As soon as I got Tilly Walnes’ book Love at First Stitch, I knew I wanted to make a plain red Lilou dress. I actually attempted this dress early last year – but unfortunately I cut the bodice about half a size too small, and, feeling discouraged, I abandoned the project completely. Last summer, I decided to try again – and this time I cut a better size!!
I’ve made three other Lilous before, but this was the first time I’ve done the proper pleated skirt – it was actually a lot of fun to iron those sharp pleats into the fabric, and I really love the fullness the pleats give the skirt! I added pockets as well, because all dresses could use some pockets.
As you can see, the bodice still isn’t fitted quite right. It’s still wearable, but definitely not as well-fitting as some other dresses I’ve made before. I cut a size 3 bodice tapering to a size 4 waist, but I think next time what I actually need is to trace out the pattern in between sizes 3 and 4 – the top of the bodice is a little too tight, but the waist is just a little too loose.
Even though this isn’t a perfect garment, I’m glad that I stuck with it! I’m really glad to have crossed off another item in my sewing ‘bucket list’, and I’m looking forward to lots more sewing this year!
I tend to go through a big sewing/crafting binge during the summer, as I usually have a few days of leave that I can devote solely to my creative hobbies. During the Christmas holidays, the first thing I made was another version of my favourite pattern – a jersey Bettine dress!
My grey jersey Bettine is one of my most-worn garments because it’s so comfortable and easy to slip on, so when I found this cute cherry-print cotton jersey on sale at Spotlight, I decided it was time to make a second ‘lazy dress’!
I love how the print of this fabric makes the dress look a little less casual than my grey version – I think I could definitely get away with wearing this to work on casual Fridays!
I’m running out of new ways to talk about how much I love this pattern and how easy it is to sew… but seriously, there’s a reason why I keep finding myself coming back to it time after time!
This is the story of what I’ll call an ‘impulse make’ – like impulse shopping, but where you make the garment yourself! It’s hurtling into summer here in Australia, and as the weather has been warming up, I realised that my wardrobe – even my warm-weather wardrobe – is mostly black. I don’t have a lot of light-coloured clothes, and that has been a problem as the temperature rises and the days get longer!
I started off by trying to find a light blue skirt online, but as I browsed the stores I just couldn’t find anything that I really wanted. I had in mind an a-line or full skirt, knee-length (not mini!), and there had to be pockets, of course… I just couldn’t find anything that fit that description.
Then I realised I knew the exact style of skirt I was looking for – the picnic blanket skirt from Tilly and the Buttons! All I needed was the right fabric – which I found on sale at Spotlight, a gorgeous light blue tencel with white dots. Perfect!
This was a very quick afternoon make! I followed the tutorial on the Tilly and the Buttons blog, but instead of making buttonholes, I used some gold snaps that I had left over from another project. I love the way the gold snaps look against the fabric of the skirt – they do weigh the placket down a tiny bit, but it’s not too bad.
I of course included the side-seam pockets, because if I’m going to make a skirt or dress, you better believe I’ll add pockets!
I’m so pleased with how this turned out! Not only did I get the exact style and colour of skirt that I wanted, but I got the satisfaction of making it myself and to my exact measurements rather than buying something ready-made. I’m looking forward to wearing this skirt all summer!
I had a metre and a half of leftover Japanese geo print cotton from my Ultimate Shift Dress, so I decided to tackle the Megan Dress from Tilly Walnes’ book Love at First Stitch! The Megan is probably the only pattern I hadn’t made from this book, so I was pretty excited about trying it out.
It was actually autumn here in Brisbane when I made the dress, but I couldn’t stop myself from making a bright, summery frock… and now it’s finally the right weather to wear it! I opted to add in side seam pockets (every dress needs pockets!!) and make my dress sleeveless. I actually took some time to make a proper toile of the bodice and make a couple of minor adjustments to the pattern before cutting out my dress fabric, and I’m glad I did – the dress fits very nicely now!
I made my own bias tape with the scraps leftover from cutting out the dress, following this tutorial, and finished the armholes with a bias tape facing, following this tutorial. I’d never done this before, but it was actually pretty easy!
