Tag Archives | Tilly & The Buttons

November 23, 2015

Tilly Arielle skirt hack!

I’m not generally one for trends; I know what suits my figure, and most “fashions” are woefully not good on me. But, when I was in London recently I saw a trend that caught my eye: asymmetric wrap skirts with D-ring closures. So instead of dropping 300 quid at Reiss, I made my own, using the Tilly & The Buttons Arielle skirt!

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Here’s the style I saw everywhere on the high street. I did a bit of inspecting and realised it would pretty easy to recreate. Plus, I had the perfect plaid to use, which I also bought in London (clearly my roots are showing a lot at the moment).

skirt inspiration

After discovering there are no patterns out at the moment that are much like this (wrap, pencil skirt shape, high waisted and faced with no waistband), I decided to use the Tilly & The Buttons Arielle skirt as my base, and work from there. Arielle fans will notice my mistake immediately: despite appearances, it’s not a wrap skirt. Oops! But I was still able to use it, just with a bit more alteration than I expected. The key changes were:

  • I used the right hand side (wider) piece for both fronts, and didn’t use the left side
  • Shaved a big wedge off the side seam of one right front piece, so it would angle down. I kept the piece on the grain so the plaid would follow the diagonal.
  • Made the same changes on the lining and facing pieces.
  • I didn’t sew the darts on the front over-layer so it would hang straight.
  • Added an internal button to hold the underlayer closed at the waist.
  • Inserted a piece of grosgrain ribbon into the right side seam, about 3 inches down.
  • Strung two D-rings onto another piece of grosgrain and sandwiched it in the front wrap between the skirt and facing.

(Is anyone interested in a tutorial? Not sure if it’s just super obvious or whether you’d like step-by-step instructions!)
Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Here are my D-rings! The combo of these rings plus the grosgrain unfortunately means it doesn’t stay held just through tension, so I have to put a little knot just behind the rings to avoid flashing. Yes, I did flash before I realised this. You’re welcome, strangers of Boston.

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

On the inside I used this highly jolly raspberry Radiance lining! Forgive the creases – this was after wearing it all day.

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Though it was muchly hacked, I do like the fit of the skirt. However, I wonder if it runs a bit big – I made the size 18 despite the fact my waist is 3 inches too big, and it works well!

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

So now I have an ON TREND skirt to wear in winter. How long before I get stopped by a street fashion photographer for being so ON TREND? Only a matter of time, I’m sure.

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Are you a trend follower? Or even a trend-setter?! Are there any other non-heinous fall/winter trends I should try?

April 6, 2015

A comedy of errors: Tilly & the Buttons Coco Top

Despite the fact I have an undergraduate degree in History, my grasp of historic events is somewhat… tenuous. A recent visit up to see Carrie in Salem to eat donuts at a brunch donut bar (yes, you read that right) and then take some blog photies led us to the lovely House of the Seven Gables. Is that where Louisa Alcott lived? No. Is it where Anne lived? No. I suspect any American 6 year old could tell you this, but it was where a sea merchant lived in the 17th century and it inspired a Nathaniel Hawthorne book, which apparently busloads of tourists are now interested in.

And so it seemed apposite to pose in front of it in my new Tilly & the Buttons Coco top made from The Smuggler’s Daughter‘s fabric (see what I did there?!).


The continual struggle in my sewing life is to find nice printed jerseys. I don’t understand why more aren’t available to the home sewing market when RTW clearly manufactures them in droves. So I was excited when I was approached by Susan at Smuggler’s Daughter to try some of her fabrics. She has a small but nice collection of light and midweight jerseys, and I chose a Milly print to try – still available here. It’s a great weight, though it does have a slub texture that I wasn’t expecting.

Why a comedy of errors? Well this started life as a dress. Another M6884 fixed wrap dress, to be precise. I had it all cut out and ready to sew up, when I realized I had two right fronts. I must have made a mistake! But it turns out that you’re meant to cut one of the pattern pieces *print side down*. Who does that?! McCall’s apparently. So, a warning to you: read the cutting layout even if you think you don’t need to!


A new plan was called for: a t-shirt, which would have to be colour-blocked given the cutting that had already gone on. So I whipped out my Tilly & The Buttons Coco Top which I previously re-drafted as a colour-blocked version (super easy – just cut a line across and add seam allowances). At this point I made yet another error. Yep. It was meant to be black all around the body with the Milly at the yoke, but I cut the back the wrong way round. Oh well! Now I have a somewhat eclectic top to show for it.


I’m glad something wearable came out of my calamaties – once upon a time I’d probably have just given up. Do you have garments that were salvaged from the sad remains of botched projects? And do you have any other good sources of grown-up jersey prints that aren’t poly fluoro floral monstrosities?

May 8, 2014

Coco for colour blocking!

Better late than never to the party, right?

As part of Sewing Indie Month, I had the opportunity to make up Tilly’s famous Coco top – and I can totally understand why the sewing interwebs have gone crazy for it!

I used the leftovers from this wrap dress I made ages ago (ages enough ago that I was still taking photos of my dresses on a dressform, at night…. oops). I love the dress to pieces and had saved the last bits of abstract rose jersey but had no plans to use them until… colour blocking inspiration! I combined the jersey with a lovely navy rayon jersey from Grey’s Fabrics, and whipped it together with my serger in mere minutes. Colour blocking was very simple – I simply drew a line across the pattern, and then traced off two new pieces and added seam allowance.

The serged seam across the bust stuck out ever so slightly, so I topstitched it down, which worked a treat.

As I am a wholly predictable creature, I also scooped that neck right out, using my trusty Renfrew as a guide. I used Tilly’s turn-and-stitch approach for the neckline, which was made 1000% easier by the fact that Colette’s new Guide to Knits introduced me to the joy that is Wonder Tape. Does everyone else already use this?! If not, get some! Basically it’s double-sided sticky tape for fabric that doesn’t gum up your needle and washes out… It lets you secure your seam before you sew it, and you can use the edge of it to get a perfect 1/4 inch hem. I’m not sure how I would have finished this slippery rayon without it…

I was a little trepidatious about the sizing, but I cut a straight size 8 and it actually fits on the looser side, probably because I used jersey rather than the recommended interlock which is more stable and beefy. After a brief consideration of scooping out the side seams I thought perhaps I would embrace the flowiness, which is perfect for summer and/or cake consumption.

I can definitely see myself making many more of these! Such a quick and satisfying project.
So thanks, Tilly, for another cracking pattern and another everyday casual look for me.
How are your everyday casual contest entries coming along, dear readers?! I can’t wait to see them all!

You can enter the Sew Indie Month everyday casual contest to win fantastic prizes by submitting a link to your blog, Pattern Review or Kollabora on this page.


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