Tag: Tilly and The Buttons

Tilly & The Buttons Delphine Skirt Review

Tilly and The Buttons Delphine skirt worn with a black top
Delphine skirt

This is my second attempt at the Tilly and The Buttons Delphine skirt pattern, from the book ‘Love at First Stitch’. The first attempt has gone missing during a Christmas tidy-up and is a UFO!

I have been craving having a retro style tweed skirt and I was sure the Delphine could match my vision. However the reality isn’t quite what I wanted. I think that’s down to my fabric choice, and how I have lengthened the skirt which has spoilt it.

Back before Christmas 2018 I saw some green tweed fabric in Fabricland Bristol which I fell in love with, and then didn’t buy. It needled at me throughout the Christmas break that it was perfect and I must get it so I went back determined to get some for my dream skirt. Of course, it was all gone. I was then stuck and got into fabric buying trouble as I didn’t want to come away without something, which lead me to buy this very dubious polyester fabric.

Poor fabric choices

The fabric is a woven polyester that frays like a beast, and will not take well to being pressed. Its slippery and scratchy and isn’t very nice to touch! I can’t understand what possessed me to choose it.

Horse print lining fabric and heavily fraying woven polyester
Even the horses on my lining fabric look horrified by the fraying!

Anyway, I was determined to make this into a retro, sixties vibe skirt so set about cutting it out and sewing it up. It soon became clear the fabric would have to be lined, and of course I then had no lining fabric to hand. I’ve used some unusual viscose-type fabric I’ve had in my stash for ages that I bought from eBay and it didn’t match its description so it was going unused. Its got a lot of drape to it, but its very slippery. This didn’t make sewing it up any easier. Saying that, I do like the horse pattern.

Construction

I free-styled adding the skirt lining, choosing to serge together the lining and outer pieces, before sewing them together. I thought I was being clever and making it easier to fit the zip (the latter might be true) but, I think this causes the side seams of the skirt to be too heavy and pull in on themselves. Oh well, sewing is just one long set of things to learn.

Invisible zip sewn into Delphine skirt
I never manage to make invisible zips go right to the top…

The fit

The waistband of the skirt is quite deep and straight. This makes it sit on the top of my hips and stick up with a gap at the top rather than sit next to my waist. This also happened on the other un-finished Delphine, so I wonder if it is my body shape, or if its the depth of the waistband? I did shorten the waistband depth on this version to try to tackle that but it is still there.

I do not like wearing very short skirts, so I lengthened the skirt by an inch or so. I think its too long on me now though. I am tempted to cut that inch off now because the length makes me look quite short, and the stitching along the hem is so visible.

Tilly and The Buttons Delphine skirt made from brown polyester woven fabric
The hem looks such a mess!

I have pressed and pressed the hem, but it will not sit nicely. I might try to do a blind hem if I take it up.

Inserting the zipper was a pain on this because the fabric kept shifting and gave me some nasty puckers. It has sort of pressed itself into place, but the top of the zipper along the waistband is not perfect at all.

Too long and too puckered!

Pattern matching was attempted but not successful! At least I remembered to sew on the belt loops before putting the waistband on (which is my standard mistake I’ve made with all other skirts!).

I might make the Delphine again, however I think I am going to continue my quest to make the perfect retro A-Line skirt with the New Look 6843 because it has a smaller waistband and darts for better shaping.

Tilly & The Buttons Bibi Skirt Review

Black Tilly and The Buttons Bibi skirt worn with a Levi's jacket
Tilly and The Buttons Bibi skirt

This is the super-simple skirt pattern that is in the Tilly and The Buttons Stretch! book. I made this last year, pretty much as soon as the book came out.

It is a really quick and simple pattern to sew: it only has two pattern pieces! The skirt piece is cut out four times to make the front, back and sides of the skirt, and the waistband is cut out four times – two for the outer waistband one two for the inner one.

I have also made this skirt as the the pinafore option from stretch velvet (!), but not yet photographed it.

The fabric I used for this particular version is some sort of textured stretch crepe that I picked up from Fabricland in Bristol. I chose it because it had shimmery gold in it, however that nearly all washed off when I did my pre wash! There is still a little left, if you look really closely, but with each wash more is lost. That was pretty disappointing.

