I made the new Tilly and the Buttons Lyra dress… and these are my thoughts…

I loved this pattern as soon as I saw a picture of it and quickly ordered some for my shop. I love the 1970’s style of the Lyra. The longer (midi) version feels very boho and the shorter/knee length version looks very cute and with the right fabric I think you can really create a contemporary version or one with some subtle or not so subtle Seventies references. I’m thinking chambray… needlecord… bold floral cottons and large statement geometric prints. I also love that you can use a very current fabric, similar to those that Tilly has used for the samples such as a plain turquois or the Artisan Splash Cotton Lawn. I can’t stop thinking about 1970’s colours… greens, ochre, orange, yellows, denim blue and red. I stock the Artisan Splash featured in the Tilly sample and a similar one that is on its way and  will be uploaded to the website as soon as it has been received here.

For my version I had some of the Oriental Garden from the See You at Six Winter 2020 Collection, which I had squirreled away to make a maxi dress… but hadn’t quite identified the right pattern. I love the Wildergown, but only on other people! I’m not sure I love the version of the Wildergown I’ve made and will modify my version at some point.

A neighbour on my Road who has a good eye for nice clothes and fabrics recently showed me her original maxi dress and this definitely inspired me, particularly with the colours. and she may let me share a photo. Oriental Garden is a lovely drapey viscose, with similar colours. When I was cutting the rectangles for the skirt pieces, I could have quite easily hung them on the wall as a picture – the detail is beautiful. Any fabric which features birds usually catches my eye.

I was quite nervous about sewing with the fabric as it is quite fine… so I took my time and carefully read the instructions and didn’t just look at the pictures in the instruction, which is a bad habit I’ve picked up. I’m a Town Planner, so just reading the drawings is a hard habit to break. I finished some of the seams prior to putting it together to help stabilise the fabric and followed the instructions carefully on which pieces to stay-stitch. For the collar and collar stand you will also be cutting one of each on the bias. Collars and stands can be daunting… this is my 2nd attempt at a collar and stand, but it’s worked out ok and the instructions are very good. I notice TATB has some extra instructions on her website to help. I’m a huge fan of TATB patterns, she makes sewing very accessible to beginners and more advanced makers and the nod to vintage style is always welcomed.

For the buttons… I used some vintage beauties which I had in my stash. I’m a collector of Vintage Sewing & Knitting stuff (basically anything that is well designed), we live near to Newark which is a great place to source antiques and there are a few really good fairs which are held locally and attract visitors worldwide. I’ve put a picture of a 1970 edition of Stylecraft in my pics…. I long to own the outfit the cover model is wearing.

I made a standard size 3 (UK 10) Lyra and didn’t make any alterations. Tilly is usually a good fit for me. I am however 5’3” so for me, my Lyra looks more Maxi than Midi. I welcomed this, but equally the skirt pattern pieces are a series of rectangles, so shouldn’t be difficult to shorter or lengthen. I love the shirt top and the full sleeves are finished with elastic, which I think is also quite authentically Seventies and gives the sleeves some volume. The Lyra lives up to the description of being comfortable to wear. The Lyra pattern is also available in an extended Size Range via PDF. The paper version (which I stock) contains Sizes 1-10.

A little jacket is now required for my Lyra (hint to Tilly and the Buttons…. would love you to design a little cropped jacket to go with our Lyra & Lotta Dresses 🥰) & I think I’ll go for the Corduroy from the SYAS Winter Collection. I might go for the Coco Jacket by SOI. At the time of writing, I have a small quantity of the Dusan Brown Corduroy left, from the Winter Collection.

I’ve also recently sourced some fabrics which I think are either great for Spring or to reinforce some 1970’s Vibes, some of which have already been uploaded to the website and some are due to land any day. I hope you all like them. They include this stunning Pastel Reminiscence, which is a fab repeat print which is very Seventies in feel, but using contemporary pastel colours (pink, yellows, blues, green). It’s a lovely Cotton Lawn, which is a great fabric to glide from Spring into Summer.

Wildstyle would also make a great Lyra. This is Pure Lawn fabric, which is cotton but more fluid/drapey, which  is more similar to a Viscose. I also stock a couple of Chambray fabrics… if you’re thinking of a plain version maybe with some hand embroidery or using the decorative stitches on your machine.

I also thought the Atelier Brunette Viscose fabric would be stunning if you want to achieve a drapey look… particularly for the Midi-version. Shade and Canopy, particularly in Ochre really feel like they give a nod to the Seventies…. albeit in a luxurious, chic and elegant way, that Atelier Brunette achieve so perfectly. Atelier Brunette Plains are also ideal… maybe a knockout Tangerine version. Or maybe a beautiful Needlecord version from the Kate Rhees fabric collection, such as Blooming Vines.

Overall I love the new Lyra and very excited to see the different versions everyone makes . Albeit these will no doubt make me want to make 12 more! I hope I’ve managed to capture some 1970’s vibes in my version of the Lyra… albeit these photos are very 2021 (I have roots, I’ve cut my own fringe and I’ve been working from home all day!). The Sewing Bee returns tonight and I’m pleased to have provided a prize for the Sewing Bee Style challenge hosted by @sewistandthecity on Instagram.

Thanks for reading 🧵✂

Rachael x