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A Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Add-on Gathered Dress

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with The Stevie  tunic and top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. Did you notice last month that an add-on pattern had been released? This  gives you the option to use the original pattern to add longer sleeves or a gathered skirt transforming it into an oversized smock dress whilst still retaining those classic and recognizable Stevie features.

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The new dress version could not have appealed to me more! It’s right up my street! Gathered skirt – yes please. Tie back – of course. Swishability – 100%.

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This dress is made using the original Stevie pattern plus the Add-on pattern. A bundle of both patterns together is also available here.

*polite/shy cough* I was beyond flattered to be asked by Tilly and the Buttons to model the pattern images for this new add-on pattern and, trust me, I’m still pinching myself.

The sample of the dress that I modelled for Tilly is made up in this beautiful linen/cotton stripe from Lamazi Fabrics and is gorgeous. Immediately that I saw it I desperately wanted to make my version in a linen stripe too and have a bit of fun copying those playful stripe directions.

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The fabric that I purchased for my version is a viscose linen from Material Girl Laura. Unfortunately this is out of stock now, but it’s a beautiful mid blue with a narrow white stripe.

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Can you see the little dots of rain on the fabric!  Typical British Summer hey?

The acrylic pastel blue knitting necklace with gold plated chain is available from my shop.

As I needed to be very careful cutting this out to make sure that the stripe was running the correct way on each pattern piece, I drew out a rough sketch of the dress (front and back) and drew the stripes in so that I knew which way to lay each piece on the fabric. This was also important as I knew that I would only have just enough fabric to do this. Guess who despite this still cut out the back bodice piece (the piece below the back yoke) with the stripes in the wrong direction!? Yep, me..

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This resulted in some rude words, and some intense pattern repositioning on the remaining pieces and I finally managed to squeeze out that back bodice piece by cutting it as two separate pieces (rather than on the fold) so now there is a little vertical seam running down the centre now. Never mind, you can barely see it ( I hope) and at least the stripes are running in the direction that I wanted.

Oh I also had to cut the sleeve cuffs with the stripe running in the wrong direction as a result of this, as this was the only way I could get them out of the fabric leftovers now, but you really wouldn’t notice this either.

So after all that self-inflicted stress cutting out, I was excited to get started sewing. (I am a straight Tilly size 4 by the way, but for this dress I wanted it a little less oversized so I cut a size 4 in the top grading it in to a size 2 at the waist, and a size 2 skirt). My measurements are 36-30-40 btw and I am 5’2″.

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It’s a dream to sew, as are all of Tilly’s patterns, and I really enjoyed seeing it come together especially with all of those fun directional stripes. After adding the cuffs I decided to hand stitch them in place all the way around rather than just using some discreet stitches at the shoulder and side seam. I was trying to avoid the chance of them becoming a bit unturned whilst wearing them, if you know what I mean. Now that I have hand stitched them I feel that they look a bit flat and realise that they would look much better stitched in a couple of places as instructed, so I think I’ll whiz back to them, unpick that stitching and finish them as I should have done in the first place!

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One of the things that I love about this dress is the large pocket. It’s fab isn’t it? Sadly I had to reduce the size of the pocket because of my pattern placing error that I mentioned earlier. I simply couldn’t get it out of the fabric with the stripe in the correct direction at it’s original size. So whilst the width of my pocket is the same as the pattern, I had to make it about 4cm shorter. It’s only a little bit smaller than the original and still super cute.

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I also placed the pocket so that it’s side edges lay exactly parallel to those vertical stripes on the skirt. The placement markings for the pocket actually means that the pocket side edges are parallel to the side seams (not the fold line/centre front of the skirt) so technically this means that my pocket is actually stitched on a little bit wonky, but it looks straight, because of the vertical lines of the skirt… Gosh does this make any sense? One last thing,  I also raised the height of the pocket by about 4cm.

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After attaching the skirt I realised that the weight of the skirt had pulled the waist seam down to lower than I wanted ( something that Tilly mentions might happen in her instructions).  I felt that I needed to raise the waist seam by about 4.5cm along the front bodice from side seam to side seam. The back bodice didn’t need reducing all the way around, I just needed grade this 4.5cm reduction down to nothing for about 12cm from each side seam in towards the centre back.