The skirt is very comfortable to wear and I didn’t make any changes to the fit. The only tweak I did make was to twin needle stitch along the seams of the skirt to make them stronger and look more finished.

Black Bibi skirt worn in the park
Bibi is simple and comfy to wear!

I will definitely make more Bibi skirts as its such an easy and satisfying pattern to make.

Photos taken on a very grey day in January in St George Park, Bristol.

Tilly & The Buttons Françoise Dress Review

Tilly and The buttons Francoise dress made from a vintage sheet
Françoise dress fresh out the suitcase in Rhodes!

I have pretty mixed feelings about this sewing pattern. Most of my Tilly & The Buttons sewing projects have been positive, but this one is borderline and I can’t tell if its me or the pattern.

I love the look and style of the pattern. Most of the versions I’ve seen other people make on Instagram/Pinterest I have also liked. There is something I do not like about my version.

I made the dress using a vintage sheet. Its a poly cotton sheet that has some structure to it, and I thought that would suit the style of the dress well. I think it might be a little too stiff though.

The next issue is the fit of the neckline. The facings would not fit along the neckline, so I ended up making bias binding to finish the neck, which never looks as good as a properly faced one. The neckline looks a bit puckered and I can’t get the puckers to press out. I might have traced the facings poorly or made an error cutting them out.

Sewing the Francoise shift dress neckline
Sewing the neckline with bias binding

The hardest problem I am having to diagnose though is that when I sit down, the whole dress tries to rise up off my shoulders! It might be due to the fabric choice, or the slightly off fit from the darts.

I did lengthen the bodice part of the dress because it was too short for me. I might have affected the front darts when I did this, and perhaps that has made it ride up? Who knows.

At the moment I doubt I will sew another one of these. I would love to have one that fits, but I’m not sure what changes I need to make to get there. Sewing is a series of challenges and frustrations!

Tilly and The Buttons Freya (cowl neck) Review

Tilly and The Buttons Freya dress with cowl neck
Early May bank holiday heatwave

The Freya dress and top pattern is in the Tilly and The Buttons Stretch! book, which I have been gradually working my way through (Frankie Baseball tee Review is here, and a rainbow version here, and now the Bibi skirt Review is here too.)

I chose the cowl neck option, because I don’t have any of these in my wardrobe anymore, and I used to be fond of them.

This is a very simple and quick pattern to sew up. Inserting the sleeves is straight forward, and the overall fit is good. I usually lengthen dresses because I don’t want to flash my pants, but I didn’t with this and regret it. I really couldn’t wear this with bare legs in real day to day life. The only reason I have bare legs in the photos is because it was so hot when I took the pictures!

I used a knitted, wooly fabric with a star print from Fabricland Bristol. I think it was £4.99 a meter. I am disappointed that the star print has lines in it – it really didn’t look like it on the bolt, but when its on thats all I see.

I’m hoping this will get some wear over the winter with leggings.

Tilly and The Buttons Freya cowl neck dress in star print fabric
Wooly dress on a summer’s day!

I’m looking forward to trying this pattern with the mock neck/turtleneck option next – though I think I will use a less toasty fabric to make it more wearable.

Tilly & The Buttons Rainbow Frankie Tee

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie baseball tee with rainbow striped sleeves
Rainbow sleeves!

My second Frankie baseball top from the book Stretch!

This was a super fast make, using white jersey from Fabricland Bristol, and rainbow striped jersey from Stoff & Stil Copenhagen – picked up on my trip there earlier this year. Its the loveliest jersey I have sewn with. So soft yet stable.

I only had 0.5 meters of the stripes, so had to position the sleeves carefully when cutting out. I wanted to squeeze as much as possible out the fabric length, which is why the sleeves are a non-standard length.

I posted this top on Instagram and was very excited when Tilly & The Buttons shared it in their stories feed!

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie baseball tshirt
Such a comfy pattern

This tshirt accidentally went through a wash with some newish jeans… and is no longer crisp white >.<

Tilly & The Buttons Cleo Review

Denim Tilly and The buttons Cleo pinafore dress
This dress took nearly a year to make!

