Tag Archives: Tilly and the Buttons

It’s Mimi!

Meet my new best friend: a certain chiffon polka dotted rick rack embellished Chelsea collared gathered yoked cutie. Yes this is Mimi from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons.

mimi blouse

I can remember first spying this pattern as I leafed through the pages, and it popped out at me. Hmmm. Yokes and gathers are certainly a winning formula, as I love the blousey effects of billowing bodices. I wasn’t sure if the deeper collar would suit me, but everyone else who has made a Mimi looks so awesome in it, I had little fear that I would be the only person on this earth that would look total pants with the v neck collar.


Making it up just took time for me to get through sewing *other stuff*. I seemed to have a summer of sewing dresses ( there may still be one or two I have yet to show you, I kid you not). But with the onset of autumn it’s time for the rise of separates again. It was time to raid my stash for a rather nice chiffon (bought locally aaages ago) that had been getting far too comfortable just waiting for me to get round to deciding its fate. White with red dots, a polyester chiffon, something that would fall into that part of my ideal wardrobe- a blouse that needs minimum care, and maybe even no ironing.


(btw if anything I could add just a tad to the upper bust, I realised that after making, because of course I didn’t make a toile, too eager!
Now when I sew chiffon I tend to sew French seams as it’s a nice neat way to keep all the edges prone to fraying out of sight and safe and sound. This was going to be my approach for making this Mimi blouse- use French seams everywhere: yokes, side seams and sleeves. The collar is attached with a facing so all those edges are also nicely obscured and very safe as well.

mimi blouse

But I did come across a small conundrum. I had decided upon French seams, yes. I had also decided upon a rick rack embellished yoke, as is one of my little design preferences, using it like piping but with one half showing in its tiny scallopy awesomeness.


I had to pause to work out how to sew a French seam with piping ( or in this case rick rack) inserted into it. How would it work? Did I have to do anything differently?

mimi  blouse
The answer pure and simple is ‘no’. Using the same process of using rick rack like piping in this little tutorial, you can apply it to French seams too. If you need more detail follow the link above, but in essence this is what you do:
*Baste the rick rack to the seam line on the right side of the garment, so that the middle of the rick rack is sitting on top of the seam line.
*Then with wrong sides together sew the first part of your French seam. Trim the seam allowance, press and turn and press so that the right sides are together.
*Pin the last part of your French seam and sew with the basting from the rick rack on top, using it as a stitching guide. Press. And voila!

Does that make sense to you or have I just confused you even more?

Mimi (3)

As for Mimi I did enjoy making it ( why do I feel as if I should attribute it as a ‘her’?)
There are some lovely design details, as well as the gathered yoke and the fetching Chelsea collar. I particularly love the pleated sleeve cuffs, but struggled to complete this step with my usual marking approach of using just a few pins.

mimi (10)

I found success came to me when I traced the fold lines using dressmakers carbon paper and a tracing wheel. But they are so worth not being lazy – don’t use pins- go straight to carbon!  That is if you are open to being influenced at all.


So why do I love Mimi so much? Ok so I love the fabric and the rick rack, it really is one of my fave combos. However, as I mentioned earlier, the gathered blousey ness that allows untucked styling with jeans. ( or ultimate trousers!) brings a retro girl next door look that’s so easy to wear. Yet tucked in, there is still heaps of cuteness with the gathered blousey ness taking on a mini Mimi billow over the top of a waspi belt looking professional but with vintage references. The Mimi blouse can be worn to work with a pencil skirt or a circle skirt and look smart, or it can be worn with capris, jeans to a miniskirt and be totally at home lounging around reading coffee shop newspapers. To sum up that whole paragraph with just two words: vintagey versatile. And it’s totally the right time of the year to be cracking out those short sleeves – pop a cardi over the top to keep the chill out, and then lose it as the temps rise. And no. Ironing is not actually required. I seem to have escaped. This surely seals its enduring fate as an item that will continue to be chosen for the next while until the temps really do get too low. I am just so tempted to make another …………….


Oh and please bear with me on the photos….I am trying out my new to me whizzy grown up camera and now have a remote for the first time ever. I might be a bit over the top on photos used! Sorrrrrry!!

Ultimate Coco weekending

Over the bank holiday weekend I was in Cornwall.  I know.  I get there a bit, don’t I?  Well it helps when your family lives there.   So, as usual, I kept back some recent makes in order to make the most of the scenery down there, & the availability of a tame photographer.  These photos are all taken by my Mum with my new to me DSLR.  It’s extremely exciting – but I feel so ignorant as well.  But, starting simple – the presets are already making me squeal with joy.

