten says which is a huge surprise for me after lots of dubious sizing problems with commercial sewing patterns. I have a large bust and most clothes are a bit annoying to wear because I end up having pulling across the bust and loose fabric elsewhere like the shoulders, but not on this top! Its quite a miracle.

The instructions are clear and quite easy to follow. I only had one small head-scratching moment and I think that’s because the instruction photos feature a bright striped fabric that I got confused by (stripe directions). I was nervous about sewing the neckband in, but it was surprisingly simple and I’m very impressed with the results, even when using zig zag stitch.

In total, I think this took me four hours to cut out the fabric and sew together. I am sure if/when I make another one, it will be faster though.

Close up of Agnes neckband

Excuse the cat hair – that’s what happens when you have a kitty assistant!

Black polka dot Agnes top

Completed Agnes top, with shorter sleeve option (needs a bit of an iron)

Agnes top

A poor quality selfie taken hot off the sewing machine!


Will I make this again? Yes, definitely. I just need some nice jersey!
Any tips? Read all the instructions before starting. Use a ball point (jersey) needle. Try using stretch interfacing to secure the shoulder seams.
Overall verdict: A great pattern – simple but very wearable

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Heathcoat Fabrics – Tiverton, Devon

Heathcoat Fabrics is a wonderful sewing shop in Tiverton, Devon. It stocks a wide variety of dressmaking, general purpose, and soft furnishing fabrics and haberdashery products. It is one of my all-time favourite fabric shops and is well worth visiting if you are in central Devon!

The fabric shop is located next to the Heathcote Fabrics Factory. Top tip: If you visit before 11:30am you can also use the staff canteen to get a drink!

Heathcote Fabrics, Tiverton

Entrance to Heathcote Fabrics

The fabric shop is housed in an amazing building from 1841. Check out the beautiful windows:

Heathcoats Fabric Shop entrance

The Heathcoat Fabric Shop – next to the factory

Inside the fabric shop:

Inside the shop you will find four rooms dedicated to fabric and haberdashery supplies.

The first room is full of soft furnishing fabrics. These include things like curtain, upholstery and oilcloth fabrics. When I visited they were having a summer sale, which is why there are so many reductions advertised in my photos – I wish they had a sale all the time!

Heathcotes soft furnishing fabrics

Soft furnishing fabrics

Gutermann sewing thread stand

A rainbow of Gütermann threads!

The second room in the shop is jam-packed with a whole host of crafty goodies:

Rows of lace trims on cards

Lace trims, woven ribbons and decorative edgings

Rows of zips, fabric dyes and buttons

Racks of zips, Dylon dyes and thousands of buttons

Tubes of buttons on a stand

A glorious selection of buttons – they also have ‘serious’ buttons, not just novelty ones!

Craft kits

Craft kits and children’s fabrics

Fat quarters on a stand

A stand of really sweet fat quarters

Patterned webbing on rolls

Super wide Aztec (?) webbing – would make a great belt or bag strap

A wall covered in sewing tools

Lots of sewing tools: sewing machine feet and needles, as well as pins, chalks and lots of scissors (not shown)

There are a good selection of big-name sewing patterns available in the shop, however some have to be ordered. I don’t believe Heathcoat’s stock any Indie sewing patterns – maybe they will do in the future?
Simplicity sewing pattern catalogue

Sewing pattern books – including all the big names: Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue, Burda etc

Rolls of fleece fabric

Rolls of soft fleece and quilted fabrics

After you have navigated the room of haberdashery goodies, there are two further rooms, stuffed with dressmaking fabrics: one is dedicated to cotton prints, and fancy fabrics, while the other has more fashion-lead fabrics like denim, jersey and Liberty prints.
Sewing shop room

This room is lined on all sides with many racks of dressmaking fabrics!

There are two tables that are always well-stocked with remnants too! On this visit there was a lot of brushed cottons, scubas, cotton sateens, and some cotton prints that had been heavily reduced.

I always like to have a long, lust-filled look at the cotton prints they stock:

Rolls of cotton fabric

Some of the beautiful 100% cotton prints available

Their second dressmaking fabric room is by far, my favourite room in the shop though as it has all their latest fashion fabrics, and they are beautiful! They are (mostly) arranged into colour groups, however gingham, corduroy, and jersey are grouped by their type.

Rows of fabric bolts on shelves

Lovely fabrics for making lovely clothes with!

Liberty Tana Lawn fabric on bolts

Who doesn’t love a good Liberty print?!


Prices vary, however they are on the more expensive side for me. Here are some sample costs I noted down from today’s visit (30th August 2017):

Striped cotton drill (lovely quality) £4.99 per meter
Fashion print jersey £18.00 per meter
Light weight denim £9.99 per meter
Cotton fashion prints ranged between about £8 per meter up to about £20 per meter

The smallest increment they cut is 25cm – at least you can control the spending a little more closely than some other shops!


Heathcotes is an excellent fabric and haberdashery shop. If you visit you should allow at least half an hour to have a quick look, but you should really spend longer to fully appreciate everything they have to offer. Make sure to check out their remnant tables as I have found great bargains there in the past. The staff are friendly and helpful and there are three cutting tables in the dressmaking section so they are able to handle quite a lot of customers at once.

I thoroughly recommend a visit to the shop if you are in Devon!


Heathcote Fabric Shop, West Exe, Tiverton EX16 5LL
Website: Sadly this is not site you can buy from

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