I cut this dress out in September 2017 and didn’t complete it until summer 2018! When I cut it out, and began assembling it, I though how simple and easy it was… I was sure I’d complete it in a weekend… and then the problems began!

My dear sewing machine, the Janome 7025, handled the denim beautifully to begin with. It handled two layers with no problems but when it came to going over other seams, with three, four or maybe five layers it just couldn’t do it. It also protested greatly at using the the thicker top stitching thread.

I unpicked so many stitches and tried re-stitching but it just wouldn’t do it. I was so sad because I was very excited to wear this. The project was packed away until I eventually bought a second hand New Home semi-industrial sewing machine off eBay. This brute of a machine will power through layers of denim and has no issues with top stitching thread!

The only issue with the new (old) machine is it only has one speed which is fast, so stitching the pocket in place had to be done by manually turning the wheel to keep it under control.

Denim top stitching in Cleo pinafore dress
Top stitching the Cleo pocket in place
Topstitching on denim pocket
Slightly wonky stitches

I think this is a good pattern, but my enjoyment sewing it has been impacted by sewing machine woes – I have only worn this once because it brings back so many memories of being frustrated and upset my sewing machine was on its last legs. Sadly the 7025 is currently not working at all, and I have a new machine, the Pfaff Ambition Essential for most sewing. I will get the 7025 fixed soon. I’ve had it over ten years and I can’t imagine not having it forever!

I have started another Cleo using some Cath Kidston canvas fabric, however it creases dreadfully and now its half made, I doubt it will be wearable. I really need to learn to pick fabrics I can easily sew and care for don’t I?!

Tilly and The Buttons Frankie Baseball Tshirt Review

Green baseball top

Completed Frankie Baseball top + awkward expression!

This pattern is from Tilly’s book ‘Stretch’ and was the one that really made me excited about my preordered book arriving. I’m a bit in love with raglan tops recently: I like how colour blocking the arms make them look sporty and they have a  nostalgic, 70’s vibe that appeals to me.

There were a few things that made me nervous about sewing this for the first time:

  1. I have a large bust, and the sort of fit this top has could easily make a tent below my bust – something that is really annoying to wear as cold air gets in under the loose fabric!
  2. Sewing the neck in place: easing in the neckline along four seams (instead of the two that I am used to doing) made me worry I would stretch or pucker the neckline.

I’d bought some beautiful jersey to make the top from, however because of my concerns I picked up some super cheap poly jersey from Fabricland in Bristol for £2.99 a meter to use as a toile. Its surprisingly nice to wear and sew with – I’d have thought a polyester jersey would be rank (too hot, itchy etc) but its really not too bad. Anyway, down to the sewing:

I cut out the size 5, and made no changes to the pattern at all. It sewed up very quickly, just with a few smallish niggles. First of all, when I attached the sleeves, I realised how much wear the raglan seams would need to take. One row of zig zag stitches to hold them on seemed to be a little light, well that’s what I convinced myself, so I decided to top stitch them using a twin needle. This also captured the seam allowance in place either side of the seam, rather than in one direction – which could cause bulk. I really love this finish and will definitely do it on the next Frankies I have planned. I love sewing with twin needles so its any excuse really!

Top stitching on neckline and sleeves

Twin needle top stitching on the neckline & raglan seams

The neckline was a wee bit tricky: the neckband seemed very small and I wondered how on earth it would fit, to the point where I almost recut it longer. Glad I didn’t and I trusted the pattern as its fine. My neckline does appear to be higher than the one on the model in the book. I don’t know why – perhaps its the fabric? There is a bit of light puckering around the front of the neckband which I think I could get rid of with a bit more pressing.

Selfie photo of raglan top with puckering on neckline

Fresh off the sewing machine with no pressing: puckering on the neckline

The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow, and there are only four pattern pieces so its quick to trace and cut out too. The curves in the pattern are designed for women’s bodies, plus it sews up true to the size it says it will (if only all patterns were like this!).

Sewing toiles is really boring and something I never want to do – but – I think doing this one has made me a bit more likely to bother in future – it took a load of pressure off knowing it was cheap fabric, and that it was just a test run. The garment itself is wearable, and it has made me sure I do want to use precious fabric on another version. Next time I am going to lengthen the bodice by about an inch as the hips sit closer to my waist and are a bit flappy, and I’ll try the 3/4 sleeves.