This weekend (rather a long weekend- I was there for five days) was only going to be casual- but not overly warm – and my newly made Coco top (my fourth now) was the ideal wear – not only due to its long sleeves & slightly heavier cotton fabric, but also due to its seasiding nature (oh yeah!  can’t resist some themes here!!).

Ultimate CocoThe fabric is genuine Breton fabric bought from Brittany, so kindly organised for me by my IG friend La Mouette Au Sec.  It’s a kind of cotton interlock (I think that is how you describe it), & has a real Breton shirtness about it.  I chose burgundy, as I have never had a burgundy Breton before, & believe me, in my time I have had a ton of Bretons, but only ever navy striped.

Ultimate Coco

I departed from the true spirit of the Breton shirt however, clearly using Tilly’s Coco Top pattern for all apart from the elbow patches.  For these I stole the size & shape from the Deer & Doe Plantain top.  The fabric is a cute ditsy jersey (no longer available) from Clothkits that I have since made another top out of – but more of that another time.

Coco elbow


How I love the Coco top – I can whip one up in less than 2 hours start to finish. It’s an overlocker make for me, with just the neck & hems that use either my regular zig zag or coverstitch respectively.

Ultimate Coco

But what about the natty trews? Way hey!  They are another pair of Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It – this time using a stretch denim.  Oh my but these are comfy.  I have to say that Ultimates are unusually comfortable for a fitted pair of trousers even without any lycra content, but when you add lycra, wow.  Super comfy almost like jeggings (I guess, never having worn any, but they must come close).

Ultimate Coco

Once again I made the Ultimates with a regular lapped zipper – my haberdashery’s invisible zips are ludicrously expensive compared to a 30p regular 8″ zip and in such limited colours too.  I like using lapped zippers so much, it’s so much more predictably finished than an invisible zipper too.

Ultimate zip

I am so addicted to this pattern- it’s another really simple make, once you are confident you know what you’re doing with the fit.  So I’ve got three pairs (& a pair of tester shorts) – but my Twitter friend @Ali_Goddard has 8 pairs!  Yes – she has fallen for Ultimate Trousers bad- but in a good way, clearly.  And that’s just for summer!!

Ultimate Coco

So this is my seasiding outfit for late summer.  I am still verging on Ultimates being my OWOP, but I would need to make a pair for work, & I am not sure I have the time (with other more pressing deadlines to meet).  And I know I need to decide like real soon, as it starts later this week!

Coco party

Tell you what, if I was on hols Coco would be my OWOP pattern – look- I took all four with me to Cornwall, & they all got worn!

As well as the one you’ve just seen there is:

Turquoise Merino CocoSpotty Coco and the nautical Coco Dress

My butterfly Lilou dress

Here is my July Minerva make – starting with the fabric- this pretty cream fabric with a plethora of butterflies flipping their way across it. I must admit that when I saw it on the website I did not read the description properly, was entranced by the design thinking it would make a wonderful July sundress. When it arrived it is actually more of a canvas weight, almost a drill & looking back at the website, sure enough, it is described as a medium weight. SO peeps, just imagine what a cool western style skirt this would make, or shorts as well as a dress with more structure, which is the route I took.


This type weight fabric is ideal for the BHL Elisalex. Just saying. That was almost the dress I made. But then I conferred with Marie who I remembered had used curtains to make her first Lilou dress from Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch. It was fortuitous that I could take Marie to the fabric itself at Minerva’s store, get feeling & ask the question, “Lilou?”. And the rest is history.

This is my first make out of Love at First Stitch (apart from the Brigitte scarf) and I am thrilled with the result. I sewed this frock up in time for my trip to London, feeling certain I could grab some iconic backdrops to show it off against. But I am skipping ahead a bit.

The Lilou has an option to add scallops to the neckline, which of course I could not resist. Having traced off the pattern already, it was not too much extra effort to add some curves to the neckline using a can of kidney beans (any tin can is acceptable by the way 😉 ).

Lilou dress

Sewing the Lilou is a delight. The bodice is lined & Tilly encourages you to shave ¼” off the lining so that it is smaller than the shell, thereby eliminating the occurrence of lining creep to the outside when wearing.   Just look at the inside.

Lilou dress


That is such a joyful sight. So neat. Getting the lining turned through the shoulder strap can be a little struggle, but one way works better than the other – I think I pushed the lining through first rather than my thicker shell fabric with easier results.

