News & Reviews

Blinkin’ Nora, it’s a Cracker! Sewing Pattern Review: Tilly and the Buttons Nora Top

Just exactly how many jumper patterns do you have in your collection? Personally, I have at least five that I can think of; Grainline Linden, Sew House Seven Toaster, Tilly and the Buttons Stella Hoodie, Nina Lee Southbank and now the Tilly and the Buttons Nora.  Living in the UK, you can never have too many jumper patterns. Even in the “summer” months the weather can still get a bit dicey so how pleased was I when Tilly and the Buttons released their Nora pattern?!

What I liked about this one in particular is you can make a jumper or a t-shirt, so there’s something for all weathers.  More often than not you can buy a sewing pattern for a variety of jumpers or a variety of t-shirts, but hardly ever both together so with Tilly’s new one, you definitely get your money’s worth.


Honestly, the most difficult part of making this garment is sewing the neckband onto the t-shirt, which can be tricky with any pattern. Even then, the only difficult (albeit, faffy) thing about it is making sure you cut the correct length of neckband in accordance with the weight of fabric you’re working with so it lays flat when it’s finished. It can be oh-so-tempting to just use the pattern piece length given but from past experience I guarantee you this; IT WILL DRIVE YOU ABSOLUTELY BONKERS IF YOUR FINISHED T-SHIRT DOES NOT LIE FLAT ABOUT YOUR PERSON!!! You will hold your shoulders in all sorts of strange positions to try and flatten the neckline, but it will not work. You will wear your t-shirt once or twice and then it will get filed in your “I-made-it-so-I-can-never-throw-it-away-but-I-will-never-wear-it-again” pile in your wardrobe.

I used a viscose jersey for this t-shirt which characteristically is a tricky little bleeder of a fabric and I firstly used the length of neckband as given in the pattern, which was waaaaaaay too baggy when I basted it on. I ended up trimming the neckband by around 2cm to get a good fit, which took a bit of time basting, unpicking, trimming, re-basting then finally sewing, but it was definitely worth it as I now have a t-shirt I will happily wear again and again.
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The overall style of the jumper and tee is “boxy”, which I have to admit, a lot of times is not my cup of tea. When you look at the finished garment measurements in the pattern, you will see that the bust, waist and hip measurements are exactly the same! A box, if ever I’ve seen one!! As with the Stevie Top/Tunic, I went a size smaller than I usually am to try and give it a little bit more shape, but I think when I make it again, I will go another size smaller for the waist and keep the bust and hip the same. I know this is probably taking away from the garment shape as intended by Tilly but I just feel a little less bleurgh when I’m wearing something with a bit of shape to it!

Style-wise, I would pair the jumper or the t-shirt with bottoms that are more fitted. If wearing with a skirt, the t-shirt will look nice with skirts of any length but I would definitely wear the jumper with a shorter skirt. My new motto is: “If you’re gonna go boxy on top, you’d better go goddamn sexy below”!!

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All-in-all, this is an excellent pattern if you don’t have much experience with stretch fabric as not a lot can go wrong with it. If you are a stretch newbie, I would always recommend you begin with a fabric that’s quite stable, such as a French Terry (like I used in my jumper above) or a Ponte Roma and then when you’ve mastered that, branch out onto something more stretchy, like a mediumweight cotton jersey, and then finally move onto a viscose jersey, which has uber-stretch and drape to it.

There are loads of variations to make with this pattern; long, short or elbow-length sleeves; high neck or neckband; cropped, stepped hem or long length and there is basically a version for any type of stretch fabric you have in your stash, so it is definitely a useful one to have and if you are yet to have a jumper pattern in your collection, this is an excellent one for getting you off the mark!

Products I Used…

Tilly and the Buttons Nora Top Sewing Pattern

John Louden Little Hearts (Grey) French Terry

Bethesda Viscose Jersey


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