I’m really pleased with the finish on this make. It uses french seams, which helps to make everything look neat on the inside. But also I made fewer mistakes than I usually do, so I only had to unpick one seam – possibly a new record for me.
It’s Liberty Tana lawn that I bought in their summer sale, contrasting with the purple satin polyester bias binding that I found at Birmingham’s rag market during the Sewbrum meet-up in September. I love this colour combination, and the cotton lawn was perfectly behaved making it easy to sew and press the french seams. I’m itching to hunt down some more tana lawn to make another set, but that might have to wait until I’ve sewn my stash.
This is the first time I’ve used a Tilly and the Buttons pattern, and I have mixed feelings about it. I loved the robust packaging, the clear instructions with colour photos, and the design. All of these are better than you’d get with a Big 4 pattern, and better even than some of the other indie designers I’ve tried up to now. It cost £14, so I guess you’d hope so.
I didn’t get along so well with the sizing and the fitting. Firstly, there was no information on the pattern or in the instructions about the standard back waist length or waist to hip distance. (Seriously: indie designers, this is one way in which the Big 4 still have one up on you – please can you put more info about the finished length or body measurements into your patterns?)
So I measured the pattern as best I could, added one inch in length to the camisole, and two inches to the crotch depth in the shorts. These are the same alterations I’d make to almost any sewing pattern, Big 4 or indie. The shorts came out about right, but the camisole was still on the short side.
The other problem area was – surprise surprise – the bust. I chose a size 4 + a 3″ FBA but on reflection I wish I’d made the size 5 + a 1-2″ FBA. It’s ended up a little tight along the seam under the bust (I wear a 34 bra band) and the FBA I made to the cups (using the TATB tutorial) has added too much room side-side and not enough top-bottom.
Possibly because of these fitting niggles, I could not find a way to make the straps sit neatly on my shoulders without my boobs disappearing into my armpits. After two sessions of stabbing myself in the back with pins trying to get it right, I decided to go off-pattern and convert it into a halterneck instead. Boob issue solved – hurrah! (Let’s just hope it’s comfortable to sleep in.)
As other sewists have suggested, this pattern would make a really great gift for a sister or a much-loved friend. With the bias-cut camisole and some precision stitching needed it’s not one I’d recommend to absolute beginners, but if you’re an ‘advanced beginner’ or beyond you’ll find it a very satisfying make.