Monday, 19 December 2016

Vintage sewing: Coco by Tilly and the Buttons

I have finally made something really wearable!  Hurrah!  Allow me to present the 'Coco', a 1960s' style top, from Tilly and the Buttons.

Coco Tilly Buttons

The pattern has a dress or top version, with optional funnel neck and cuffs.  It sold me with its '60s style, and simple shape.  The sizing is quite modern, more for pear shapes, so I had to learn how to merge some sizes together to get a good fit for my body shape.  It worked out okay.  As with all multi-size patterns, it's a bit hard sometimes to work out which line, notch, or other marking corresponds to which size.  It takes me absolutely ages to trace the pattern, cut out the paper pieces, then pin them to my fabric and cut those out too.  I bought the fabric in July, and then months went by...  The actual sewing bit was in spurts over about a week.  I couldn't do more than a short burst at a time, to preserve my sanity (as will be explained when you read my bit about the cuffs...).

The fabric I chose was perfect for the top.  It's beautifully soft, a lovely coral colour, and works well with the pattern.  It's a 'Ponte Roma' medium weight knit from Clothspot.  It's heavier than jersey, like the tops from upmarket repro brands Vivien of Holloway and House of Foxy.

Coco Tilly Buttons

Coco Tilly Buttons

Coco Tilly Buttons

Coco Tilly Buttons

Coco Tilly Buttons

The nice bits
The fabric was really good to sew with.  It's not as stretchy as most jersey fabric, so I didn't have to worry so much about it getting stretched out of shape as I sewed.  Because it's a knit fabric, you also just leave the seams raw, no finishing required.  Amazing.  As for the pattern, the instruction booklet is much more detailed than you'd find with a lot of sewing patterns, and there's further help on the Tilly and the Buttons blog if you get stuck.  I wouldn't say it's fool proof though.

The tricky bits
There were a few moments throughout the instruction booklet that had me stumped.  For the life of me I couldn't make heads nor tails out of the instructions for the cuffs.  I wasted so much time making mistakes (hence this blog post going up two days later than planned...).  I had to unpick everything over and over until I wept.  I still don't know what some of the instructions meant, even with the extra step-by-step guide on the Tilly and the Buttons blog.  I'm utterly baffled by the phrase "Snip a small notch at each end of the fold".  Why the notches weren't marked on the pattern in the first place is really odd, why would you leave that as guesswork?!  There were also some little tricks that I have learnt from making other things that were not explained at all, like clipping your corners on hems to stop bits poking out the back.  So, yes, it's a good pattern overall with reasonably clear instructions, but you still need to have some existing knowledge before attempting it.

Instructions I ignored
I didn't use stretch or ballpoint needles, just regular heavy ones.  I tried the ballpoint needles and they gave me skipped stitches, so back I went to my regular needles.  I also used the free arm of my machine to sew the cuffs, when all the instructions said not to because you'd over-stretch them.  It was fine.

Overall cost
If anyone's under the illusion that making your own clothes is really cheap, I'd like to share my costs.  The fabric was £8.50 a metre and I used 1.8 metres.  The pattern was £12.50, thread was £1.60 (still some left on the reel).  So, we're talking around £30 to make.  BUT of course if I use that pattern again, and again, then the cost will go down.  And yes, I do intend to make this top again!  I might do a dress version.

I'm allowing myself to feel quite pleased with this one!

Linking up with #iwillwearwhatilike

21 comments:

  1. I'm really impressed, this is a lovely top! I think when you factor in your time to make it too, the cost is even more if you think of it that way... Clearly it was worth it here, but I wouldn't be able to handle the frustrating process myself! Still though, like I say, I'm really impressed! xx

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  2. You should be really pleased with this top, it looks so good and really, really suits you! Well done for sticking with it despite the frustrations, I always appreciate garments more if i do that. I hear you on the multi sized patterns, that's why I much prefer pre-60s patterns as the majority of them were single sized and already cut so you don't have any of that time wasted. You can just get on with it! Can't wait to see your next version! xx

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  3. It's the apricot version of the top Grace Kelly is wearing in your last post! I love how quintessentially 60s it is - and it also brings to mind that iconic look Marilyn wore with a top in this same colour with capris. You did an absolutely superb job! Also I must compliment you on that BEAUTIFUL Christmas tree - I am in love with the topper!

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  4. The top is amazing, you did such a great job!!! Sewing gets so frustrating, I get moody when I have to unpick a bunch of the garment but it is so worth it in the end!! I love the colour, fabric and fit.. You really have made a beautiful garment. I need to finish my dress ahhh! x

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  5. You have done a stellar job!!! It looks stunning on you! You are really improving and learning a lot which is so nice to see! I bet you get a lot of wear out of this one so it was definitly worth re-doing the bits that were tricky, to get them right. And what a beauty of a tree in the background! Super festive!

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  6. What a brilliant job you've done! That top looks so professional, the finish is fabulous and the colour is stunning on you. xxx

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  7. Your top is a great success, very stylish and so neatly sewn! But goodness, £30 is a lot; I never buy new patterns or fabric so I had no idea they could add up to so much. But as you say, if you reuse the pattern several times, you'll get your money's worth. xx

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  8. It's perfect! I adore the colour and you've done such a great job with it. Despite the tricky bits, your results are really selling me on this pattern!

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  9. You did such a good job ! the seam looks impeccable Porcelina :)
    Happy Holidays .

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  10. Hooray for making something you like! It really suits you and looks awfully cute the way you've worn it (how cute are your bow shoes and headscarf?!).

    Your sewing skills seem to be progressing rapidly, and you've certainly got perseverance down pat. May all your future cuffs be clearly explained and marked!

    Dee

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  11. This turned out SWEET! Kudos to you for sticking with it.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  12. You did a wonderful job, love the colour and the style of it!
    Merry Christmas to you! xo

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  13. You did really well! It's a great shape and I love your choice of colour. It looks quite professional, and you could have fooled me if you'd said it was shop bought! Can't wait to see the dress version! xxx

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  14. Beautiful photos! I love your outfit as well! Merry Christmas to you, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

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  15. This looks lovely on, it is such a good shape and I love the neckline. Will be looking forward to the dress version.

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  16. You look so sharp! Great job with this project, the practice is definitely paying off. You should definitely make this as a dress, it would look smashing in a royal blue or other rich, vibrant color.

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  17. That's a fantastic top, and I can really see a dress version working brilliantly on you. Proper 60s mini, make the most of those endless legs!

    Making your own clothes is more expensive than fast fashion, but cheaper than the 'quality' brands. I may spend more to make a jumper than I could buy one for in Primark, but custom-fitted cashmere would cost more than knitting my own. I bet if you think of your sewing as the top end of the market, you'll be saving money.

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  18. Wow! This is so lovely- and I can see that it will be a great versatile piece to have in your wardrobe. That's too bad you had some difficulties while sewing, but it turned out great and I hope the next time will be a breeze!
    The Artyologist

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  19. I think you should feel quite pleased indeed, the top turned out super cute! I quite like the collar and I always like seeing more "casual" vintage looks recreated, no one was decked out in rhinestones and petticoats all the time. Still, even more relaxed vintage styles look much more put together than anything modern, so this kind of knit top is just perfect.

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  20. Gorgeous top! You did a really amazing job on this. Your seams are so straight and neat! Good job Porcelina!

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  21. Hooray!! This top is lovely Porcelina, and I'm so glad you've made something you are happy with. It's fabulous when you push through and realise that you are starting to make progress. Well done! ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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