Pattern Reviews · This 'n' That

Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top Polo Hack

Bonjour! I’m still laid up with my ruptured Achilles, so I can’t sew at the moment, however… here’s one I made earlier!


It’s the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top that I made into a polo neck (pre-injury). I’ve made the Agnes a few times before and I think it’s a fabulous pattern, with plenty of options to make each one different. I make it in a size 3 at the sleeves, waist, and hips, and grade it up to a size 4 at the bust.

The construction is really straightforward and the sleeves are very simple to insert, as there’s no easing; you just sew them in flat. As I’ve made it before I didn’t take any ‘work in progress’ pics this time, so, instead, here are some photos of one the first one I made last year, with some fabulous pink stripe jersey from Fabric Godmother, that I named my Bagpuss top…


Check out that stripe matching; it took a LOT of careful cutting and pinning!


I also had some fabric left over, so I made another one for my gorgeous niece, AKA Titch!


Anyway, back to my latest one… when I knew we had a French-themed exhibition coming up at our gallery, I naturally *had* to have a black and white stripe top for the preview day. I chose a lightweight, ribbed jersey fabric from Fabworks.  I decided I wanted it to be a polo neck, so I thought I’d have a go at hacking the faithful Agnes.


I traced my existing pattern, then compared the width of the shoulders and the height of the neckline on my Agnes pattern with a RTW polo neck and adjusted my pattern accordingly. Here you can see the original lines and how much I added:


Once I’d cut and joined the front and back pieces, and attached the sleeves as usual, I measured the opening of the neck hole and cut some fabric 15cm high, so it’d be 6cm high once folded in half and stitched on, and 25% shorter than the neck opening in length, as that’s how much I’d usually make a neckband on a stretchy jersey top. I then, stupidly (hindsight’s a wonderful thing!), plunged straight ahead and sewed the ends together, then attached it to the top… but when I tried it on it was far too tight – let’s just say breathing was impaired! So out came my seam ripper and I spent then next hour-and-a-half carefully unpicking all those teeny zigzag stitches… I *hate* unpicking jersey!

What I hadn’t considered was that this was a funnel neck, not a normal neckband, and I’d also forgotten to add the seam allowance back onto the length measurement. Argh! I re-measured, cut out a new piece of fabric at 15% shorter (+3cm seam allowance) and sewed the ends together, then I tried it on before sewing it to the top and hurrah, it fitted perfectly! Breathing was resumed! I quickly made a note on my pattern piece for future reference.


So that’s pretty much all there is to it. Here’s a photo taken at the exhibition preview. If you’d like to know about the exhibition by Kent artist Graham Clarke, visit (shameless plug alert!)


Pattern Reviews

Something to keep the other half happy, to prove it’s not all about me!

My husband has searched for many years for waistcoats but being 199 cm tall has never found one long enough in the body.

Some months ago, as we had an invitation to a wedding,  I used the opportunity to actually make one for him. I was impressed that he was quite keen on the idea and trusted me to make him something to wear.

At Christmas I made a practice waistcoat in an Avoca plaid fabric from Fabworks with a mustard crepe from Sew Over It. I chose the Mr London waistcoat pattern  from SewLaDiDa Vintage, a 1930’s inspired design. The only alterations I made to the pattern were to add 2 inches to the body length. It turned out to be an excellent fit.

The eagle eyed may notice the silly mistake, I sewed the buttonholes on the wrong side. Lesson learnt, it was only ever meant to be a practice toile, it was still wearable and smart.

We had a trip to Goldhawk Road to find suitable fabrics for the wedding outfit version. We chose a lovely blue wool suiting and grey blue silk, along with a sapphire blue lining fabric.  The result, a waistcoat the other half was proud to wear. He looked fabulous and I have had several requests for more waistcoats, that should keep me busy!


Rowan is my new Agnes

The Rowan pattern from Megan Nielsen was released a few weeks ago and after seeing it on The Foldline, I knew it had to be added to the sewing list.

Firstly, I have to say Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top has always been my go to pattern for jersey tops but this pattern comes with endless options, either as a bodysuit or t shirt with numerous necklines and sleeve lengths.  I should imagine the pattern could also be hacked, in the same way Agnes can, into a dress. So as a pattern, it’s great value.

I know you can get basic t shirts relatively cheap in ready to wear but frankly, where’s the fun in that!

Having already lived through bodysuit fashion of the nineties, I was a little apprehensive but thankfully  this pattern does not come with the horrendous high rise of that era.

I have already made 3 bodysuits;  one turtleneck long sleeve version and 2 short sleeve v neck versions. This was my first attempt at a v neck and the result is not too shabby, all credit to the excellent instructions.IMG_0447


Two fabrics came from Sew Over It and the third from Myfabrics. I felt that pink blush version is a little lightweight for this pattern and so I think I’ll stick to more medium weight jerseys for future makes, of which I know they’ll be many.

The bodysuit is great to wear with high waisted skirts and trousers. It’s a quick and easy make, that takes very little fabric, I think I managed to make these at just over a metre of fabric. Size wise, the pattern is true to my measurements and I found the v neck to be the perfect depth. The turtle neck is a good neat height but definitely needs a more robust knit than this lightweight jersey.IMG_0454