Tag Archive | tilly & the buttons

Dress for a wedding

Haven’t posted for absolutely ages. Was too busy during may doing Me Made May on Instagram, which doesn’t say much for my social media ability, but come on this blog only gets updated once or twice a month, I’m clearly not good at it anyway.

Then there was the inevitable period of bleugh when I got some kind of random minor illness and my Chronic Fatigue kicked up and I spent two weeks in bed feeling like shit and unable to blog.

– so yeah, way behind on the updating.

Which kind of sucks cuz I have actually been sewing.

So the dress in question was a crazy undertaking. I made it in 5 days including 2 for washing and ironing the fabric (I am that damn responsible!).

So end of April was our best friends wedding. Both the bride and groom were both separately our ex-housemates and also Jons ex-bandmates, so it was an important one for us, but by the week before I kind of hadn’t sorted out anything to wear. Then the Friday 8 days before the wedding I swung by the fabric stall in Lewisham and found this gorgeous black and floral fabric just calling my name and an idea was born.

My first idea was a Tilly and the buttons Martha dress, as I’d seen some top end high street dresses with a similar floral fabric in a similar pattern and wanted to replicate the look, but then I was at knitting group on the Sunday (shout out to city stitchin) and was talking it through and had a photo of the fabric on my phone (which it seems to have helpfully lost) and we decided that although a dress in that style would look gorgeous (& I had infact already cut out the pattern pieces the night before) it was maybe not a great long term option as the style was so current that it might look very dated by next year, & if you are going to go to all the effort of making something yourself it needs to have longevity.

So I went for the Francoise dress , also by Tilly, instead, to channel my inner Wednesday Adams.

So the wedding was on Saturday, and that left me 4 days to cut out the pattern, buy some extra bits from Lewisham that I needed (the pattern has a contrast collar and I decided to add a ribbon bow to pick out the yellow in the fabric.), & then make the damn thing, & to top it all its a pattern I haven’t used before.

But I managed it! luckily my health held up, on the Monday I managed to cut the paper pattern and the pieces of the fabric out, go to Lewisham to pick up the bits I needed and stick the contrast fabric in the washing machine and do all the stay stitching.

On Tuesday I did a late nighter and got it done apart from the collar and the hem.

& on Wednesday I finished it (& spent 2 hours doing dart adjustments).

& then on Wednesday night we went round to the bride and grooms flat for drinkies and the bride asked me to wear my dragon dress instead! Which actually I was not at all offended by because getting away with wearing that dress to an actual wedding is awesome!

So here is my floral dress sitting forlornly on a hanger the day before my friends wedding looking unloved….


I used the same yellow ribbon to hem it as I used for the neck bow. I would love to say this is a deliberate design detail, but actually its a case as this being a Tilly dress, and me being 5’9″ its somewhat on the short side so I used a ribbon binding to eek out as much length from the seam allowance as I could possibly manage. I did know this would be the case before I made it but I was in such a damn hurry to get it going I totally forgot to add the extra 3 inches or so till it was too late.

So yeah, I did get some wear out of it though during Me Made May & both times tried to get some decent photos. I’ve got to say that was one of the most variable months weather wise ever, the first photos I took whilst it was cold and arctic earlier in the month, and so were indoors by artificial lighting….



Then I wore it again on a family holiday to Brighton when it was lovely weather….


But it was super windy when we took the photos, so I’ve decided to share both lots….anyway, it gives you the general idea.

As far as the fabric and the pattern goes….

The fabric is apparently scuba crepe, so basically one of those absolutely gorgeous, but don’t think too hard about what its made of fabrics the lewisham stall specialises in (they do occasionally have actual wools and cottons,) it washes lovely, but likes a cool iron, if its too hot it fades the print a bit, so it’s a pain from the ironing point of view.

The pattern I will make again, but I had to make some quite major adjustments to make it fit. It is always a warning sign when all the reviews and images of versions of a popular pattern on the internet do not include many plus size people. There were about 3 images (out of hundreds) and all the girls who seem to have got it to work have much larger and lower chests than mine. I cut the pattern according to the measurements but had to do some serious messing about with the darts to make it not bag massively on the chest. With hindsight I would have cut the top a size smaller, but it fit perfectly on the waist and hips. I’m a size 40C bra btw incase anyone actually ever uses this as a review as to whether to make this or not, & I think for a pattern where I’m near the top of the size range that is usually industry standard (once you get on to dedicated plus size patterns I’m often on the smaller end of cup sizes). Luckily I recorded what I actually did with the darts on the pattern as soon as I got it to work, so it should be relatively easy for me to remake this.

There was also an issue with the neck facing. I’m not sure if it was me being in a hurry, though I swear I cut the correct piece as it looked wrong to me so I double checked which line you cut, but the back facing pattern pieces ended way too short. I fudged this rather than recutting as I was tight for time, it looks fine from the outside, just it isn’t the prettiest inside, but tbh, with all the messing about with the darts I had to do, this is very much a wearable muslin anyway. As long as I actually remember, this should be very easy to fix with the next version anyway.

Apart from that, yeah, the length and the collar doesn’t extend all the way round the back, (though it looks fine on)  but those have both been covered extensively as issues on other peoples blogs.


