Tilly Walnes ‘Love at First Stitch’ Book Review

I own several sewing books and I have to honestly say this one is my favourite. It’s so beautifully presented; from the bright and eye-catching photography, to the fonts and backgrounds used in each section, right to the back cover.

Image credit; tillyandthebuttons.com

Image credit: tillyandthebuttons.com

It comes with full-size pattern sheets with patterns for five of the designs in the book (Tilly explains how to make your own simple pattern for the other two projects). You do need to trace the patterns as they’re printed on double-sided paper; but this is best practice regardless.

I really like Tilly’s down-to-Earth, ‘chatty’ writing style; the language she uses is easy to understand, even for beginner dressmakers. She explains all the jargon that comes with sewing throughout the book, and adds helpful hints and tips along the way.
The book begins with a little background on Tilly, then goes on to explain how to use the book (i.e. how it is laid out), and there’s just one page on sewing equipment you will need. The book then jumps straight into the first project; a simple headscarf. This is unlike many other sewing books, which tend to have a good chunk of pages at the beginning based on techniques. Instead, techniques are incorporated into each project (which makes each chapter). Tilly makes it easy for the reader to distinguish between project instructions and explanations of key techniques by displaying the techniques on a gridded background, and the project steps on a plain yellow. You can easily skip the technique sections if you’re confident with them already; just look for the plain yellow background. Some may find this slightly confusing, but once you use the book a few times you will most likely get the hang of the layout.

Another difference between this book and others is its fun, fashionable edge. In each chapter Tilly has added a ‘Make it Your Own’ section, where she gives ideas of how you can use the basic pattern and customise it to do just that – make it your own. An example of hers is adding a fabric bow belt to the skirts and dress; she shows you how to make this, too.

Image credit: tillyandthebuttons.com

Image credit: tillyandthebuttons.com

‘Make It A Lifestyle’ is the final section in each chapter; these sections give the reader some inspiration and an insight into Tilly’s own lifestyle and personality. Her background in blogging really comes into play here.

Another idea I love of Tilly’s is the way she sizes her patterns. All five patterns in the book are not sized in the traditional 8, 10, 12… format. She has devised her own sizing structure, labelling sizes with numbers 1 to 8. This encourages you to sew your true size rather than the size you think you are on the High Street – which often varies when it comes to dressmaking patterns. Tilly doesn’t go into much detail about altering patterns, but seeing as the book is targeted at the beginner dressmaker, this is understandable.

I think the one aspect of the whole book that really stands out to me is the quality – and sheer amount – of the photographs. There is a very clear, real photo image (not an illustration or diagram as is common in other sewing books) for each step. For a beginner, especially, this is so important. And if the photos weren’t enough, the clarity of the text should be sufficient. The book is written with true passion, which really comes across and pours into the reader.

I have made three out of the seven projects in the book so far (consisting of one pair of Margot pyjamas, one Delphine skirt and four Clémence skirts), and the construction of them all went swimmingly. The one bugbear I have – and I have learnt others have had too – is the chunky, untailored waistbands on the skirts; it doesn’t suit many figures and does need some alterations to be comfortable if you actually have a waist. Annoyingly, everything looks perfect on Tilly!

Overall, this book makes sewing fun. As a 20-something-year-old, I can see myself making all the projects – which is not something I say about every sewing book! It’s a beautifully written and presented book.

Beth x

Funky Floral Delphine

Jane at Jane Makes gave me some beautiful floral fabric way back last year (I won it in her giveaway). I think about it every now and then, wanting to use it. But time has been of the essence recently; I haven’t sewn myself anything for some time. Then I saw Jane’s recent post where she sewed the same fabric up into a beautiful skirt, so I thought some selfish sewing was definitely overdue and made Friday night sew-for-me night. And this is the outcome!

delphine skirt

As soon as I received this fabric I knew I wanted to make a Tilly & The Buttons Delphine with it. It has some structure; the fabric is like quilting weight. So I didn’t change my mind, and went with the Delphine.

This is my first Delphine, and I really like it. The pattern is dead easy, really straightforward. One front piece, two back pieces, 8 waistband pieces (4 outer, 4 facing). One invisible zip.


I finished the seams with a simple overcasting stitch. Even though I do have an overlocker, it’s a lot quicker to just use the machine I already have out!


As with most things, the skirt did give me a challenge on fit.

It was big round the waist. Too much room even for a very big dinner. I did try it on mid-making but it’s hard to secure it at the back and look at yourself; there’s always some guesswork in it! It’s OK on my hips though.


Instead of taking out the zip, redoing the waistband… urgh too much work… I improvised and made some little pleats at the back.


It worked well and I rather like it like that; until you tell me it looks stupid. Next time I will grade it from a 3 to a 2 at the waist. (This time it was a straight 3.) Note to self! 🙂


I traced the pattern, cut the fabric, sewed it all up in one evening. I love a quick sew. Besides the altering of the waistband, which I did this morning. I sewed it whilst wearing it!

I hope I’ve got away without pattern matching the back seam… I just couldn’t be bothered trying to make out which flower goes where!!

Final photobombed photo – I was holding my skirt so little A came and said “I can be a princess too!” Also please excuse the chopped-off head shots; I have no where good to take photos!


Jane did say we may end up with matching skirts and we kind of have… hers is also A-line! 🙂

I have about a metre left so may make one of my girls something to match… one day…

Beth x

Granny’s Clemence

You know I said I had a day of dressmaking a couple of weeks ago and I made a skirt from scratch and finished a top? I shared the top – now for the skirt!

Of course I used my trusty Tilly Walnes Clemence Skirt pattern!!

I chose it not only because I like the pattern/style of skirt – but because of the fabric I wanted to use. I’ll show you a photo then explain…

harbour clemenceUnusual, huh?

The fabric was given to me by my Granny who had a good clear out of her fabrics and linen cupboard(s!) The reason behind that isn’t too nice, because she isn’t well (cancer) 😦 But every cloud, hey… I got more fabric to play with!

So this was one of the gems – a soft medium weight cotton (I assume) with a lovely harbour/boats/sea design – it looks like it’s painted.

It wasn’t “flat” fabric; it was actually sewn up into three panels, with a very neat lapped zip in one seam. Unfortunately that was metal and old or else I would have incorporated it into my sewing. Of course I asked Granny if there was a story, and yes – it was a skirt in a previous life and she “must have only partly taken it apart to recycle!”

So I’m wearing a skirt my Granny wore…!! Vintage lovers, eat your heart out! 😛

granny's clemence

The pieces were slightly narrower than I usually make them, as I was limited by the quantity of fabric between the seams. But I think it’s still gathered enough! I also made it longer than I made my others, and I like it. My others were as long as I could make them with 1m of fabric, but I had more choice with this one and used nearly the whole length!

granny clemence

You can just about see the length in that photo ^^ … sorry I didn’t have any help with the photos!

I didn’t think about pattern matching – I wouldn’t have been able to fabric quantity wise – but I don’t think it matters too much with the gathered style.

granny clemence

I like my concealed zip 😀 Nice and neat at the top. And I stitched in the ditch rather than slipstitching the waistband, as it is always quicker! (Odd colour zip; it was that or black!)

granny clemence

Overall, really happy with it. Thanks, Granny!

Beth x