I’ve had my eye on the beautiful Sewing Patterns from Tilly & the Buttons pretty much since I started sewing. They’re all super stylish and wearable, with unique details that always catch my eye. I’ve been slowly building up to the challenge as these patterns also call for precision and accuracy. I’m not convinced they’re a go-to for an absolute beginner, although every technique mentioned within the pattern can be found on the Tilly & the Buttons website with a full breakdown.

For my first Tilly make I went with the Orla Top Pattern which comes with variations on sleeve length between full and cropped, plus the option of adding a peter pan style collar, which was a completely new skill for me. For my fabric I chose this bottle green plaid Viscose Jersey Fabric which I thought would give me a look I could throw on casually. 

The fabric was really light – perfect for summer and crazy heatwaves we’ve been having – but it also almost drove me to giving up! It was so slippery – worse than anything I’ve sewn with yet, which made it really hard to cut accurately and to line up and pin. Once I was into the depths of the project and my pieces had some structure with darts etc it all became much easier but that start was a challenge I really wasn’t expecting. 

Interfacing has maintained its status as my new best friend as it was the only thing that made this fabric bearable to work with! It made me realise just how much I could do with a great big table to lay my sewing out on, rather than moving between my kitchen floor and our tiny folded dining table. Sewing space is so important.

But moving on from those challenges – the pattern is really clear, and printed on nice thick durable paper so that you can use it again, and again if you wish. There are very detailed instructions that come with the pattern, which also handily unpick most sewing terms for anyone who isn’t a practised sewist, plus handy photographs of each stage (which I found much easier to navigate that illustrations). 

The design also features a visible zip which you can add in a contrasting colour – I absolutely love that detail and I think it makes the design really fun and modern. You can see in the pic below my zip ended up slightly wonky – a definite example of why the measure twice, cut once rule is so important, but I was at the end of my tether with the slippery fabric at that point so I’m just going to have to own that error!

As always I ended up chopping and changing my mind and making a few alterations. I was in two minds about adding the collar, despite cutting out and interfacing the pieces. In the end I adapted the collar shape to a slightly sharper version and added it after finishing my neckline. It does make a huge difference as otherwise the finished top looks a little simple and bare. 

I also (controversially) have decided to make the top sleeveless….. or I might change my mind again and add short short cropped sleeves. With the hot weather we’ve had I’m finding it almost impossible to think about making anything that won’t keep me cool.

Unfortunately due to a weekend spent ill in bed I didn’t quite manage to finish this month’s make – but I thought I’d share it anyway as it just needs hemming (plus a decision about the sleeves). I think Orla version 2 is calling me, and hopefully second time round I’ll be able to tackle the fabric and detailing much more successfully.