Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress

Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress


I know I'm meant to be focusing on nightwear this month, but I enjoyed the summer dresses #wardrobebuilder theme so much I made more than I could blog about in one month! The Lilou dress is from Tilly and the Buttons Love at First Stitch. I've been toying with the idea for this dress for a while, having the fabric and the pattern to hand then found the perfect accessory during a massive wardrobe clear out. I discovered a lot of pretty features to this dress that really make it a wardrobe staple.

Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dressFabric


The fabric I used is a polycotton from Minerva Crafts for £2.99 per metre. I had it earmarked for another dress but when it arrived it was stiffer than I had anticipated so wouldn't work with the drapey dress I had in mind. It is perfect though for this dress because it hold the pleats really well and adds a 'pouf' without having to have any underskirt help. It doesn't fray a great deal and presses very well.

I lined the bodice with a pale pink cotton lawn that was residing in my stash which adds a little extra comfort - I'm not sure I'd like the feel of the straps in the dotty fabric otherwise.

The accessory I found that made this dress come together was an orange belt that, once upon a time had come with a dress. The dress is long gone but I kept hold of the belt because I loved the colour. I managed to source a similar colour zip too as a small echo - it is concealed but the tiny pop works well I think!

Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress

Pattern and Instructions

This dress is from Love at First Stitch and is the final pattern in the book. It features a sleeveless bodice with darts, which is lined. The skirt has pleats at the front and back to add fullness and the whole dress closes with an invisible zip. All the skills required to make this dress are covered throughout the book. This pattern features on the skills of lining a bodice and sewing pleats. There is also guidance on how to adapt the dress to feature a scalloped neckline or a gathered skirt instead. I think this dress would be a good vehicle to test different neckline variations if you are venturing into pattern alterations.

Tilly and the Buttons Love at First Stitch Lilou dress

The pattern needs tracing off from the multi pattern pull outs at the back of the book. There are only a few pattern pieces for this dress which is nice! The pieces have minimal markings and are very easy to read. The instructions are also very clear. I did have some issues with figuring out the pleats, which were the least clear element of the instructions and could have benefitted from more photographs on this. I'm not sure why because I have sewn pleats before! Maybe it had been a long week.......

Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress pleats

Fit and Alterations

In previous Tilly and the Buttons makes I have needed to take the patterns in. My measurements could fit to the size 3 or 4, depending on the day and the pattern. I decided to test out using the smaller size for a change, which was a mistake. The waist fits much better than previous makes and requires no alteration for a change, but the bust is too tight. Really this should have been obvious because my bust size is larger than the size 3 measurement. I can't believe I didn't think about that! I also didn't try on at all until I was about the do the final step of hemming. I can get the dress on without too much trouble, but the shoulder straps sit oddly, and there is a strange excess of fabric at the back of the bodice. Grading between the 3 and 4 would have been a more sensible step.

Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress

Thoughts

What do I like about this pattern? I love the skirt! The pleats are a very nice feature and they have worked well in the fabric.
What I'm not so keen about in this pattern? My own sizing errors! I think even if it was fitting properly I might not be so keen on the straps and neckline as they aren't my most flattering fit!

Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress

Would I make this dress again? Yes, in a soft cotton lawn for next summer with a little tinkering on the neckline.This dress has turned out to be a handy number for summer; barbecues and up the park feature most. I do always wear it with a cardi because I'm not keen on how the straps and back look on me.
Would I recommend this pattern? Yes, the whole book is good for beginners and this dress is a close match to the Sew Over It Betty dress too (but with even more instruction, and lots of patterns in the book as a whole).



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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking and delicious food.
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