Tilly and the Buttons - Indigo Smock Dress (new fave pattern?)

by - 12/15/2019

No fastening? Loose fit? Multiple style options? The Tilly and the Buttons 'Indigo' smock dress pattern has everything I'm looking for! This simple dress pattern went straight into the shopping basket as soon as it was released. The past couple of dresses I've made have been this loose fitting, babydoll smock style and this one might just be my favourite.

Here's a peek at the pattern:

You can see for yourself the potential of the pattern in the line drawing above. For this version I'm essentially making the bottom left dress. A full length sleeve with a gathered skirt. I haven't sewn pockets on this dress and have gone for the normal gathered skirt instead of the exposed one.

I hacked the skirt slightly as I added a smaller gathered tier to it. I did this by chopping the skirt pattern in half, then cutting an extra piece (eg. bottom tier skirt x 3). 

The fabric is a viscose, you know I can't walk past a ditsy floral on a black background!

Before I get into reviewing the pattern, I just want to quickly mention my photography set up. Since moving out of my parents two years ago, I no longer have my white backdrop set up which my parents forgivingly let me keep up in their dining room. I would take photos there and blog my makes once a week. But fast forward 2 years, that's pretty much impossible. But believe me I've tried! I did set up the backdrop in our flat's kitchen - the only place it would fit, but it's so big and such a faff, I quickly fell out of the habit of doing it.

Personally, I felt like my content suffered because I couldn't take photos how I used to and I've been in a real funk about it. But this is the first set of photos I've taken in our flat for outfit photos on my blog that I feel quite happy with. I know a busy background isn't ideal, but it's my home and I love the collection of stuff we have on our restored mid century ladderax. So going forward this will probably be how I take my snaps and I hope you like the change. 

Let's get into Indigo... 

Honestly there isn't too much to say! It's a simple to sew style, which I would definitely recommend to any beginners our there, so the sewing is nice and straight forward. There's no zip as the dress is pulled on over the head so there's nothing fiddly to contend with. I haven't yet made a version with the exposed gathered skirt, but I would like to. Most of my selfish sewing these days is quick and spontaneous and I know the visible gathers would require a little more concentration and time so I'm waiting for the right moment (and fabric!). 

I made one other version in October with the gathered sleeve tier. Have a snoop on that one HERE.

Fit wise, I have to watch out with a smock style. I'm 5"4 and pretty busty so I need to choose my fit carefully. I like to have the dress fit me snuggly on the bust and I keep the hem quite short. I think this balances me out. Alternatively you could add waist ties to pull you in at the waist if you want to or belt this dress.

Sewing Summary:

Fabric: Ditsy Floral Viscose - bought in store at Abakhan. Here's a couple of cute alternatives I've found online HERE, HERE & HERE.

Notions: None.

Sewing time: A couple of hours.

Modifications: I added a gathered tier to the skirt.

Fit: Good. Always tricky with a large bust making a garment with a loose waist as I can easily loose my figure in it. Keeping the size snug and the hem short help balance me out. 

Difficulty: Easy.

Watch out for: Even gathers on the skirt.

Make Again?: Yes! This is my second time making it and my pattern copy will probably get worn down very quickly. 


Hack ideas:

  • Add waist ties to the bodice to pull the loose fit in at the waist.
  • Add a tiered skirt (like me!)
  • Add patch pockets instead of in seam ones.
  • Add a Peter Pan collar, like I did on THIS dress.

Overall, Indigo is probably my new favourite sewing pattern. I know it's going to be my new go-to when I have a spare afternoon to sew. It's easy to sew and lazy to fit, my kind of sewing for sure!

I hope you enjoyed the post and found it helpful. I really would recommend it to beginners and beyond and think it's a really nice thing to make with lots of possibilities to make it your own. Again thanks for your patience and understanding with my struggle for blog photos!

Thanks for reading!
Abi xo

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  1. Your ladderax is giving me serious interiors envy! It looks amazing- nice job on the restoration (any more deets on how you did it would be interesting).