There’s always time for Tilly



Just a quick post to show you my latest Tilly makes!

Say hello to my second Coco dress. Fabric is from Marché des Abbatoirs in Brussels.




And this is the Clémence skirt from her best-selling book ‘Love at First Stitch‘.

The fabric is from an old pinny I got in Les Petits Riens for one euro. Great thing about making things from existing garments is that if you position your pieces correctly then you can save yourself the bother of hemming, for example!

In other news, I got an overlocker!

Now I just need to learn how to thread it… 🙂

Do you have an overlocker? How did you find it in the beginning? Any top tips?

Sew it up: week 3 (sew-a-long) Inspired by art!

So here is the garment I had planned for week 3 of Sew it Up. (I know I’m a bit behind in posting this!)

The challenge
Inspired by art: pick a visual artist of your choice and transform the inspiration into a
wearable garment.


I chose Jan Fabre, a Belgian artist who designed the ceiling in one of the rooms in the Palais Royal, in front of the Parc de Bruxelles. The ceiling is covered in millions of green beetles and the way it reflects the light is really impressive.
Read more here and here.

jan fabre

I had my lightning moment one day while talking about the monarchy, which reminded me of seeing the ceiling a few summers ago when I visited.

“Yes, the ceiling in the Royal Palace with all the green beetles on it! That’s art! I can make a dress inspired by it!”


What I like about the ceiling is its interesting ondulated texture and I thought that the République du Chiffon Viviane dress with its quilted feature round the front and back neckline would be the perfect way to reference the texture of the ceiling. The pattern explains how to make your own quilted pieces but I used some
silver quilted fabric, which came from Goldhawk Road.

I chose to make the main part of the dress up in some green brushed satin, also from Goldhawk Road, as a reference to the green colour of the beetles.





I think I must have forgot to add seam allowances to the skirt piece when I traced it off because it fit the bodice part exactly and I think it is supposed to be gathered. It was fun to make and a good challenge to use fabric that is slightly tricky to work with, but it is not something I’ll be wearing a lot. I may even hack off the skirt and wear it as a top. Next time I’ll make this pattern in a more wearable fabric, and a size up too.

So that is the last post from me with Sew it Up challenges. I decided not to bother making anything for the unconventional materials challenge and what I had planned to make for the signature style week will also wait a bit as it is quite a winter outfit. That’s what happens when you don’t have deadlines anymore!

So make sure you vote for your favourite contestant in the final – good luck Anneke and Erika!

P.S. Have you seen Hanne’s Sewing Café video? Hanne tagged me so now it’s my turn to give you a guided tour of my sewing space. I’ll be brushing up on my video skills and welcoming you into the messy corner of my bedroom shortly to show you what is in my sewing machine drawer.

Sew it up: week 2 (sew-a-long)

I may no longer be a Sew it Up participant but I’m still sewing along! Here is what would have been my week 2 entry.

The challenge:
Make a shift dress. Emphasis is on finishing, fit and techniques used.

My entry:








The first thing I did to prepare for this challenge was to think about what exactly a shift dress is. As I understand it, a shift dress is not supposed to be that fitted around the waist and hips, yet despite its loose nature it should not be entirely shapeless either.
A shift dress should have an A-line shape and it should sit above the knee. It can be sleeveless or not. It is meant to look a bit waify. And while a whole variety of different looking dresses can be grouped together under the umbrella term ‘shift dress’, the look most people think of is a ’60s silhouette’, i.e. a style of dress our collective memory has decided defines how all young women dressed in the 60s.

So, I decided to embrace the 60s cliché head on with this challenge!

I drafted a shift dress pattern by extending Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde blouse into a shift dress (I got rid of the pleats) and I drafted some new mid-length sleeves to go with it.

The fabric is a very fine black mesh with felt spots on it. The lining is (apparently) fine red Indian cotton. Both were ridiculously cheap bought on Goldhawk Road. The underlining for the black spotty pieces is calico. The yoke is a white soft fleecy remnant I got somewhere, and the yoke lining is yellow cotton poplin.
The emphasis was on finishing and techniques so I tried to sew as neat a job as possible.

