Saturday 10 May 2014

Love At First Stitch

In case you haven't noticed, Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes was published this week!!!! Hoorah, hoorah, HOORAH!! To celebrate, Love Sewing magazine has organised a week-long blog tour, with the book being reviewed each day by a different sewing blogger. Today it's ME!!! So sit back and enjoy!

Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes, published by Quadrille
Since the first announcement, I've been counting the days until this book has been published. Mostly because it's written by my friend and fellow blogger Tilly and I'm so ridiculously proud of her I could burst, but also because this book contains actual PATTERNS!! Now I've reviewed two beautiful Quadrille books in the past (here and here) and both times the lack of patterns has been a real disappointment to me. This time there are full scale patterns included for five garments from the book, all multi-sized and printed on sturdy paper. You will need to trace them off as they're printed on both sides, but this is very easy to do, nothing at all like the horror of a Burda magazine or a Japanese pattern book.  I personally think the inclusion of patterns makes a massive difference to the reader, so thank you Quadrille Publishing!

Right, on with the book review…. The one thing that comes across clearly in Love at First Stitch is that making your own clothes is something that anybody can learn to do, you just have to start slowly and simply. The book starts with instructions for making the simplest project (the Brigitte scarf), followed by PJ bottoms and an A-line skirt. Then, as you increase your skills, you move on to more ambitious projects - a simple dress, a gathered skirt (there is no pattern for this, Tilly shows you how to draft your own!), a button through blouse with collar and a fully lined dress.

Learn how to draft your own Clemence Skirt!

There isn't a separate techniques section - techniques are explained as and when you need to tackle them throughout the book. So the first few projects incorporate all the basic techniques such as threading a machine, sewing and finishing seams etc. Additional techniques like inserting zips, setting in sleeves and adding facings are then covered within the next few projects. Once you've gained a bit of confidence, the projects get slightly more ambitious and include making buttonholes, lining a dress and piping seams.

All the projects are achievable - there are no quirky design features to catch you out, they're just well drafted, with classic, flattering lines. The book also includes three simple variations of each pattern, so you can make them again and again, putting your own personal stamp on them each time. I personally think the simple, elegant pattern designs are to die for and would like to make every single garment in the book (seriously - just watch me!)

Delphine skirt variation with buttons 

Megan Dress colour block variation with placket
I tested two patterns from the book in the planning stages: the Delphine skirt and the Megan dress (which I'll be reviewing in future posts) and the Brigitte headscarf which I made last week. As you would expect, if you've used a Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern, the instructions are excellent and very clearly explained. There are plenty of tips dotted throughout each project and virtually every single step is accompanied by full colour photography. Tilly is really on a mission to get everybody sewing and she's gone to great lengths to make the projects in her book achievable for everybody. Take it from me, there is no way you can go wrong! 

I think it's also worth mentioning the 'Make it a Lifestyle' sections, which pop up in each chapter. In these, Tilly talks about ways in which you can make sewing part of your everyday life. These include fabric shopping, planning a sewing space, designing your own clothes and finding time for sewing.

I found these sections particularly well written and fascinating to read. Tilly and the Buttons has been a hugely popular blog for a number of years, and I think one of the reasons it's so popular is that she's an engaging and witty writer. This really does come across strongly, not just in these sections, but throughout the entire book. It made me want to actually sit down and read it rather than simply use it as a reference book.

Whether you're a total beginner or an experienced dressmaker, I think you'll find Love at First Stitch a very inspiring book. I don't class myself as a beginner any longer and I definitely find it inspiring. Just think, there's an entire super-stylish wardrobe up for grabs and you can make it your own if you really want to! Congratulations Tilly, this is a wonderful book that anybody who loves sewing should have on their bookshelf.

If you'd like to get your mitts on a copy of Love at First Stitch, it's available to buy from Amazonor you can buy a signed copy from Tilly's online shop. Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour too. x

Monday 5th May         Love Sewing
Tuesday 6th May        House of Pinheiro
Wednesday 7th May    Did You Make That?
Thursday 8th May       What Katie Sews
Friday 9th May           A Stitching Odyssey
Saturday 10th May      Handmade Jane
Sunday 11th May        Lazy Stitching

A copy of Love at First Stitch was given to me free of charge for review. All views my own.


  1. Aagh! Every review on this blogging tour has got me wanting the book EVEN MORE! great post :)

    1. Go and buy it! You won't regret it! x

  2. I'm not a dressmaker, but I can see that this is a great book with all of the information and details and patterns included, it must be very frustrating to have a book telling you how to make something and not having a pattern to use. Congratulations to your friend on her publishing venture! xx

    1. You're right, it is very frustrating! So having the patterns in your hand is wonderful, it makes a real difference. Thanks! x

  3. What sizes do the patterns come in?

  4. The patterns come in eight sizes, there's a sizing chart here:
    To give you a rough idea, bust sizes are from 30-44 inches, waist 24-38 and hips 33-47. Hope that helps. X

  5. It looks like a really great book. Congrats on being featured!

  6. Got my copy yesterday and just finished reading it! Desperately need to go fabric shopping for the Megan dress but just found the perfect fabric for a clemence skirt in my stash, guess what I'm doing tomorrow!

    1. Yay! Can't wait to see it, will be interested to hear how easy the Clemence skirt is to draft - looks straight forward, so good luck! x

  7. I agree, the patterns are simply gorgeous and so wearable. I'm not a beginner but I'm getting a copy as the designs are so lovely and I want to make everything. I like how Tilly's sense of style comes through in the book too.

  8. Hi - just came across this blogpost. Is this book suitable for a beginner 14 year old? I'd like to get something like this for my niece for Christmas.

    1. Hi, yes I'd say it would be perfect for a 14 year old beginner. She can start off with the easy projects (headscarf, PJ bottoms) and build up her skills as she goes along. Great idea for a present, I hope she likes it! x



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