The Power of Three {Rosa, Alma and McCalls 6696}


The perfect button up shirt pattern. I’d been on the hunt for one for quite some time. Does it exist? Will I ever find it? Truth be told, I was being a bit fussy with my prerequisites.


Stuff I wanted:

Legit collar and collar stand so I could button it all the way up, all hipster-like.

Minimal seams and yokes and other fussy bits so I didn’t have to cut through my busy prints like some kind of animal.

But some shaping (darts) is necessary. No one wants to wear a sack. I’m not a monster.

No gaping of buttons. I know I have boobs and a waist, but is this really such a big ask?


I’d browsed the pattern books, I’d looked online at the indie companies. But no one had exactly what I wanted. It was either loose fitting men’s style shirts or yoked and princess-seamed women’s numbers. NO. I was feeling a bit foot stompy.


Then it occurred to me. What if I just mash up the patterns I already have? Can I create some kind of shirty Frankenstein monster?


Yes I can, you guys. Yes I bloody can. Not gonna lie, had no idea what I was doing and was quite sure it was going to end up disastrous. Turns out though, I ended up with the best fit I’ve had from a shirt. Ever.


To make the monster, I used:

Tilly and the Buttons Rosa neckline and collar, because those are the shiz. Rosa is a rad pattern, but has two yokes and front and back princess seams. I didn’t want to chop my foxes.

McCalls 6696 for the bust dart and all round bust fit, as well as the armscye and sleeves. That dress never lets me down at the bust, but you know, it’s a dress.

Sewaholic’s Alma blouse for the length and front and back waist darts, as well as the shaping in at the waist. Delicious.


And there she is, folks. Look at that fit! No gaping at the bust. Those buttons aren’t going anywhere. Ever. My only consideration for next time is that neck and collar region. I think it could be smaller. But I’m not sure where to start with that so maybe I’ll just leave it. It’s so close to perfect.


Ooh fabric is Cotton and Steel from Hawthorne Threads (it looks to be out of stock, sorry!). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make more of these babies. They are a tip top work shirt. Professional, yet not.





Sorry Lindy Bop {Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress}

You know when there’s a sale and something catches your eye, but dammit, it’s out of stock in your size? It’s really not that often that I buy RTW anymore anyway, but every now and then I’ll see a dress in a cool print and think ‘WHHHHHYYYYY can’t I buy that fabric?!’.

Screenshot-2017-9-27 Marlene' Hot Pink Yacht Print Swing Dress


Last week one of the lovely ladies in a FB sewing group (hi Sammy!) posted that she’d accidentally ordered two of the same dress, so rather than sending one back, she cut it down and made two of the cutest little girls dresses I’ve ever seen. That print, man. Too good. So I completely copied her (yes, there’s been a bit of that going on lately – stop being so inspiring people!) and ordered the biggest size left on the Lindy Bop website.


It wasn’t long before it was resting in pieces. Feels so wrong to completely unpick a brand new dress the minute it arrives on your doorstep. Sorry Lindy.


I’d decided on the Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress (which can be found in her Love At First Stitch book) because I knew I wouldn’t have a huge amount of fabric to play with. As it turns out, I didn’t use the bodice pieces of the dress at all because they weren’t big enough, just the skirt. And I only just squeezed it out. I did keep the original zip, hook and eye and rings and sliders for potential future projects.


I tried really hard to avoid placing that sun in the vicinity of my boob, but working with limited fabric meant that she did have to go on the front bodice. I don’t think the placement screams nipple once it’s on though.


Put in a metal zip because they’re stronger for this style of dress and cool as heck.


If you’ll excuse my awkward pose and just check out that kinda sorta best matching I could do on the side seam there (and ignore the fact I missed it on the centre back seam). Fit wise it’s actually a bit small because I made a mistake. Gah. The fabric is sateen which means it has that lovely little bit of stretch, so I sized down as I wanted it quite fitted. As it turns out, I didn’t use my brain to consider that this print is a border print, isn’t it? So the stretch is running the wrong way – up and down instead of around. NO. So it’s a wee bit tighter than it should be. Ok for standing, potential wardrobe malfunction if I have to sit. Standing events only please.


I have no shame in destroying RTW and will absolutely do this again.