Lilou  dress

If you are making a dress with this fabric I would also strongly recommend a pleated skirt- this weight fabric is much more amenable to pleats than gathers – easier & lies so much better.

I used a lapped zipper for this dress – I seem to have sewn so many invisibles recently & I had got utterly fed up with them – I do like me a lapped zipper using my Mum’s method which is my standard comfort zone of zip insertion.

Lilou dress

It is a cute dress & easy to make. I REALLY like it. If anything, you will see that the upper bust could do with a bit more room, & that is because I didn’t make a muslin/ toile but just compared the pattern pieces to my “TNT” bodice (Simplicity 2444). I did take my usual wedge out of the centre back, but maybe don’t need to. I shall experiment when I make my next one (because this is too pretty to be an only child in my wardrobe!).

Are you interested to know about the photos? I bet you are.

London 52 floors upView from floor 52

I only travelled up 52 floors of the Shard to the cocktail bar. Just for you. Truly. The Margueritas were incidental, a hardship I had to endure.

Lilou at the shard

(If you are thinking of replicating this experience it’s best to book ahead – but not always necessary if you time it for a non peak time).

Lift buttons

These photos were actually taken half way down. What an awesome view!

Shard view

Here’s the landmark standing proud …


And making the most of my time in London, I found my way to Liberty of London too with the fabulous Jane!!  (I was in awe at all the scarves…can you tell? They make a fabulous backdrop!)

Jane at Liberty

More scarves …

Lilou dress at Liberty

What an experience (my first time can you believe it!)  There was so much to see.  Here are a few of my faves.

2014_06_20 Liberty

And I just loved the fabric-decoupage “game”. The hares even had eyelashes!

These are the two fabrics I treated myself to – as I know you’re interested.

Tana Lawn purchasesTana Lawn.  Beauts!  And my latest sewing bender means that one of them has already been sewn up……I’ll keep you guessing, but you’ve got a 50/50 chance of getting it right!


Brigitte Scarf: How do you wear yours?

I’m so excited about Tilly’s online “Love at First Stitch” party that I’ve been getting ready.

I’ve made my Brigitte scarf & being someone who loves some scarf action have to give it a resounding thumbs up.  I mean I’ve made one scarf before (when I say “made” we’re talking in the loosest sense – ie using my overlocker to roll the hems of a wonderful piece of silk.)  But I had never thought to make anything more – & it’s so simple & incredibly effective.  All of the instructions can be found on Tilly’s blog – get making – see….there are so many ways to wear it …

Brigitte ScarfBut that’s not all ….what about ….

Brigitte ScarfAnd if we’re dressing up …it’s time for Tara Buster …

Brigitte scarfSeriously guys (yes- please take me seriously in a pink wig) – making this scarf took next to no time.  I used some poly satin so it cost next to nothing too – but scarves can be a little piece of luxury – I’m even considering making some out of specially purchased silk.  The options seem endless ….

So, how do you wear yours?

Loco for Coco

Let’s start on a high – me & Mama Coco herself – the inspirational Tilly.

Coco and tilly(I have not cropped this picture – I mean the turquoise wall has its own fame, right?!)   So –  Stripes & spots looking good together- (no not “goof” as my typing is trying malevolently to force me to write)   I am hoping that this marks the Coco highpoint because you see I need to come down from the Coco high or is it more an affliction I’ve got?  Is it contagious?

Tell me people- when you are fabric shopping do you assess fabric against the “could this be a Coco top” criteria?  Do you also have a developing “Coco stash”.

(Introducing evidence reference A1)

coco stashIt is not without cause that Coco has become the panacea to losing one’s sewing mojo.  Not that that has been a problem for me.  However, Coco tempts me with its style & simplicity of construction for “those times when I want a relaxing stylish sew”.  I tell you it is a most reassuring thought to know that I have *a number* of suitable lengths of fabric should I feel the urge and the odd free hour to make it.  My first Coco top has been a stalwart outfit addition for my weekends,and  Merino rocks the Coco.  But where could I go next but with a ponte?

So enter Coco #2.  I made this using some ponte from Plushaddict.  Sucker that I am I saw it on Twitter when my Coco mania was reaching peak purchase potential.  I also bought the black/ cream double knit  (for a nautical dress oh yes.  It is destined for a seaside photo shoot when it is made & the time comes).  But I digress, blame it on fou-de-Coco.  Onto the Coco in hand … still in absolute first throes of love with the funnel neck I just had to make another version.