There are some helpful and interesting posts on the Tilly and the Buttons blog herehere and here.  So do check those out if you need any fitting help or inspiration.

I would also like to say that the add-on pattern was gifted to me when the pattern was released. This was with no obligations or conditions to share in any way. The thoughts in this post, as always, are entirely my own. The original Stevie pattern that is also needed to make this dress was purchased by myself.

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The By Hand London Hannah Dress

Instagram definitely made me do this!

So many beautiful examples of this gorgeous wrap dress have been popping into my feed over the last few months I could only resist for so long … and boy! she was worth the wait!

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Image from By Hand London.

The Hannah Dress  from By Hand London is a pretty wrap dress/blouse which has three different sleeve variations. Bishop sleeves (shown above), tulip sleeves and short sleeves which is the version that I made. It has a size range of UK 6-24, and I cut a size 10

 

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As is almost always the case with me, the in-seam pockets (yes, it has pockets)! were too low. I raised the height of the pockets by 2″ and now they are the perfect height. For reference I’m 5’2″.

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Another adjustment that I made, was to alter the neckine on the bodice to make it a little more modest. It is a fairly low cut design and there is a brilliant tutorial on the By Hand London blog here  to show you how to adjust the bodice to give you a little more coverage! I adjusted my pattern piece by adding 1″ to the shoulder seam and I feel much more comfortable with the result. (This blog post also shows you how to correct a gaping neckline if you need to).

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I very rarely sew anything pink, I don’t know why, and now I have dipped into it, I feel I might add more of this colour to my handmade wardrobe. The fabric that I used is this adorable dusky pink floral cotton poplin from the lovely Sophia at Sew Jessalli.

Big shout out and thanks to Sophia for her patience and help when I realised that I needed more fabric than I had actually ordered, and adjusting my order before it was dispatched. What a gem! I hope these pics give you some idea of the pretty colour of the fabric as these pictures have come out a tiny bit washed out for some reason.

The By Hand London patterns are lovely to follow. Nicely illustrated and worded so that they are easy to understand, they are a pleasure to sew.

I lowered the bust darts by 3.5cm on this dress, and not sure that I have this quite right – I think I need one of Elisalex’s bodice fitting classes! – but I feel comfortable in it and might play around with this on my next version.

Some lovely features of this dress include the use of bias binding all the way around the neck edge. I have lots and lots of handmade bias that I make using cotton leftovers so this was a good opportunity to use some of the pretty ditsy pink floral that I had in my bias stash!

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The front left skirt piece is intentionally left ungathered, to avoid any bulk as it sits underneath the outer right hand skirt piece when worn. Thumbs up.

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There are four belt ties to make for this dress. Two that are visible on the outside and two that secure the dress underneath. I made the two belt tie pieces that are not visible when worn, from the fabric selvedge just for fun (but mostly so that I don’t have to turn 4 belt ties through to the right side after sewing, only two)! Ha! By the way, I sewed my ties using a 3/8″ seam allowance rather than the 5/8″ that is used throughout the rest of the pattern to make it easier for myself when turning it through. The result is very slightly wider ties, but nothing drastically different.

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The length of the dress is your preference. I did cut it full length to the pattern as originally I really wanted that midi length/ballet dress vibe (see final pic ha ha). When I tried it on before hemming however I felt I would wear it more at this ‘just below the knee’ length. This resulted in a bit of annoying fabric wastage which I normally try to avoid, but all’s well that end’s well and those offcuts have made some very pretty face masks here.

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I was really pleased with how the short sleeves eased in perfectly (with a little patience and lots of pins), but have to say it feels a little restrictive when you lift your arms. I might try the tulip sleeves next time to see if that gives me less restriction.

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The gold acrylic mirror scissors necklace (which is a little blurry in these pics unfortunately) is available from my shop here.

 

 

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I used to wear wrap styles all the time a few years back, and have slowly evolved into loving a round neck mostly now, but this has reignited my love for the wrap style for sure.

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When your new dress gives you those ballet vibes that you were hoping for!…

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I also couldn’t resist painting a little peg doll …

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x