This month's featured sewing designer is Tilly and the Buttons! Craftworld members can get 20% off all of Tilly's digital patterns this month and our Premium members can download a copy of Tilly's Zadie dress for free. To celebrate, we've rounded up our top tips to help you sew your new favourite dress.

Image credit: Fanni Williams

Get creative!

One of our favourite things about this pattern is the scope it gives for playing with pattern and colour. To get you started, you can download printable colouring sheets to plan the design for your own Zadie dress.


How to Sew A Colour Block Dress

You can of course sew a single-colour Zadie, but if you want to take your sewing to the next level, Tilly has written lots of colour blocking advice. These are our top tips;

Colour Theory Made Easy

It can be hard to know where to start when choosing fabrics, but there are some easy cheats for creating a cohesive palette. We've got tutorials for using a colour wheel in papercraft and crochet and the same principles apply when you're working in fabric!

Plan it Out

Use the colouring sheets to mock up your dress before cutting out your fabric. You could even cut out little bits of fabric in the shape of the pattern pieces and play around with them until you're happy with the placement! Take photos as you go so that you can flick through all of your options easily.

Clever Colour Placement

Tilly says "I always thought that if you put darker colours on the side panels and lighter colours in the centre, it creates the illusion of a slimmer silhouette by kinda "blacking out" the sides of your body...As for vertical placement, putting darker colours on the bottom half and lighter on top can also make your outfit look less top-heavy." Use those different fabric shades to your advantage!

Think about Thread

Usually when you're sewing, you only have to match your thread to one fabric. When you're colour-blocking, you need to think about all the colours you're working with, particularly in places where the stitches might be seen such as when top-stitching the collar.

Wash with Care

If you're working with contrasting colours, you do run the risk of colour bleeding from the darker piece to the lighter piece. As ever, you should pre-wash your fabric before sewing which should take care of the majority of any excess dye. To be super-safe, you might want to hand-wash your dress the first couple of times you wear it and if you do put it in the washing machine, think about using a colour-catcher sheet.


Top Tips for Sewing your Zadie Dress

Once you've planned out your dress, it's time to get stitching! Tilly has written some really useful blog posts that are well worth a read before you begin. My favourite tips are:

  • Wash, dry and leave your fabric to rest before cutting
  • Trace your pattern onto your fabric to ensure accuracy
  • Treat yourself to a rotary cutter to make life easier!
  • Use a ballpoint needle in your sewing machine
  • Experiment with different stitch settings and presser feet
  • Relax - it's easier than you think!

Read the full blog posts:
Tips for cutting knit fabric
Sewing knit fabrics on a regular machine

Community Effort

The best thing about sewing such a popular pattern is that there's so much inspiration and advice out there to explore! Check out the Zadie dress sewalong on Tilly's blog for step-by-step guides to every step from fitting to finishing and Follow the SewingZadie hashtag on instagram for more ideas.


Order your copy of Make It Simple by Tilly Walnes for only £11.99 from Simple Sew