Underlining – This is the first time I’ve underlined anything! I did so because it would have been impossible to use the black mesh fabric otherwise! The underlining gives this very fine and loose (almost stretchy) fabric some body, making it much easier to work with. It was nice to use calico for something other than making muslins out of.

Pinning the cut-out main piece of fabric to the underlining piece.IMG_1561

Sewing them together.

Sew any darts once your two pieces are sewn together.

Lining – I love the lining! I think it looks just as nice on the inside as it does on the outside! Would have been a good dress to wear on Fashion Revolution Day!

Lining all sewn together.


Pinning the lining to the dress at the neckline, ready to sew.

I added bias binding to tidy up the messy edges before adding the sleeves. I did the same at the centre back seams.



I also understitched the lining to the seam allowance at the neckline to give it a clean finish.

Here are some photos of the inside of the finished garment.


And just in case this whole escapade wasn’t 60s enough, let’s add some silly accessories:


 Check out what the remaining Sew it Up participants have made and vote for your favourite!

Everyone’s a winner, baby, that’s the truth

Ready for another sewing competition? Oh yes!

I entered the By Hand London Flora dress competition with this dress.


(Read my post about ‘the making of‘)

If you like my dress you can vote for me on the BHL London Facebook page.

The prize is nothing short of brilliant: a Janome overlocker!

(Photo credit: By Hand London)

I’d be delighted to win such a shiny electrical good. Not that you need to win to be a winner.

Let me take you by the hand and lead you though the streets of London











Last weekend I ventured across the Channel to London as I was lucky enough to get a place on one of Chinelo Bally‘s very popular freehand cutting workshops. The workshop was so great and I’d highly recommend it! I tried to be cool when I met Chinelo but I was about 40 minutes early and I hugged her when I arrived, so I think I failed there.


Chinelo (who is just as lovely in real life as she is on the telly) introduces you to freehand cutting by teaching you how to make a fitted peplum top from your own measurements – but with no pattern! Yes, no pattern! As we all saw on the Great British Sewing Bee, Chinelo’s method involves ‘drafting’ straight onto the fabric.


I found it hard to get my head around the idea before I did the workshop as the idea of not using a pattern felt odd….but it is great to push yourself out of your comfort zone. What I like about the method is that it helps you gain a better understanding of the relationship between your own measurements and the final garment.

I was really pleasantly surprised by how well my top fits me – I’ve rarely made something that fits so perfectly first time round.



Such a fitted peplum top is not really something I would wear very often, but the idea is to use the method and modify it to your own dressmaking needs, for example Chinelo told us how we would make modifications to drop the waist and adapt the peplum into a longer skirt.

The workshop itself is intense (in a good way) and Chinelo really makes the most of the time. She is a great teacher and you never feel like you can’t ask a question.


(You can’t meet someone ‘off the telly’ without getting a picture)

And while I was in London I also took the time to visit the famous Goldhawk Road, after reading so much about it on other people’s blogs. And it didn’t disappoint.



In such a small concentrated space there are just so many fabric shops! It’s hard to remain calm! The great thing is that lots of the shops are connected, so if you ask for something in one shop and they don’t have it they’ll send you three doors down. Let’s just say I went to London with a more or less empty rucksack and it came back full to the brim.

I printed out this really good guide to the different shops like a real fabric geek.

I wish we had a Goldhawk Road in Belgium!



I can live without the stuffy tube rides and the sheer overwhelming scale of the place, but you can’t deny that London is pretty amazing if you are into sewing.

Is anyone else going to the By Hand London Kickstarter party on 11th July? When I saw the date I was delighted as by amazing coincidence I’d already planned to go to London that weekend as I am going to a friend’s wedding the next day. Whoo!

And hopefully I can squeeze in another trip to Goldhawk Road.