Tilly & the Buttons 'Martha' - Round 2 with added designer inspired hack!

by - 12/29/2020


The Tilly and the Buttons 'Martha' dress pattern is aesthetically one of my all time favourite sewing patterns. It was one of the first sewing patterns I got a real buzz about when it was released and I whipped up my first version pretty sharpish. In hindsight it's a hot mess, and you can see it in my old blog post HERE - although it'd be great if you could save me the cringe and ignore it...

Here's a look at the pattern:


Ever since my first, I've wanted another crack at it. Mainly because my first was not very well made and hasn't stood the test of time. I don't think I did any stay stitching because I'm lazy and I think my seam allowance was off, so the resulting fit was a bit wonky to say the least. The 1960s style of the dress is something I've never fallen out of love with and every year since, I've said 'this will be the year I try it again'. The time has finally come, and it's only taken getting engaged to get my act together!



Basically, Martha is on my potential wedding dress sewing pattern list. Not only that, but it's a style that's cropped up a lot recently with some of my favourite designers e.g. O Pioneers, Vampires Wife & Batsheva So I needed to get back to it and see what this pattern could actually do for me when I act like a good sewist and make it carefully.

I'm so proud of this Martha dress. I really took my time with it (so. much. stay stitching) and my sewing has improved so much since the first. The invisible zip is actually invisible and there's no bump at the bottom and it closes neatly at the top. 



I'd spotted THIS collar online and really liked how it looked and thought it would work perfectly with Martha. Now as you might have guessed, I don't have the greatest patience and didn't meticulously plan this collar out by any stretch of the imagination. 

It was all a bit of a happy accident. I had a length of my fabric leftover so cut a strip I thought looked like a good width to be folded over. Then I sewed either short edges like the usual Martha collar, then on my machine, by eye, I folded pleats as I sewed. Now by some strange miracle the finished pleated collar fitted pretty perfectly. Not all the pleats are perfectly even but who cares! So apologies if you wanted a tutorial, it was a fluke!



My only slightly questionable sewing moment is the dress hem. I let the dress hang for two days before hemming and it dropped quite a bit (as I expected). I knew I wanted to shorten the dress to make it a mini on me anyway so I was always going to chop a fair bit off. But by the time I came to chopping I think I had lost my previous patience with it and it's probably a bit rougher than I'd like. But unless someone grabs me by the hem and inspects the inside, no one will see the occasional tuck...

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons 'Martha' Pattern

Fabric: Green floral viscose crepe - watch THIS vlog for a discount code!

Notions: Invisible zip and a button.

Sewing time: Made over a couple of days. Hem needs to drop.

Modifications: Made slightly shorter.

Fit: Great! Could do with a little extra on the bust if I'm being picky.

Difficulty: Intermediate, but simple when broken down.

Watch out for: Make sure to stay stitch, it really does make a difference.

Make Again?: Yes. This pattern is a favourite of mine, it just takes a little longer to sew but it's worth it and I would love to make more. 



The fit of this dress is pretty great for no adjustments and I'm really happy with it. However I would add an extra 1cm to the bust princess seams for a little extra room if I were to make this again. You could spend hours making stuff fit to perfection, but that's really not me so if it's on my body and I'm comfy, that's all I need!


So a potential wedding dress pattern? Absolutely! I think this would make a hella cute 60s style wedding dress. I'm still figuring out what style I want and have a few more patterns to try. But I'm so pleased I finally found time to make Martha again. It's one of my favourite makes ever and this dress is so 'me'. 


Thanks for reading,
Abi xo

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