Tag Archives: Tilly and the Buttons

The story of the Rosa Shirt Dress – Tilly and the Buttons

I finally finished my Rosa Shirt Dress from Tilly and the Buttons. Pfft, that was a long-term project. I started it the beginning of December 2016. In fact, I thought my first blog post would be about it. More, I wrote it already in my head: “My first shirt dress, my first Tilly and the Buttons pattern and my first blog post”. Little I did know…Rosa shirt dress - Tilly and the Buttons

The chorus line fabric

The fabric is a 100% viscose I bought in Paris, at Sacrés Coupons, last September 2016. I immediately fell in love with the design. It reminded me of the girls in the chorus lines of films from Busby Berkeley, which I adore.

a chorus line

Rosa shirt dress - Tilly and the Buttons

Beautiful this fabric may be, it is a real burden to work with. Viscose fabric can’t lay still on your table. So I had to cut out every piece on a single layer. To match the fabric lines I used the fabric piece to cut out its twin. It took forever!! (Having to cut on the garden table in our holiday house didn’t help either.)

The Rosa Shirt Dress Pattern
This is the first pattern I sewed from Tilly and the Buttons and it was a very satisfying experience. I bought the paper version of the pattern. It came in a nice envelope with pattern and instruction booklet. I chose the dress because of the flattering semi-fitted shape caused by the curved princess seams.
Based on my measures I cut out a straight 7. Being a #sewingtall girl I lengthened the bodice with 3,5cm and the hem with 5 cm. Here I did something stupid. To lengthen the pattern I used leftovers from the pattern paper but I didn’t notice I used my, already cut, collar pattern piece. Luckily Tilly sent me the pdf pattern to replace the lost collar. What a great service!
Next time I will lengthen it more as it came out on the short side.

Rosa shirt dress - Tilly and the Buttons

The sewing process

The instructions in the booklet are detailed and illustrated with clear photos. So it was not difficult except I didn’t get my tension right for the topstitching. (Another struggle in this project). I put some golden piping on the front yoke. Then I got a case of sewing block and didn’t work on it for four months.

Rosa shirt dress - Tilly and the Buttons

Because of the Sew together a shirt dress for Summer challenge the sewing community is currently buzzing with all kind of info about sewing a shirt dress. That gave me desire to finish my Rosa. With a stretch needle, a walking foot, new thread and a deep breath it worked out. Also very helpful were the tips and tricks about buttonholes and collars, posted by the #sewtoghetherforsummer team.
As I am not fond of rolled-up sleeves with tabs I finished them with a small elastic.

Is this a quick sew?

No, the Rosa Shirt dress isn’t a quick sew. Not only because of my struggles but also because there is a lot of stitching to do: the princess seams, the yokes, the piping, the topstitching. Plus, the construction of the collar and buttonholes takes time. It is not that difficult though when you follow the instructions.

Rosa shirt dress - Tilly and the Buttons

Rosa shirt dress - Tilly and the Buttons


Sewing the Rosa Shirt dress was quite a chore—due to the briskness of the fabric—but I am glad I sewed it. I’m wearing it for two days now and it’s been an absolute pleasure. More, I love that it is a shirt dress. Will I sew another? A shirt dress, yes.  Will it be a Rosa? I don’t know yet because first I would like to tackle the Carolyn Pajamas dress.

Rosa shirt dress - Tilly and the Buttons
Rosa or Calamity Jane?