Bedtime Coco anyone?

Well I think we all know by now that I love Coco. I so enjoyed twirling about in my first animal print version – it was simply so comfortable – I thought ‘why leave Coco for daytime? Why not bring the little madam to bed too?’ And so I give you… Bedtime Coco.

Bedtime Coco

Shh. Don’t tell anyone – but Bedtime Coco is a bit of a slut. She didn’t care that I was so excited to get started I didn’t prewash my fabric. Or that I didn’t smooth it out properly before laying and cutting. She just lay back and said whatever. She didn’t mind when I double folded the fabric to squeeze her out of just under two metres. She barely murmured when I couldn’t be bothered pinning and just weighed her down with a biscuit tin and a candle. IT WAS ALL OVER IN LESS THAN TWO HOURS.

Bedtime Coco
























The fabric is a warm soft, practically fleecy knit from Walthamstow Market – I think it was just under £5 a metre which actually made it the most expensive fabric I bought that day. It’s perfect for snuggling up in .

Bedtime Coco
























I think I’m in love with Bedtime Coco. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing each other again soon. In fact, I’ve just hooked up with her polka dot sister – more on that another time.

Bedtime Coco


Coco: A sewing funk solver

Halle-bloody-lujah. My sewing hiatus has come to an abrupt but extremely welcome end, thanks to the power, nay, the glory, of Coco, the latest pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

Coco dress pattern

Do you like the crazy fabric? I loves me an animal print I do. This is some kind of bonkers snakeskin effect double knit from Tissu Fabrics at £6.99 a metre. As soon as I saw it I had to have it, bonkers or no.

Coco dress pattern

Coco is fantastic – a dream of a pattern for a sewing slattern like myself, or indeed a newbie looking for something simple but flattering. Psst – although I actually have an overlocker I have yet to read the instruction manual so I did this on my regular sewing machine using a stretch needle and a zigzag stitch.

I cut a size 3 straight from the pattern. Now I NEVER do that – I pretty much always trace off my size. But armed with the knowledge that a knit can be forgiving and that it was a simple front and back bodice with no closures or darts, I took a deep breath and cut straight in. The fit was dang near perfect thank goodness. All I did was take up the hem by an inch or so more than the recommended 2 cms.

In all, this dress took me about three hours from start to finish. That’s including cutting the pattern and the fabric. What a win! The only tricksy bit was sewing through four layers of knit around the funnel neck. My needle bent, then snapped and whizzed past my eye. Intense sewing, dudes.

I can’t recommend this pattern enough if you’re looking for a tasty nutritious sewing snack. I’ll be making more Cocos soon. Cheers Tilly, for pulling me out of this sewing stupor I’ve been rolling around in!

Coco dress pattern

Tilly’s done a big ol’ sewalong on her site for the Coco so if you’ve not made it yet there’s plenty of information and detail to help you along. Oh and there’s a Coco party happening on Friday 21st March. I may even make another one for that!

My Handmade Style – Tilly and the Buttons

Welcome everyone to an exciting new series, looking at how some of our favourite sewing bloggers curate their handmade wardrobes. From vintage chic to clean modern shapes, how do these seamstresses create and communicate their own unique style in their projects? What and who inspires them, from film and music to everyday life. And what’s their dream outfit?

Today we have the most exciting guest to kick off My HandMade Style – Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons! Most of you will know Tilly and her unique style by now (how many of you have a bow belt or a picnic blanket skirt already or plans to make one?) and if not, then prepare for a treat…

Tilly in her Picnic Blanket skirt

You have a very unique style. A little preppy, a little vintage, but very classic and dare I say… quite Gallic? Would you agree or have I summed you up all wrong?!

Right on the money! I would use all those words in describing my style. I love Breton tops, neckscarves, red and navy blue, full skirts, pencil skirts, capri pants, beads, buttons and bows. The Gallic influence stems from a year I spent living, studying and working in Paris. Not that many French women dress like that, but I resolved to channel the classic Brit-abroad-pretending-she’s-French look!

Where do you find your style inspiration and how do you channel that into your me-made wardrobe?

I work in and have studied film – my greatest source of inspiration is 1960s movies, mainly French, but also Italian and American. Godard, Varda, Resnais, Antonioni movies… endless sources of inspiration. I’m not sure if my style preferences are always obvious in the clothes I sew, as I often get so overexcited by the possibilities that sewing opens up and use it as a chance to experiment. But I’m trying to get better at making things that are “me”.

Who are your style icons and why?

My style mantra is “What would Anna Karina wear?” Or when I remember, at least! It’s a total cliché but I also love Audrey Hepburn’s style. Both have a great sense of silhouette, are chic yet playful, cute but a little uptight… in a good way.

Are there any particular designers that you use for inspiration?

As much as I’ve always loved clothes and design, I’m not really into fashion so don’t follow the catwalks or read magazines or anything. For me, sewing is a way of expressing my love of clothes without relying on fashion designers to tell me what to wear.

Having said that, I can’t deny that designers haven’t influenced my style. I adore the Dior new look, Chanel classics make me swoon, and occasionally I discover a designer that I get obsessed with, such as Lena Hoschek.

If you had to select one self-stitched garment that really encapsulates your style, what would it be and why?

Hmm… good question! Maybe my Dazzlingly Red Beignet. It’s red, it has lots of fabric covered buttons, it has a bow belt. It’s casual and chic at the same time. And it looks great with Breton tops!

Tilly's Red Beignet

Do you ever take risks and experiment with your look? What’s worked and what hasn’t?

When I first started sewing I used to experiment a lot more but I’m trying to stick to my “signature style” these days. What has worked is 1970s style clothing – I’m surprised by how into it I’ve got in the last few years (see for example my 1970s Feel Beignet and 1970s Summer Dress). What hasn’t worked so well is full-skirted 1950s style dresses like the ones out of Douglas Sirk movies – they swamp my small frame and don’t quite suit my lifestyle! I still wear full skirts but I shorten them to the top of my knee and wear them more casually with tops.

1970s style Beignet and dress

Is there anything you wish you could wear but can’t? For example, I love the rock chick skinny jeans and studded vest look but can never quite pull it off…

Lots of things! If I were taller I would wear high waisted flared trousers a lot more. And if I had slim, tanned thighs and dainty knees I would wear 1940s tap pants and playsuits!

What would be your dream outfit, existing or otherwise?

There are loads of outfits from the movies that I would love to wear… but one should be grateful for what one has, and I nearly died and went to sartorial heaven the other day when I teamed my Handpainted Breton Top (red and white stripes, buttons, a deliberate homemade aesthetic) with my Life’s Too Short Skirt (red and white gorgeous printed full skirt). All that’s missing was a bow. 🙂

Tilly's hand-painted Breton top and Life's Too Short skirt

What other sewing bloggers would you recommend for great individual style?

One of the many wonderful things about sewing is being able to create your own individual style (you’ve really hit the nail on the head with this new series). So there are LOADS of sewing bloggers I could mention, as individual style is what they do best. There’s Zoe’s nautical chic, Nette’s dainty style, Marie’s ladylike makes, Jane’s gingham and polka dots, Angie’s cotton dresses… Ooh I’m really looking forward to reading these posts!

Thank you so much Tilly for sharing your style inspiration. Tap pants and playsuits – oh my – you may have just spawned a craze…

Let me know what you think about the new series and if you have any fantastic nominees for My Handmade Style, let me know!