Sewing Pattern Review: Tilly and the Buttons Skye Summerdress - Reach For the Skye!

Jul 16 2021 0 Comments Tags: #sewingskye, Sewing Pattern Review, tilly and the buttons

I'm back with another review - this time it's the new Tilly & the Buttons Skye Sundress & I bloomin' love it.

The pattern is aimed at confident beginners & has a simple Empire bodice with pleats instead of bust darts, a scooped, slightly squared neckline, optional shoulder ties & a floaty gathered skirt portion which can be made in mini, knee or maxi lengths & of course, pockets. 

There are no fiddly zips or buttonholes to do with this dress but the neckline & sleeves are finished with bias binding which perhaps elevates this from a very basic beginner pattern to confident beginners. But don't worry if you don't fancy the effort of making your own bias binding, we have your back with a range of ready made  poly cotton bias binding in the shop, make sure you get the 1" wide though & not the 2" wide like I did & then had to faff about cutting it down to 1"!  I might also put together a tutorial of how to line it if anyone is interested because I think this would give a nice neat finish for those who don't like sewing with bias binding.

Philippa asked I fancied making it up in our lovely Green Manalishi Tencel lawn & I said "yes please"! I'm not usually drawn to green but as soon as this came into the shop I was really drawn to it; the design is beautiful & it has the perfect weight & drape for this dress, lightweight but not see through. It handles really well, doesn't fray & holds a press without being too prone to creasing when you wear it too. (I called it Green Manalishi because Fleetwood Mac were on the radio when I was uploading it!) 

If you want something similar with lots of drape such as this tencel we have lots of viscose fabrics in stock that would do the job, such as this Polynesian Delight which is lovely & bold or if you prefer plain fabrics take a look at this beautiful coral viscose which is shot with gold threads - perfect with a tan on your jollies. But it could also be made in a cotton poplin, a double gauze, crepe de chine or what about this lovely black floral seersucker that's just arrived -  this would look fab over the shorter version  layered with a T-Shirt underneath.


The pattern is in the new extended size range which goes from UK size 6 to 24 in the printed version & 16 to 34 in the PDF,  (we can print your PDFs for you). I generally sew a size 5 for Tilly's patterns (I'm 37" bust, 32" waist & 39" hip, so between the 4 & 5 on the bust & 5 at the waist & 4 at the hip) & despite her advice to go up a size if you're between sizes, I ignored it & went down to a 4. There's loads of room at the waist & hip & around 3" at the bust & found that it was just right for the fit that I like - I'm only a B cup though, so maybe take your cup size & how much room you prefer into consideration. Or make a quick toile out of a remnant like I did - it takes no time to whip up the bodice. I did add around 1 1/2" to the length too, as Tilly drafts for someone who is 5'5" & I'm 5' 8".

As usual, Philippa challenged me to get it out of less than the required 2.8m suggested on the pattern, so I took 2.5m home to wash & I'm not going to lie, it was a push so I'd suggest going for 2.75m to be on the safe side. (This is for the size 4 so you'll definitely need more for the larger sizes as the skirt pieces wouldn't sit side by side. They may do for a smaller size & a wider fabric but this fabric was only 145cm wide!) & if you're fussy about pattern matching then you'll definitely need more - I didn't think it was necessary for this print & the gathers hide any need for it in my opinion. If you choose a large floral just watch out for floral boobs!

The size of the skirt did mean that there was a  wide strip of fabric leftover, which would in part be used for the bias strips but seems a big waste. The instructions for cutting 8 bias strips & then sewing them together seems overly complicated - I have a video which yields around 2 metres of bias binding from a 10" square here which I find easier & less wasteful.

Sewing up was straightforward, once the bodice was sewn (2 pleats at the bust, shoulder & side seams), there was just the pockets to sew in, which are interfaced for strength first & then understitched when sewn on to keep them in place. Then, all you need to do is sew up the side seams & attach the skirt to the bodice and Bob's your uncle! I prefer to use the elastic method for gathering, which you can find here. It's a lot less faffing trying to get the gathers even than the traditional method of 2 rows of basting stitches! 

Pocket interfacing     Gathering with elastic

The ties are an optional extra & aren't integral to the straps, so can give you a different look & there's also instructions to make a strap stay to keep the shoulder straps in place to stop your bra flashing but I found I didn't need it. The pockets are the perfect size for keys, phone & lippy if you like to travel light.

All in all it was a really straightforward make & very easy to chuck on & go when the sun shines. 

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