I made up as designed, but felt something was missing – in an artistic kind of artist/  gardeners’ smockette- a pocket kanga would want to jump into.  So I cut one freehand & sewed it on, with my trying- ever-so-hard-to-please-me coverstitch machine (our relationship is improving thanks to an intervention from Melissa when she came to stay.  But coverstitch & me – we have a way to go before we are best buds)

kangaroo pockt coco

The kangaroo pocket settled almost nicely (coverstitching needed a bit of rescuing & a fair amount of bar tacking by my regular trusty dependable-knight-in-shining-armour machine at key stress points).  However, I may have located the pocket a bit high & darned if I was going to take it all off.  A bit of playing around in the mirror later & the design decision was taken to shorten Coco to become hip length.  It works.  But now you know the truth.  Some of my design decisions are reactive due to not thinking things through….and there you were thinking that everything was part of the plan …

inside coco

So it’s been a wonderful weekend & evening staple- lounging in style.  So come the Coco party *for real* when I was in such fantastic company for the final of the Great British Sewing Bee, it was the obvious choice.

How many Cocos in this sewing selfie?

It was such a lovely evening watching the final with Coco-wearing sewing blogging pals ( me, Katie, Rachel, Janene, Tilly, Jane, Alana) .  Katie has written up the evening (plus two amazing Cocos), capturing the atmosphere if you are interested in even more.   I was thrilled to get a picture for this blog post with Tilly  – against *the” turquoise wall.

coco tilly and me

So, while we were there we were lucky enough to have a preview of Tilly’s book: Love at First Stitch & if you pop along to Tilly’s blog you will see that she has shared one of the projects from her blog- the sweet Brigitte scarf– for a book launch blogosphere -party on Thursday 8th May.  I’m in, are you?

I should Coco

Folks I present to you my version of Tilly’s dreamchild, Coco.  I did not want to hold back from making it, & downloaded my very own version as soon as it was released, but sewing priorities meant I had to wait ….until…..last week.

coco top

The funnel neck lured me and is suitably alluring.  I had some incredible sky blue Merino jersey that the wonderful Mrs C had sent across to me all the way from New Zealand that had been waiting to be made into a cardigan.  It had waited a while though, partly because I wanted to get it right & honour the gorgeous fabric with a worthy make (my last green cardigan was a bit of a disappointment).


So inspiration kicked in & Coco became Merino, or Merino became Coco.  I just knew that it would be a match made in heaven.    I knew that I would get a lot of use from it & that it’s turning out well was more of a safe bet than a cardigan.

coco top(Oh yes, another classy photo composition.  Just me & the composter)

Once that decision was made I have to say it was a very quick & delightful sewing experience.  I used my lunch hour to sew most of it whilst working at home.  The hems were finished off later that same day.  Bam.  Coco forever.

coco top

I am so not sorry that I used my Merino.  It is a perfect match & ideal spring wear.  I have many more Cocos in my imagination too.

coco top

You see I have always had a Breton shirt in my cupboard ever since I ordered one mailorder from a Sunday supplement when I was 17.  It is one of the few non-me made tops I still wear & I am so looking forward to rectifying that!  And I seem to have timed this just right for the Coco party.  Now how did I manage that?

My Coco party jukebox track is going to be “Too Many Fish in the Sea” by the Marvelletes.

Looking forward to seeing plenty of other inspiration as this Coco will run & run I think 🙂

The Miette skirt- how cute meets utility- really!

I’d resisted Tilly’s Miette skirt for months it seems, since I have projects & inspiration coming out of my ears.  But kept clocking all these fantabulous versions appearing left right & centre.  I held fast & tried to maintain a degree of control over spontaneous pattern purchasing & sewing.  But it all became too much for me.  I needed a fix, a sweet skirt that came with so many endorsements, and just kept looking so darn cute everywhere.  So who’s skirt was the straw that broke my resolve?  Well it was Taracat’s denim / ricrac Miette.  You know I have a thing for ric rac & I have almost a whole drawer filled with the stuff (one of those mini organiser drawers it has to be said).  How could I resist an everyday skirt with one of the best pockets in the whole world to surround with ric rac?

Miette 8

So I had this piece of royal blue quite coarse linen that I had bought off Ebay a while ago.  It’s bright people.  It’s got an element of stiffness to it that I felt would complement the A line shape of the Miette skirt.  Did I have enough fabric though or was it only suitable for a Colette Ginger?  Well, I scraped a Miette – just.  But at what cost?

Miette 9

I have to line the exceedingly luxuriously long ties with my lining fabric.  In fact the whole waistband was lined in contrast – the same as I lined the pockets too.  It’s the fabric I made my summer sundress out of last year, some pretty ditsy red cotton floral.