I’m so pleased with my dress – it’s professional enough to wear at work, but the print makes it fun enough for a weekend brunch or date night out. I just love how simple and sweet the Megan pattern is, and how little fabric it uses (only about 1.5m if you omit the sleeves!) – I can definitely see more Megan dresses in my future!
I know, I know, I’m kind of late to the party… but oh well, at least I got here eventually! Yes, I’ve joined the club of people who adore the Cleo pattern from Tilly and the Buttons – after scrolling through all the gorgeous #sewingcleo inspiration on Instagram, I decided that enough was enough and I had to make one of my very own!
I opted to make the mini dungaree version, using buckles that I bought from Tilly’s online store at the same time as the pattern. I used a black denim with a bit of stretch – something simple and basic to see me through the transition from the cooler months.
The pattern is super simple and very quick and easy to put together. I cut a size 4 and took the back of the dress in at the waist by a few centimetres, as I didn’t really end up needing all the curve room that the pattern provided for. I also raised the back pocket placement a bit to accommodate my shorter frame. Other than those minor adjustments, it was a nice easy fit and a very quick make!
The only little thing that bugs me is that after I stitched the facing to the dress, I discovered that the right strap was sewn down at a sharper angle than it was supposed to – but it’s not super noticeable and it doesn’t bother me enough to unpick all of that stitching, so I’ve just left it as is.
The front pocket is also the perfect vehicle for displaying a few pins from my growing collection! Here I’m sporting two of my very favourites – Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane from Girl Fawkes Pins!
I’m so glad I jumped on the Cleo bandwagon! Initially, I wasn’t sure that I was really into the dungaree/pinafore dress trend… but I’m a total convert now. I’m already dreaming up a few more Cleos – maybe a fun yellow pinafore for summer, an indigo denim dungaree dress with contrast topstitching… so many possibilities!
I bought a couple of metres of Kokka midweight cotton on a whim at the BrisStyle DeStash Market earlier this year, with a gorgeous Alice in Wonderland-themed print. I originally had plans of making it into a Cleo pinafore dress… but inspired by this video by Annika Victoria, I decided to hack my own pinafore dress based on the Clemence gathered skirt from Love at First Stitch!
To make this pinafore dress, I first made the Clemence gathered skirt, including inserting the zip and finishing the waistband, but I left hemming until the very end. To make the pinafore bodice and straps, I generally followed the Annika Victoria tutorial, though I made my bodice a trapezoid shape rather than an even rectangle. I didn’t have overall/dungaree buckles or adjustable sliders, so I just put in a couple of buttonholes in the bodice before attaching it to the skirt waistband. To work out where to sew the buttons onto the straps and where to sew the straps to the skirt, I pinned the straps to the skirt waistband and the bodice, checking in the mirror and readjusting until I was happy with it. I sewed the straps to the skirt waistband first, then double-checked the button placement using chalk through the buttonholes before sewing the buttons onto the straps. The whole thing took one day from start to finish, so a pretty quick make overall!
The best part about this pinafore dress is that is has pockets!! I love adding pockets into all my handmade clothes – makes them so much more practical!
The midweight fabric is perfect for the mild Australian winter with a pair of opaque tights and a long sleeved tee or jumper, and will be just as comfortable with a short-sleeved tee in the spring.
Here’s a closer look at the print – isn’t it cute? I love the Alice in Wonderland theme, with all the rabbits, playing cards, chess pieces and tea sets!
This is the first time I’ve ever tried ‘hacking’ a pattern, and I am really pleased with how it turned out! it’s definitely helped me gain a bit more confidence with going ‘off-book’ with my sewing – hopefully all my future experiments turn out this well!
When I bought this fabric in Japan, I originally had plans of making a 1950s style fit-and-flare dress with it… but I ended up making another Bettine dress because I just love this pattern so, so much!
I made the pocket skirt version again, and used a couple of Japanese floral buttons on the cuff sleeve tabs.
The fabric is a lovely textured cotton with a bit of drape but also a bit of structure, which I think is particularly nice for the tulip shape of the skirt. I also just love the colours in the print – so autumnal!
I’m super happy to add another Bettine to my handmade wardrobe – thank you Tilly for producing such a gorgeous and flattering pattern!!