Anyway, I have one more garment already made and photographed to post up here, I’ve still got to do a piece about the box of lace we found on the street, & I’ve two more makes cut out and ready to sew once some new jersey needles arrive off Amazon and this damn heatwave goes away. So hopefully my blogging skills over the next few weeks will be a little more functional than they have been.

Goes to sit in the fridge before I stick so hard to this chair I can’t be peeled off it.

Big black polkadots.

So having raced around like a highly energetic person over Christmas I’ve been pretty much in bed for the past week and a half, (including today meh!) however I had  couple of hours of energy yesterday to make a dress, and with this dress luckily 2 hours is all it takes.

Its another version of the Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons. The first one I made is here. With the first one I was a bit unhappy about the fabric I used, a non ironable, heavy synthetic black piece that has given no end of trouble since I made it, & although I liked the pattern, it bagged a bit funny round my waist and made me look a bit fatter. However not having to/being able to iron it has meant it gets through the wash quickly, I have had a lot of wear out of it, and its the middle of winter, it has finally got cold & I seem to be in desperate need of midwinter dresses as for whatever reason I’m not really in the mood for trousers and multiple layers as much this year. So I thought I’d give it a second go.

This time I used more appropriate fabric 🙂 and it has worked a treat.


Crap indoor pictures aside (its reached the time of year that even if there was daylight for Jon to take photos apart from on weekend, its far too cold to be posing outside anyway) I think this one has worked out much better. The jersey is unidentifiable £3 a meter sweatshirting off the fabric stall, but it drapes really well and is really comfy and I really like the colour. I think having a more drapey fabric makes the dress look better. Its hard to tell from the pictures, but I’ve also added the cuff detail from the pattern rather than leaving the leaves plain. I think this one is going to need ironing though 😦

By the way, if anyone reading this is fairly inexperienced with sewing and wants a really nice easy project to start them off, I’d highly recommend this, apart from having to use zigzag stitch cuz its jersey, & choosing the right weight of sweatshirting, this is a really really simple project to make.

Anyway, assuming I stay awake for more than a couple of hours each day next week, my sewing schedule involves an underskirt for my Versailles Rose Bouquet Lolita dress, I have got it to kind of fit now, but it is much too short by itself. And an attempt at Jennifer Lauren Vintage’s Bronte Top, basically cuz the theory is I can make them both without changing the thread in my overlocker. However my overlocker is playing up at the moment and constantly dropping one of its threads, so hopefully :-S


Black dress of doom!

So I had this dress cut out and ready to go, but hadn’t got round to making it yet. Then I (on somewhat of a whim) bought Versailles Rose Bouquet by Baby the Stars Shine Bright (a lolita dress for those for whom that was just gobbledegook) off a nice lady off the internet.

It arrived, but is considerably too small round the tits (not often I get to say that 🙂  )

I sulked, and then decided I wanted a new dress that day regardless, so I was going to have to finish the dress I was making. So I did!

tilly & the buttons coco

Anyway……this is a Tilly & the Buttons Coco dress, and I’ve got to say, it is one of the easiest things I’ve ever made! Super simple to put together, in fact a bit too simple as I got my overlocker out and overlocked a load of stuff that was supposed to just be single row zigzag stitch. The fabric I chose (more about that in a minute) frayed like anything so i’m not sure how long a single row of zigzag will hold in the places I left it in, but we’ll see.

tilly & buttons coco part 3 tilly & the buttons coco and tree black tilly & buttons coco

Pictures all taken down our allotment btw! Yep, we have an allotment, well Jon does, I tried to do some light digging with a long handled trowel and set off the ME for two days, so its very much his project.

I wasn’t sure before I made this dress how it would work on me, I used to wear loads of 60’s style A line dresses when I was thinner, but I’ve been a bit wary of them since I’ve put on weight (not that getting hold of any commercial ones has been easily possible anyway) and I’m not a fan of high necklines much. but I really like it, it fits ok and it is really not bad from a flattering point of view. I may well make some more for winter as it is a really useful cold weather dress….

In better quality knit fabric!….

So I was drawn to this fabric because of the cool triangular quilted decoration on it that I thought looked really high end and 90’s revival…


(close up of dress and fabric pattern)

It washed and ironed all right (except I ironed it on the back which at the time I didn’t realise was important) and although it slipped around a bit as I sewed and was slightly prone to fraying it seemed fine.

Then the collar wouldn’t go down the way it was supposed to no matter what I did, so I decided to iron it, which was a very silly thing to do,as it turns out a hot iron on the right side of the fabric causes it to melt a bit. Luckily as it is black and I took the iron off quick enough you can’t really see it, but I know its there 😦

Then I tried it on, & I’ve got to say this is the least breathable, sweatiest fabric I’ve ever tried. I’m sure it’ll be fine in the middle of winter, but the rest of the time its far too hot.

I suppose that is the risk from buying stuff off the market stall, if you are buying lengths of unidentified fabric for £2.50 a meter you occasionally get something a little weird.

I like the dress pattern enough though to be considering buying some decent quality sweatshirting to make another version.

I am off to a wedding this weekend, so no sewing much for the rest of the week, however I have just prewashed a length of stretch black velvet to make a skater dress with. (I’m so 90’s!) So far it has reacted well to the washing machine, which is good, & doesn’t look like it will need flattening in any way, which is even better. 🙂