Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress with collar and cuffs

Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress with collar and cuffsIt feels like a lifetime ago that I made my first ever dress using the Francoise pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, but when I was faced with a sizeable remnant of suiting fabric, this immediately sprung to mind. The Francoise dress has a classic sixties shape and is quite a simple pattern to put together, and paired with this collar and cuffs it is perfect for work. 


I bought 3m of stretch suiting fabric from John Lewis for £9 a metre, originally for the Sew Over It Camille Jumpsuit (as per the fabric recommendations for my size). After cutting out the jumpsuit I had quite a lot left over (happens a fair amount with SOI patterns I find). With between 1-1.5m I managed to cut out the dress and sleeve pieces of this dress, provided I worked with a smaller hem allowance. The fabric itself is incredibly easy to work with and I think this medium weight suiting works particularly well if you are looking to have enough structure to pull off the sixties flare in the skirt.
I used a viscose crepe from Sew Over It for the collar and cuffs. I didn't use a lot so this is excellent for using up leftovers from other projects. Unfortunately I forgot to interface the collar and I really regret this as it doesn't sit quite right so can only advise you to remember to interface!

Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress with collar and cuffs

Pattern and Instructions

This is a printed pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, which means that there are certain givens: it's easy to follow, there are very clear instructions with colour photographs, it is straightforward to put together. The printed pattern is beautifully packaged, with the pattern coming on really sturdy paper. I love how easily this pattern comes together...when I look back on my first Francoise (click here for a beginner's take!) I can see it was the first time I had used darts, and it was still uncomplicated then!
Previously I had made a sleeveless version. this version's sleeves are easy to put together and sew in. They caused no problems whatsoever and fit fine. This can easily be cut and sewn together in a day.

The pattern does come with an optional Peter Pan collar, which I used originally, but had to remove it in the end because it just didn't suit me. Instead I used the pattern pieces from the Sew Over It Alex shirt collar to combine with the Francoise and ended up with a shape that suited much better. I omitted the facing because it was starting to look quite bulky (probably not the done thing, but works better here at any rate).

I didn't use any pattern pieces for the cuffs: I measured the finished cuff circumference and used this to determine one edge of my cuff rectangle (plus seam allowance), then simply doubled over to a width that I liked the look of. I folded the rectangles in half (right sides together) and stitched the short edges before turning out. Then it was just a case of sewing these to the cuff hem, right sides together, and serging the raw edges together.

Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress with collar and cuffs


As on my first make, I needed to take out some of the top centre back seam, along with a little at the waist too. I also trimmed a little off the side seams near the bottom as the sixties swing was quite pronounced and a little too much for the professional work look I had in mind. I also had to sew a simple overlocked hem as there simply wasn't enough fabric for the double turned on in the pattern. I think this was a good choice anyway because the fabric is fairly thick.


I'm already getting a lot of wear from this, with many compliments at work so I'm pretty happy with it. Right now it's perfect with tights and boots and quite comfortable to wear (as in not too tight after all that festive food!). I will definitely be making another version in a different colour crepe or suiting. The only regret I have is that the collar wasn't interfaced so I'll certainly be doing that next time!

Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress with collar and cuffs


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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