Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I'm a sewing author, teacher and founder of the pattern company Tilly and the Buttons. We create easy-to-use dressmaking guides for the new wave of crafters. I live in London and work from a lovely studio with an awesome team.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Stretch! is all about stretching your sewing skills to handle knit fabrics and getting comfortable making comfy clothes that you'll never want to take off. I show you how to sew knit fabrics on both a regular sewing machine and an overlocker (AKA serger), and offer lots of tips and tricks for sewing with my favourite knits, including jersey, ponte, sweatshirting, stretch velvet and more. The book also includes six new patterns, with multiple variations, so you can make yourself a gorgeous, comfy handmade wardrobe for every day.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I love sewing with knits and want to encourage more crafters to get confident sewing with them too! They're speedy to sew, easy to fit, and extremely comfortable to wear. Yet many home sewists are scared of sewing with them as they have a reputation for being difficult to handle. I want to show readers tips and tricks for handling the stretch – and stretching their skills at the same time. Once you know how, sewing knits will become an obsession!
Which is your favourite project?
That's like asking me to pick a favourite child! I love the glittery gold stripe Joni dress, which has a stunning twist front bodice and flared sleeves. It looks complicated to make but is surprisingly simple once you give it a go. I also love the mustard ponte Freya dress with cosy mock neckline and contemporary ruffle. It's had a lot of love on Instagram already!
What is your craft space like?
My home is pretty small but I'm lucky to have a lovely office-studio where Tilly and the Buttons is based, which is an inspiring place to make and write. We have a large window with a view of the London skyline, and are surrounded by gorgeous fabrics, patterns and all the sewing tools you could need!
Have you always been creative?
As a child I was always into drawing and making things, and told everyone I was going to be an artist when I grew up. As often happens, when I grew up I was told I'd never get a job if I pursued art, so I switched to focusing on other subjects and lost touch with my creative side. A few years into my (first!) career working in the film industry, I started sewing as a hobby and fell head over heels in love with making again. Eventually I quit my job and turned my passion for handmade fashion into a business.
When did you first start crafting?
I started crafting as a young child, and made everything from lace bookmarks to recipe books! I was particularly obsessed with Fimo and loved making food for my dolls' house, such as croissants and a Battenberg cake!
Who are your crafty heroes?
A chef rather than a crafter, Nigel Slater's book 'Appetite' is a great inspiration to me. He writes about food in such an expressive way, and I love how he encourages readers to get confident and creative adding their own personal touches to their plates, rather than slavishly following a recipe. I hope to inspire stitchers to put their own spin on my patterns in a similar way.
Where do you find inspiration?
I love picking up fashion tips from movies from the sixties and seventies. And of course there's a whole world of inspiration to be had on Instagram and Pinterest!
What's next for you?
I'm working on two gorgeous dress patterns which will be coming out in the Summer. And dreaming about designs for Autumn 2018!