The Great Finishing {Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress}


This weekend was spent finishing off a pile of UFOs I had languishing in a basket, mocking me for too long. Most of it was really boring and involved unpicking and sewing on buttons, but this Rosa was pick of the litter.


I wasn’t sure why I had ignored it for so long. I cut it out just after making my last one and I adore the fabric, so it’s not that I was feeling particularly uninspired. Then when I was getting towards the end, it hit me. Buttons. Twelve of them. It always feels like a huge task, but when I get into the swing of it, it’s fine. And yeah, my machine has a one step buttonhole function. If I had to do those suckers manually it would be a different story. There’s also a lot of top stitching, which I have done in grey thread because my top stitching isn’t something that I want to draw attention to.


I would also like to point out that I’ve made everything I’m wearing except my shoes and tights. And I hear you say ‘Yeah? So you made a dress? That’s nothing new, Katie.’ That’s true, but think about what you can’t see. Yep, bra and knickers are made by me also. And since I’m bragging, would you take a look at the projection and shape of that right boob? God I love this bra. It’s Kwik Sew 3594. I have four of them now. A lot of women prefer a rounded shape to the well, boob shape. But I personally do like a boob-shaped boob. Yeah, we went there. I just wanted to highlight it because a lot of people seem to think handmade bras are unsupported-wrestling-puppies-in-a-sack kind of situations, but I assure you they aren’t.


Onward. You want to know where everything is from:

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Chambray

Buttons: thrifted. Got a bag of about 200 wooden buttons for $2. Do recommend.

Shoes: Vintage Dr Martens scored on ebay. Not sewn obviously, but lots of people ask me about them.


Ignore the orange ear. Apparently he’s been wandering through the garden, helping the bees pollinate. Still tilted to the left, as you can see. Bloody dog and his bloody ears.

I haven’t shared much about the construction of this Rosa as I covered it in my last one. I didn’t make any changes except the placement of the sleeve tabs – I just rolled them to where I wanted and put them in the right spot. Easy. Now excuse me as I swan off to the yacht club in my nautical dress.

Kidding. I’m going to reheat leftover Thai and do some work.


Collar Love {Tilly and The Buttons Rosa Dress}


Current obsession: proper pointy collars complete with collar stand. Peter Pans have their place, don’t get me wrong – but look at that edgy delicious collar.


So you’ll see from my images that our lawn is pretty much dead – Australia in February, baby. Also Australia in February – relentless heat coupled with cloying humidity. Result? Dress that I literally just ironed before these photos looking like it has be balled in a corner of a dark room for a month. Sorry. Probably shouldn’t have used quilting cotton, but I do like to bend those rules. Look at that Charley Harper print.

Pattern – Tilly and the Buttons Rosa

Fabric – Birch Organic from

Buttons were an op shop find.

Shoes are Saltwater Sandals and sunnies are Quay, just in case you’re interested. Pretty much my uniform right now.


Ah Rosa. She’s pretty cool, right? I like Tilly’s patterns – they are well drafted and seem to fit me quite well. Plus her instructions are really clear and she has lots of images to look at and provide direction too. And I like how she doesn’t have standard numbered sizing. I’m a 7? Cool. That holds no negative value to me.

I sort of fall into a couple of sizes in this one, so I cut a 7 and graded down to a 6 at the waist. As it turns out, I could do with a tiny bit extra at the bust, so I’ll add that next time. There’s no gaping, just a slight pulling when I move my shoulders back. I cut an 8 for the sleeves because I have big arms, but ended up taking them in anyway. The only trouble I had with the whole thing was my button placement mark was off, so I’ll have to check that on my pattern pieces to see what I did there.


Look at that cool back yoke. I’ve always had trouble with those sorts of curves and while it’s not perfect, this is definitely the best one I’ve ever done. Tilly’s instructions for that are great. This version has cool mock flat felled seams, which feels never ending at teh time but the result is so worth it.


Sorry I don’t have any construction pics, I did most of this at night and they would have been horrendous. There’s nothing too tricky about it though.

I’m a bit self conscious about the length of this one (hello weird knees), so will probably end up wearing it mostly with tights and boots in winter. I’ve already ordered some chambray for another version, as well as some delicious double gauze that might end up being a shirt with piping.

All in all, an excellent pattern with rad details.