10 Oct 2019
Tilly Walnes, Director Tilly and the Buttons, talks us through the design process of her brand new fabric range.
How excited are you about your first fabric collection?
I can hardly contain my excitement! Every stage of the process of creating this collection has been so much fun, and it’s only going to get better once we get our hands on the finished fabric. I’m itching to see what people make with them.
Was it always your dream to have your own fabric range?
I started Tilly and the Buttons with the aim of empowering the new wave of crafters to make their own clothes. Now that we have a well-established line of patterns and books, it’s a great time to think about what else we can do to inspire the younger generations to sew. Creating dressmaking fabrics in fresh designs is the perfect next step for us. It had always been in the back of my mind as a “some day” project, but when the Craft Cotton Company got in touch it jumped to the top of the list.
How did you go about the design process and how long did it take?
I worked closely with Vicky, the fantastic designer at Craft Cotton Company, to create the designs. I began by putting together a mood board of inspirational prints, colours and themes. From there we narrowed down a cohesive collection, and Vicky began work on the initial designs. The most fun part was probably the evening I spent experimenting with different colours for the striped designs – I am a selfconfessed stripes addict! There was a bit of back and forth for a few months tweaking the styles and perfecting the colours, but the whole process was incredibly exciting.
Can you tell us more about the fabrics, composition, colours etc?
The fabric is beautiful organic cotton jersey that’s super soft to the touch thanks to the silicone finish. It’s 190gsm with three per cent elastane, making it perfect for t-shirts, dresses and more.
The first collection features eight designs. I have a reputation for being a Breton stripes addict, so of course four of the designs are stripey. The others are contemporary geometrics and a cute hand print, giving a nod to the handmade element of what we do. The designs are recognisably Tilly and the Buttons thanks to the modern pastels and monochromes.
How important is it to you that the fabric is organic?
The fact that the fabric is organic is the icing on the cake. Crafters are becoming more and more conscious of their environmental impact, myself included, and are making buying decisions based on this awareness.
What type of clothing is the fabric suitable for?
The fabrics are great for making t-shirts, roll neck tops, dresses, pyjamas, baby clothes and more. It will go perfectly with Tilly and the Buttons sewing patterns – the Agnes and Nora tops, Romy and Coco dresses, plus the Freya top and Joni dress from my book Stretch. We also have some more jersey-friendly patterns coming in my next book Make it Simple, which is out in February 2020 – in fact, one of the samples shown in the book is made from one of the fabric designs.
Do you already have any favourite items in mind?
As soon as I get my hands on the first length of finished fabric, I’m going to whip up a Breton top in the multicolour stripe on white jersey, using our Romy sewing pattern. Swiftly followed by some pyjamas in the blue geometric print!
When will the fabric be available for retailers?
The collection is available to pre-order now via Visage Textiles / Craft Cotton Company, and will be on sale to consumers towards the end of the year.
How did your collaboration with the Craft Cotton Co come about?
We were introduced by Debbie Shore, and got together at CHSI Stitches to discuss the idea of doing a fabric collection together. I was instantly struck by how nice and genuine the team were. Their enthusiasm for Tilly and the Buttons and their immediate understanding of the brand convinced me they would be great people to work with.
What’s next for Tilly and the Buttons?
I’m finishing up my next book, Make It Simple, which will be out in February 2020 (published by Quadrille/Hardie Grant). The book will help readers fit creativity into their lives no matter how busy they are, with quick and easy garment patterns, time-saving tips and sewing shortcuts.
Find out more:
Sewing patterns: firstname.lastname@example.org/shop. tillyandthebuttons.com