All in all, another great and wearable pattern from Tilly!

 

2018 Make Nine

In which I make plans I am not sure I can keep, but have the best of intentions.

1. Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic

Hollyburn skirt sewing pattern
Inspiration from Rue des Renard’s grey tweed Hollyburn and Sylkotwist’s denim Hollyburn.

I have a long-standing love for this skirt pattern, and it’s vintage-esq 1970’s shape. I love the length and how it looks like something a old-fashioned librarian might wear. I can see myself wearing this sort of skirt a lot, as it looks so good with tights (which I wear all year round). Its got an autumn-winter feeling to it, especially the ones I’ve seen sewn up with tweed fabric. I’m considering making this from tartan, however the pattern matching needed on the front could be beyond my abilities.

Status:

Pattern: ✅
Fabric: ❓
Made: ❌

2. Moneta Dress by Collette

Collette's Moneta Dress pattern
Inspiration from Collette and Little Home by Hand

I love all the Moneta dresses on Instagram and know its something I would enjoy wearing – in many colours and prints! I’ll be making the sleeved version with plain neckline. I like how this look is simple and unfussy but something I don’t think I can get on the high street. Also, the simple shape looks like it would work for a whole host of different looks, all depending on the fabric. I’m not just planning one Moneta dress either: I know I will be making at least two (one with parrots and one out of the most beautiful dark navy crushed velvet ready for Christmas – planning ahead or what?!).

I was impatient to get started on this dress, so much so I decided to wing it and try making one by using the Tilly and The Buttons Agnes top and adding a gathered skirt. Its not come out the best. There are a whole host of reasons and I might post about my experience doing that as it taught me quite a lot of about the perils of winging it with very drapey viscose jersey that doesn’t want to play ball. Cut a long story short, my itch for a comfy jersey dress is still there!

Status:

Pattern: ✅
Fabric: ✅ Black and white parrot print viscose jersey from eBay, and, navy crushed velvet from Heathcotes in Tiverton
Made: ❌

3. Miette Skirt by Tilly and The Buttons

Miette Skirt sewing pattern
Inspiration from Tilly and The Buttons and Eeks Boutique’s green corduroy Miette.

I didn’t look twice at this pattern until I saw it being worn live at the Great British Sewing Bee by one of the ladies on Tilly’s stand. It is so flattering and simple! I want to make this in denim just like the Tilly one to begin with, and then who knows? I am very tempted by a green one. It looks so easy to wear and comfortable. I love the 70’s shape too.

Status:

Pattern: ✅ (Bought in Wells on a little holiday before Christmas)
Fabric: ❌ I don’t think I have enough denim left – need to check
Made: ❌

4. Tulip Skirt by Sew Over It

Sew Over It Tulip Skirt pattern
Inspiration from Sew Over It and Caroline CJ Made on The Fold Line.

Years ago I had a black crepe tulip skirt with a pair of ties that would knot at the front. It was from Joy (probably made by Louche) and it was my favourite ever skirt. I lent it to a friend and the seams got stretched out, and it began to bobble. I wish I had kept it and worked out a pattern from it, but instead I got rid of it in a big clean out last year. That skirt was so useful, I wore it to many different places and it held really happy memories and I know I would wear one like it a lot still.

This pattern isn’t quite the same as the one I had, but its the best one I have found so far. I want to make it in black textured crepe – still got to find it that too.

Status:

Pattern: ✅ PDF downloaded from the Sew Over It PDF club in January
Fabric: ❌ Maybe the triple crepe rio from Sew Over It?
Made: ❌

5. Cleo Pinafore Dress by Tilly and The Buttons

Cleo Pinafore Dress by Tilly and The Buttons
Inspiration from So Zo What Do You Know’s black Cleo and Sew Dainty’s floral Cleo.

Status:

Pattern: ✅
Fabric: ❓I started making one in some lovely denim last year, got half way through and my sewing machine refuses to sew it anymore. I have some black needlecord to try another one as its a bit thinner to sew through.
Made: ❌

6. Erin Skirt by Sew Over It

Sew Over It Erin Skirt
Inspiration from Athina Kakou’s long Erin and @ladymissel on Instagram.

