Let’s get to know Tilly and the Buttons

Welcome to the fifth in our new series of Q&As with independent sewing pattern companies! This week we’ll be getting to know Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons. Tilly creates easy-to-use step-by-step guides to sewing your own clothes for the new wave of DIY dressmakers. Her latest pattern is the Françoise Dress (and she’s wearing it in the picture below)!

Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons

Describe the style of your garments in three words:
Stylish, wearable, adorable!

Tell us about the woman you design for:
I design sewing patterns for the modern woman who works hard and enjoys making things for fun in her free time. She may not have done much sewing before, so she appreciates accessible instructions, easy-to-make designs and the guidance of an encouraging, down-to-earth teacher. She loves clothes, but isn’t a slave to fashion trends. Style-wise she loves Breton tops, sixties mod dresses, seventies denim, and anything that Zooey Deschanel wears! She shops at Joy, Boden and ModCloth – if she could afford it, she’d shop at Orla Kiely. She takes pleasure in the creative process, and gets a huge sense of satisfaction from being able to make her dream wardrobe herself.

What body shapes work best with your patterns?
The patterns are drafted based on common UK body proportions. Of course we’re all different shapes, so we provide tips on the blog for getting the pattern to fit your own shape. I design patterns that are chic as well as comfortable – so you can order dessert or run for the bus without feeling constricted!

What should home dressmakers know about using your patterns?
Tilly and the Buttons patterns are designed to make sewing easy and fun for everyone, including beginners who may find the terminology and diagrams of regular sewing patterns confusing. They come with a gorgeous colour booklet that includes a jargon buster to translate the technical sewing terms, and photos of each step so you can see what you’re supposed to be doing.

The pattern pieces themselves are clearly labelled so you can easily see which seams go together and what the markings mean – no more head scratching! They are printed in the UK on durable paper so you can use them again and again without ripping, and so you can fold them back up neatly and get them in the envelope without that annoying scrunching you get with tissue. Hooray!

We have lots of extra support online, from sewing tutorials and design variation on the blog, to Maker Galleries on Pinterest so you can be inspired by what other people are making with the patterns. We love to see and share what you’ve made!

More about Tilly!
Based in London with fans all over the world, Tilly and the Buttons grew out of the popular blog of the same name, started five years ago by Tilly Walnes. Tilly decided to use her passion for dressmaking and expertise in designing learning programmes to give sewing resources a contemporary update, making them accessible and fun for the generations who are turning to craft but who find the language and conventions of traditional sewing resources confusing and intimidating.

In 2014, Tilly launched her line of gorgeous printed sewing patterns, as well as her bestselling book on dressmaking for beginners, Love at First Stitch, which has since been translated into eight languages. She has been featured in the likes of The Guardian and The New York Times, sewn on telly in BBC2’s The Great British Sewing Bee, taught sewing for Janome at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair, been awarded the HRH British Made bursary from the Duke of York, and was named “sewing’s new star” by Mollie Makes.

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