Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater three ways

Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater pattern review

I've had a bit of a binge on this one pattern lately, and all in this dark red colour too! It all started with the intention to make a cosy sweater dress. Some bad luck later (more to come on that) I had one sweater and ideas for the other 1.5m length of knit fabric in the stash. I have a definite favourite to wear, mainly because of the fabric, but love all three styles.


I bought 1.5m of modal French terry fabric from Fabric Godmother for £17pm, intending to make a sweater dress. It's a very soft fabric as well as being cosy. I was concerned that it might have too much drape for the kind of dress I had in mind but it would have been fine for the job. It's really nice and easy to sew with but really it's the feel of it to wear that makes it stand out. It looks smart enough to wear for work but definitely falls into secret pyjama territory! As a French terry it's lighter than a sweatshirting fabric, but a little bit thicker than regular jersey or ponte. It's plenty warm enough and before I would only have thought of this fabric for hoodies, but you could get tops and dresses out of it quite easily.

Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater pattern review

At pretty much the same time I also bought 1.5m of John Kaldor Isabella wool jersey from Sew Essential for £13.80 pm. I had wanted to give this fabric a go for a while as Lucy from Sew Essential uses it for lots of tops and always has good things to say about it. It's a lot thinner than the modal French terry, and is much more similar to viscose jersey, with plenty of drape. It would be suitable for a dress like the Mayfair dress or patterns that use a lot of gathering or layers. It's perfect for tops as well. You can probably see that mine have held some creases whilst wearing, which long time readers know is a pet peeve of mine. However, the jury is still out for me on this fabric. I need to wear it more to establish if it's going to be too itchy to wear though...there is a definite prickle from the wool content on the neck. I think it will be okay, but out of the two fabrics, I prefer to wear the other. 1.5m was enough for both tops in a size 4.

Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater pattern review

Pattern and Instructions

This pattern is found in Tilly and the Buttons' book 'Stretch! Make yourself comfortable sewing with knit fabrics' (RRP £25). In the book you get six sewing patterns that also have further variations (for example, the Freya sweater is also available as a dress). This is a great book if you are new to sewing knit fabrics as it tells you everything you need to know to be successful with this, whether you have an overlocker or sewing machine. The patterns themselves are simple and go together brilliantly.

This pattern has a mock turtleneck and different sleeve lengths available. In the book you get the pattern printed on paper in the back, but it does need to be traced off as they are multi-pattern sheets. 
I've made a Freya tee and dress already  so do check out those posts for other ideas on how you can make up this easy to follow and quick to sew pattern.


It is quick - I made both the John Kaldor tops in an afternoon.


Quite a few!

For the French terry sweater:
I started off making the dress as per the pattern, and tried it on just before sewing the hem. Due to the colour of the fabric and the turtleneck, I really did look like an extra from Star Trek. Alterations were immediately needed! I took off the neckband and reattached it as half its width, which worked a lot better. I was having issues with pointy shoulders so tried to take the sleeves off and put them back on a little further in again but ended up doing this too much, to the point where it was never going to fit. I think part of this was due to using an overlocker, so avoided this next time.
Left with a disaster dress, I tried to salvage what I could from the fabric in the dress and my small leftovers. From these I managed to get enough fabric to start over again as a sweater. I did the same neckline alteration and used a regular machine for sewing and this worked out much better. I didn't have enough fabric for the length of the sleeves as they are in the pattern, but am happy with where they sit currently.

TIlly and the Buttons Freya sweater three ways

For the slash neck version:
This is made almost exactly to the pattern with a slight alteration at the waist, where I didn't quite follow the curve to give a little more ease at the waist. The main alteration (obviously) is the neckline. Here, instead of tracing the rounded neckline as per the pattern, I stopped 2cm short of where the shoulder should meet the neck and cut straight across horizontally to the middle. I turned this under and topstitched it in place with a zig zag before fixing the back and front bodice pieces together.

Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater three ways

For the short sleeved version:
None really - I think the sleeves may be a bit shorter than the pattern because that's all the fabric I had left!


Clearly I'm a fan of this pattern - it's a good staple and makes a change from Seamwork Astoria sweaters for me! It requires less adaptation and has a higher neckline, which I prefer at the moment. I had tried making it once before in a fine ribbed black knit fabric from Minerva which I had to abandon because I kept attaching the sleeves back to front. I'd still love to make it in this fabric as I think it would look great in short sleeves.

Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater three ways
I would definitely recommend this pattern and the book for home seamstresses, especially beginners. 



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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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