For Christmas my sister-in-law and her husband bought me the Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress Sewing Pattern. I was drawn to the simple A-line silhouette with no waistband - a flattering shape but comfortable and practical to wear. 

I chose the most beautiful 21 wale fine stretch Needlecord Fabric from Minerva for the dress. It’s heavyweight but feels luxurious, soft and cosy. The back of it is smoother than you would get with regular corduroy - it’s almost a felt feel, like the back of velvet. I don’t think I’m able to convey its loveliness with words alone! It would be great for a jacket or skirt too.

I did have a few problems working with the fabric, however. Because it’s so thick, when it came to sewing the buttonholes on the button stand which is two layers of fabric plus interfacing, it was pretty hard going and my machine didn’t like it very much! The completed buttonholes were then very tricky to actually cut open with the fabric being so thick, and the buttons themselves were hard to sew on by hand! They all function correctly but the buttons don’t go through very easily. The benefit of this is that they definitely are not in danger of popping open! Plus, the dress is such a relaxed fit that I can just pull it over my head if I can’t be bothered faffing.

The heart-shaped buttons are from Cath Kidston and I’ve been holding onto them for a few years now just waiting for the right project to use them on. I love how they look on this dress! Just the right amount of twee. I’m really pleased with the topstitching too. I used Gutermann Topstitching Thread, but regular thread in my bobbin, and a proper topstitching needle, the machine tension set to 9 and a stitch length of 3.5. Worked like a charm.

The dress is definitely not the quickest thing to make - even cutting the pattern pieces out took me a few hours (but I am incredibly slow these days for some reason). It is very satisfying though, it all comes together very well and even the collar didn’t give me much trouble and the sleeves went in perfectly. It’s a project that needs time and precision, but it’s well worth the time spent of course. I didn’t need to make any alterations to the pattern, which is a definite plus point for me!

Thank you to Minerva who sent me the fabric, topstitching thread, regular thread and interfacing (a medium weight, iron-on black interfacing which is great). I love my new dress!