Tilly and the Buttons – Bertha

Sew… when I first saw Tilly’s new book “Make it Simple” I wasn’t sure whether it was for me or not. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan and if it wasn’t for “Love at First Stitch” I don’t know if I would have ever started sewing. However when I was at the Stitch Festival it was a really good opportunity to have a look through the sample rail and a few of the designs definitely caught my eye. I’ve been looking for a cropped cardigan so thought I would give Bertha a try.

Image from Tilly and the Buttons.

The book is full of simple and quick garments. There are approximate times on the cutting out and sewing times with each section of sewing broken down even further. Perfect if you can only squeeze in a small amount of sewing at a time.

Here’s how I got on:

Cutting Time 40 minutes – I would have definitely been on track to doing this within the 40 minutes, however after cutting out the front and back bodice pieces and making sure they pattern matched as much as possible I realised as I was about to cut out my sleeves that there was a directional print I completely forgot about! The back bodice was the only piece cut the right way and not having enough fabric to recut the front bodice pieces I recut the back so that everything is upside down. I don’t think it’s too obvious, what do you think? It did mean that I had to have a centre back seam and my waist band is made up of 4 pieces! If you manage to cut out everything the right way up then 40 minutes is what it will take you! I also managed to get it out of 1.5m not the 1.8m like the instructions suggest.

The total sewing time is 1 hour 35 minutes which is broken down into four sections. I did everything on the overlocker at a 5/8inch seam allowance.

Assembling the bodice and sleeves in 30 minutes – somehow I managed to wiz through this stage in 15 minutes.

Make and attach the hem band in 20 minutes – I had to piece my 4 bits together. Ideally I would have liked the cables to go horizontally but due to messing up the cutting out I had to do vertical stripes. I did however manage to get them to match up with the side and centre seams and it is kinda pattern matched but it doesn’t pattern match to the front and back bodices. Again I don’t think it’s that noticeable and it won’t stop me wearing it. This step took me 15 minutes.

The back.

Making and attaching the neckband in 25 minutes – this was a relatively straightforward step which took me 15 minutes. I did have to slightly stretch my neckband to meet at the waist which means it doesn’t lie perfectly flat but I’m sure a good steam will sort that out.

And the final step is making and attaching the cuffs in 20 minutes – my final step took me 30 minutes as after attaching the cuffs I decided to hand stitch in a label and for the anchoring stitches in step 3 I also hand stitched them.


So overall sewing time of 1 hour 15 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything so speedily. I think a lot of it was down to doing it all on the overlocker. I marked the 5/8 inch seam allowance on my machine and flew through the sewing. I will definitely be making a couple more as I love the casual cropped look.

Label from Runique.

I will be making a few alterations to my next versions. When it comes to sizing my measurements fell into size 7 but at the Stitch Festival I tired on the size 3 which fitted fine. When making this version I opted for a size 5 in the middle and I’m pretty pleased with the fit but I want to shorten the sleeves by about 2 inches and shorter the bodice by an inch.

Cable knit jersey from Sew Me Sunshine.

Worn with my second pair of my Helen’s Closet Yanta overalls, read about my first pair here, with a Tilly and the Buttons Coco tee hack. You can read about how I made the tee here.