Tag: tillyandthebuttons

Hot on the heels of my last make, I have decided to make another Cleo by Tilly and the Buttons. It is such a quick make and I am in need of stash busting, so I took the opportunity while I had it.

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I have been a huge fan of Tilly and the Buttons since I found them as a sewing newbie. Their brand is bright and colourful, their designs modern retro (I guess). Tilly’s byline is ‘learn to sew your own clothes’, and by purchasing her patterns I was well on the way  (from someone who thought they would never achieve dressmakery this is quite a compliment!).

To date I have bought her book Love at First Stitch, Francoise dress, Arielle Skirt and Bettine. It is Bettine I am going to review today.

I ordered the pattern online and it came pretty quickly. The pattern is made of thick paper (almost card) and is only printed on one side so will be re-usable time and time again. Nothing worse than a pattern made out of something you use to wipe your nose then to have to recycle it to use the other side!

Bettine_sewing_pattern_cover_grandeMy first step was to trace the pattern pieces. I could just cut them out and use but in case I want to make the Bettine in a different size in future I opted for tracing it. There are lots of different ways about doing this (a blog post in itself!) but I use greaseproof paper (which you can buy from the pound shop!) and a Sharpie.

The pattern comes in 8 sizes and gives guidance on sizes and measuring yourself – this is really helpful. It’s also simple to understand. I decided to make this in a size 5 (roughly a size 12) so I could give it away as a gift.

Once my pattern pieces were created and cut out, now came the time to pick fabric. For this dress I decided to go with a cotton twill I had in my stash – green with white bows on it. It is slightly Christmasy but not enough that you couldn’t wear it the rest of the year. I only had two meters and was concerned it wouldnt be enough but following Tilly’s advice about laying wide fabric out, I managed to cut everything within the stash I had – result!

Once the fabric was cut and the markings made with water washable ink, I found it really helpful to write which piece was which on the fabric in the seam allowance.

Before I started to make Bettine I read through the booklet that comes with the pattern. I think this is a really good idea. I am a huge fab of this booklet. It gives simple step by step instruction with colour photos to show what she is talking about. There was only one time I couldnt work out what she meant, which was probably my lack of experience, however given it’s for newbee sewers I would expect this to be explained. This didn’t take away from the experience – I just used my initiative and did what I thought she was asking.

I added my own touch with a star button on each tab. Ignore the green line on the facing, that will wash out in the machine!

As it was the first time I’d made Bettine, I expected there to be errors and for it not to come out perfect, but to learn from that. I have to say I exceeded my own expections. It did take a long time to make – from tracing, through to finishing the hem it was 9 hours of work (which I would expect to be speeded up in future) and so was quite a process, however it was a lot of fun to see my project coming together and mistakes were few and far between – pretty unusual for me!

Pockets! I am in love! So glad I made the pocket version!

My biggest problem was getting my serger to work properly – I ended up giving up on that and using pinking shears instead. My only other trouble spot was sewing the channel for the elastic. I sewed from the underside and ended up sewing half the skirt together (or the pockets in the wrong place anyway!) so the seamripper did come out for that. And I had to thread the elastic twice as it got twisted – otherwise a very straight-forward exciting project that I throughly enjoyed.

Love the shape of the skirt, so sexy! No gushes of wind up the bum! Really love the elasticated waist, this will be so comfy to wear!

I can’t tell you the immense pride and joy I experienced looking at my finished garment. I never in a million years would have believed I could make something like this, it is by far the most advanced dress I have made to date. I went for the pocket and tab version – thank you Tilly and team!

Here is the finished garment. Thee picture really doesnt do it justice. I am very happy with the end result.

Before I talk patterns, have you entered my freebee competition to win a ‘Be Happy’ notebook? Check out my post September Shop for more details…

As I have been gaining in sewing confidence I have developed a growing catalog of patterns that I want to attempt. There is a mixture of paid patterns and free offerings from sewing magazines.

Here is the run down in my current to do list:

Tilly and the Buttons is a very successful indie brand of patterns and I can see why. I have a few patterns of her’s sitting and waiting to be made (not to mention her book)


Bettine is the top of my Tilly patterns and I cannot wait to get stuck in. I love that the arms and main body are all one piece, shaped like a kimono.


Francoise was the first pattern I purchased from this lady. I’ve made a version of this, and would like to make more. I love that there are infinite versions you could make based on fabric and alterations. This would be good in summer (sans arms) or winter.


Arielle is my most recently made pattern of Tilly’s. I love the shape to this skirt, its fantastic. The pattern was easy to follow (certainly without adding a lining) and I want to make lots of these. I really need to get to grips with buttonholes though. I know how to do them and can do them well but sometimes my machine doesnt want to do as it is told, its very random.


I love this dress and want to make it – perhaps for my wedding day. Or perhaps not – we will see! I feel this dress is more for the advanced sewist and I feel quite nervous about making it. Nervous is never a reason not to do something though (certainly in dressmaking) and so expect to see a blog post on this in the future.


Ruby dress was a free pattern in a sewing magazine, and I am looking forward to making this. At the moment it isnt a huge priority but it should be – for sure. It states it is for an adventurous beginner which is definitely me and then some. I just need to find the right fabric – any ideas?


The english tea dress is a simple yet elegant dress that is bound to be a staple in my wardrobe once I embark on it. I was attracted to buy the magazine this pattern came with purely for the dress. This dress is dying to be made in green like in the picture – it just works so well.. And I have green eyes – what more can I say?


When I saw this pattern with a magazine I wanted it because I dont currently have any jackets and could really do with some for work. I loved the smart-casual design of this jacket – it could be worn both formally and informally. Stripes isnt really my thing but a plain material would work wonders, or perhaps even geometric patterns…


Lastly, I want to make this little girl’s dress. It looks easy and manageable. Only problem is… I dont have young children so I may have to find some little girls to give presents to 🙂

What patterns are in your todo list? Who is your favourite patternmaker?


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