I love this neat button up skirt – it looks smart and casual and easy to wear. The navy blue ones look particularly neat and wearable!

Status:

Pattern: ✅ The PDF book was a gift from Alex
Fabric: ✅ Flowery needlecord from Shepherds Bush Market
Made: ✅ Review coming soon

7. Kimono by Sew Caroline

Sew Caroline Kimono
Inspiration from Sew Caroline, and Sewaholic.

Status:

Pattern: ✅
Fabric: ✅ Yes: black viscose with white birds on it from eBay and some plain bright blue viscose from Fabricland in Bristol.
Made: ❌

8. Button up gathered skirt

Button Up Gathered Skirts
Inspiration from Collette’s Zinnia Skirt, Tilly and The Button’s Lobster skirt and House of Pinheiro.

Status:

Pattern: ❓ I might just make a gathered skirt with placket front, or get the Zinnia pattern from Collette
Fabric: ✅ Yes: black viscose from Fabricland in Bristol
Made: ❌

9. Pinafore Dress – TBC

Pinafore Dresses
Trying to decide between the Kwick Sew K4138 and the Simply Sewing Sunday Set. I have a dark navy needlecord with an orange and mustard little geometric pattern on it that I want to make this from. It was about £12 from Heathcote Fabrics in Tiverton.

Status:

Pattern: ❓ I have the Sunday Set but not the Kwick Sew
Fabric: ✅ Yes: geometric needlecord
Made: ❌

Tilly and The Buttons Agnes and Clemence

Tilly and The Buttons Agnes in red jersey
Last week I managed to sew and complete two garments: another Tilly and The Buttons Agnes top, and a gathered chambray skirt made using her Clemence pattern from Love at First Stitch as a starting point.

Agnes is so easy!

Making a second Agnes top was very quick and easy. Being able to sew it up with only a few checks of the instructions made the process so much faster and enjoyable. Have a look at my first Agnes top here. I used up some thin red jersey from my old sewing stash to make this. I think it will have been a remnant I picked up from Heathocoat’s, maybe four years ago?(!). Nice to finally get it used up. Because its quite thin, sewing the neckband in was a little tricky but fine in the end.

I love the fit and the look of this top – I don’t have any other red tops like this and I have already been wearing this straight from the sewing machine. Is there anything more satisfying than making something and getting to use it straight away?

Tilly and The Buttons Agnes top in red and Clemence skirt

I like to accessorize my makes with cats and novelty socks

I used the Clemence ‘recipe’ from Love at First Stitch to start making this gathered skirt, however, I found the instructions confusing, so I finished it off using what I have learned from making other gathered skirts in the past. I used the lovely soft chambray I picked up in Malbers Fabrics and I love how it looks – its exactly what I wanted.

A hat trick of firsts

I added pockets using the template in Love at First Stitch, and they are the perfect size. These were my first ever in-seam pockets. I also did my first ever invisible zipper (it could be a bit more invisible than what it is) and my first ever buttonholes!

ZIp and button closures on Clemence skirt

Yes, the zip could be hidden better, but I am happy to have got it to work!

Buttonholes! Buttonholes! BUTTON. HOLES.

I’ve been scared of trying to sew button holes for as long as I can remember – it just looked like it was going to be so difficult to make them work, and my fear has been that I would mess up my final garment and ruin hours of work. I decided to knuckle down and try them with this skirt as I had my heart set on having some wooden buttons on it. It turned out to be totally OK! I need to learn from this, and just give things a go.

Buttonholes

Some of my practice buttonholes – can you see where I realised I needed to change the width and it magically worked?

It took me a few YouTube videos to finally work out how my buttonhole foot worked and a bit of twiddling with the stitch width, then suddenly it magically worked and I was sewing buttonholes!

The chambray frays a lot. I’d have liked to have French seamed it, however because I added the pockets, I had no idea how to do that with pockets and my little brain couldn’t work it out. I’ve folded the seams inside and zig-zagged them to try and keep the fraying under control, but I’m expecting a lot of bits once it goes through the washing machine. I need to do some research into French seams and pockets before I make another one of these.

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!

Summary:

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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