Pattern Review: Tilly and the Buttons Martha Dress


Tilly and the Buttons have a new pattern! I was very lucky and got to have a go at this pretty frock a little early, so here is my very own Martha dress! 

The Martha dress is fitted with bust darts and gentle princess seam panels at the bodice, flowing into a flattering bias-cut panelled skirt. It features a contemporary Mandarin collar and closes with an invisible zip at the back. Choose from short sleeves or three quarter length bell sleeves, with demure knee length or flirty mini hemline. From

My first impression of this dress was it felt very vintage inspired, quite 60s in the long sleeved version but more 1940s in the short sleeved, below the knee version, pictured in a beautiful floral print. I love the little mandarin collar as it reminds me of Chinese cheongsam dresses I had when I was younger. 

As always when commensing a sewing pattern, I hit Pinterest for inspiration:




It was this beautiful combination of 1940s and Chinese style which inspired me when choosing my fabric. I went to John Lewis and found this beautiful brown, floral cotton which I felt combined the two influences, but in a modern way. It is by Anna Maria Horner and is part of the wonderfully named Pretty Potent collection of cottons.

As an added bonus, this was on sale for £3 per meter, which was a good job as, even though this dress is not particularly volumous, the skirt is cut on the bias which uses loads of fabric. My only reservation about using this pattern again is that cutting out a bias cut skirt (which I have not done before) leaves a lot of fabric wastage, which I do not usually have as I am a frugal stitcher left with mere threads of left over fabric! 

I love how this dress turned out, it is so unusual and different to any other patterns in my stash. It was very simple to sew and I feel any sewist with a couple of projects under their belt would find this pattern a pleasure to work with. The instruction booklet is ridiculously pretty. I didn't really need the instructions much as there were no techniques I was not familiar with in this frock but I enjoyed looking at the lovely photos which I would imagine make sewing so much easier for a beginner. I made the size 3 but it was too large in the waist and hip so I altered it slightly by simply taking in thr princess seams a small amount all the way round, which I think worked quite well, while keeping the bust the same. Luckily we had one sunny day in which to photograph this frock in our new garden, hooray!

As you can see it was not yet warm enough to go sans tights, but I see this dress looking awesome with pretty sandals in the warm weather, or perhaps with heels for parties as it does have a dressy look to it. 

If I was to make this pattern again I would be tempted to do it in white lace, like the lovely Alexa Chung here (but of course without the massive amount of draping). I think it could feel very 'Daisy' from the Great Gatsby. 

That's all for today, thank you to Tilly and the Buttons for this lovely and original pattern design; it was a real pleasure to sew with! The Martha dress is available here  and it also comes in a pdf I think.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing x o x o