Tilly and the Buttons - Lilou Dress

by - 6/04/2016

My finished Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress!

As you may already know, I'm a huge Tilly and the Buttons fan, and the Lilou dress was the first garment I made from her book 'Love at First Stitch'. But that's not the dress you're seeing here... My first dress was an over ambitious (I added the scallop neckline), shody attempt that I wore once until it unraveled in the wash. However, that was two years back and my dress making skills have improved a lot since them!

So here's my Lilou dress, take 2. If you saw my previous 'Me Made May' post, you'll know my pledge was very feeble. It was to wear a handmade item on my birthday for the first time ever, and I sure did! I took this Lilou dress out for burgers & cocktails and felt very swishy indeed!

Here's a peek at the pattern:

As usual, Tilly's instructions and photographs in the book make sewing her patterns super simple. And considering this dress is last in the book (as the patterns progress in technique and difficulty), Lilou is perfect for beginners or sewists wanting to try bodice lining or inserting zips for the first time.

I did make a couple of very minor changes to the pattern. I'm loving gathered skirts right now, so I swapped the original pleated version for the self drafted gathered skirt option. A style which Tilly shows you how to draft earlier on in the book. I also extended the length so it sits at calf length. I find calf length far more practical for casual every day wear.

I love the contrast red lining with this gorgeous ditsy floral!

I wanted to create a simple, easy to sew, every day Summer dress. One I didn't have to be too precious with and one that would be nice dressed up or down. I chose an affordable polycotton with a lovely ditsy floral print and chose to use a contrasting cotton to line the bodice with.

I did find the fabric in the skirt a little see through, especially if the sun was out. So I'd make a lined skirt too when I make it again, but in the mean time I wear this one with a slip underneath to solve the problem.

The dress doesn't fit my torso as well as I would like. I think I must be short in the body, as I could do with taking out at least an inch at the shoulder seams. But that's something to alter next time as this doesn't make the dress unwearable, nor is it particularly noticeable. I'd also like to try the scalloped neckline version again, or maybe try a sweet heart neckline style.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: 'Lilou' Dress from Tilly and the Buttons 'Love at First Stitch' book

Fabric: 3m of ditsy floral polycotton - £2.99pm // 1m of red polycotton £2.99 - Minerva Crafts

Notions: 40cm black concealed zip - £1.59 - Minerva Crafts

Sewing time: Half a day

Modifications: Gathered and lengthened skirt

Fit: Okay. Need to shorten the straps for a better fitting bust.

Difficulty: Pretty simple if you know how to do a bodice lining & invisible zip.

Watch out for: Nothing too tricky here. The lining & zip insertions are both clearly explained.

Make again?: Yes, yes, yes!

Overall, this Lilou dress is exactly what I wanted to create. It's fast becoming my most worn item of clothing (not just from my handmade items) and have worn it for lunch out, chasing my dog in the garden and staying inside sewing when it's too muggy for anything else! I can't wait to make more.

Get the book:

Have you made Tilly's Lilou dress? What's your favourite pattern from her book?
Thanks for reading, pinups!

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  1. This is gorgeous!! Who doesn't love a twirly summer dress, and the red innards are great.