Miette 11

The pockets were edged in ric rac – like piping, sandwiched in between the lining fabric and the blue linen.  I chose red as it seemed more adaptable, although the idea of royal blue & bright sunshiny yellow is always a temptation in Badgerland.  But the red & the lining seemed to be the thing.

Miette 10

Here it is playing around with the ties show the lining – not sure that it’s how I will wear it…but….

Miette 5

What is there to say that’s not already been said about the pattern & the instructions?  You already know by now that there are two levels of instructions (detailed on-line supplements to the downloaded instructions), & everyone, just everyone, loves the fact that you have a checklist to tick off when you use the downloaded instructions – I am no exception!

Miette 3

Construction for me, as with everyone else (are you yawning yet – hoping for something you haven’t heard before?) was exceedingly straight forward – this really is a brilliant beginner’s make – no zips, buttonholes, just some nice straight machine stitching.And for a nice fit, a wrap skirt is a joy- just tweak it the way you want to by how you arrange your wrap & tie.

Miette 6“Seems like a fun guy!”

So no surprise this Miette skirt is a cute success and I was all for thinking it could be one of those garments that bridged the work & play wardrobe.  I could imagine wearing it to work.  But here’s the thing.  Since wearing it for play it’s gone all combat for me.  And what do I mean by that?  Well, I wore it for a heavenly dog walk with my dog nieces, with walking boots (sensibly leaving my wedges in the car  – we were going multi terrain after all).  I have become increasingly reluctant to carry handbags around with me & try to get away with squeezing the bare essentials (phone, keys, purse) into jacket pockets.  But in the summer, especially this summer, even the bare essentials can weigh even the roomiest of skirt pockets down.  Not the Miette!

Miette 4

So it survived the commando experience in the woods and on the hills with two dogs (plus paws from doggie greetings).  Was I afraid to bend down in case the wrap caught a gust of wind & away she blew?

Miette 2

No way!  That dog gets all my lovin without any compromising wardrobe experiences!

Miette 7

Check out my pockets here.  Not only does it carry purse, two sets of keys – car & house, & phone, but there is also an ipod in there & some tissues AND still room for poo bags.

Miette 1

From the side too – Awesome!  I shall now repeat the phrase that we write so many times when after our first take of a new pattern, “There will be more”.  But whilst the intention & the love of this pattern is there, it is another pattern in my near consciousness to join my “spontaneous project” category for when the mood takes me & when the perfect fabric waves its hand at me. However, saying that,  I also think this skirt would be a great gift to make for a friend – less fitting required than normal skirts.  In fact I might already have someone in mind who would fit the bill perfectly ….now that’s a lovely idea.  Making such a sweet skirt to give as a gift would make me very happy.  (Right, that’s another conscious note made for the Miette!)  Now if I asked how many of you had made it already I’m sure you’d all shout.  But what about as a gift for someone else?  Who’s done that?  As a surprise?  Is it a good option?  Is it time to start a campaign, “Miettes as Gifts?!”


Oh Wow One Week One Pattern  (that’s OWOWOP!) I’m joining the fray & taking up the  One Week One Pattern challenge, OWOP organised by Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons, starting Saturday 24th March.

 I had a few options, with the following patterns entering the competition “choose me, choose me” they all clamoured.

Simplicity 2599, I think I’ve made four or 5 of these, & love the frill and ruffle additions to them.

My versions:

I won’t use this as my one week one pattern however as I think of it as a summer pattern.  And I have a feeling that they are all in my ironing basket, languishing there when I swapped my summer to winter clothes over.  Waiting for me to press them before packing them lovingly away.  Sometimes I think I do not deserve such pretty things.

Option number two, Colette Patterns Beignet.

My versions:

Now the Beignet would be a relatively easy option – work & play covered nicely.  But I just want to try something new & feel rightly challenged.  I’m going to spend one week in Colette Violet blouses.  I have now made three & think it will force me to be a bit cuter at the weekend (& keep on top of my washing & ironing!).  Having only three will force me to wear each blouse at least two different ways.  That sounds like a bit more thoughtful.



Here they are …..

Yes, that is another Violet on the end!  It’s made with some silky fabric purloined at a carboot sale last summer.

I tarted this one up with a double collar, the one below being scalloped.  I have so many ideas for the Violet blouse I have to stop myself and make something else!  But having three for next week’s challenge will do just fine.

Who else is taking part? I’m interested to see what other participants get up to.  I know that Joanne at StitchandWitter has already declared for the Violet too ….