Pattern Testing: Francoise Dress - Tilly and the Buttons


I'm sure you're well aware of the buzz surrounding Tilly and the Buttons' latest offering - the  rather awesome Francoise Dress! If you're wondering exactly why my face looks so smug below, there are three reasons: 
  1. I got to test Francoise.
  2. Along the way, I discovered I can pull off a shift dress.
  3. My fabric choice makes me stupidly happy.



Unlike many shift dresses, Francoise is shaped at the waist by bold, French darts, which eliminate the 'sack-factor' for busty gals like me! To get the perfect fit for my shape, I graded between 3 sizes. I cut a size 3 for the neckline, collar and armholes, a size 4 from the armhole to the waist, and a size 5 from the hips to the hem. This was a winning combination for me, giving me a snug fit where I need it, but allowing enough room for my hips (read muffin tops) and booty!



We've all come to expect the highest of standards from Tilly and the Buttons instructions, and Francoise doesn't disappoint. With Tilly holding your hand you feel invincible, even during the slightly trickier steps. In fact, one of the things I love about this pattern is that it has slightly trickier steps. You can make Francoise as simple or as challenging as you wish.




What makes me super-duper happy about my Francoise Dress is the linen fabric I found in my stash. Isn't the print all kinds of amazing? I love how autumnal it is, yet I'm still excited about wearing it in warmer weather.

There is one thing that bugs me about this make though, and I'm so angry at myself, because it's pretty perfect otherwise. I was so hung up on matching the pattern at the back and side seams (in which I was victorious!) that I stupidly didn't even think of the centre front. As a consequence, my pattern placement (or lack of) makes my collar look off-centre, but I promise you it's not! It's such an annoying oversight on my part, but hey ho!



I'm genuinely taken with Francoise and can't wait to rustle up a three-quarter length sleeve version or two. If you like what you see, make sure you get creative with your Francoise and enter the contest of a lifetime for the chance to win a £500 sewing machine or a £100 fabric voucher!

80 comments:

  1. I absolutely love your dress! -awestruck. I also assumed that I couldn't pull off a shift dress, being busty, and passed on the dress. Thank you for showing the possibilities!

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    1. Thanks so much Lisa and I implore you to try Francoise if you have a similar shape to me, she really works!!!

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  2. Looks great and I actually didn't realise it was off centre until you pointed it out, so I wouldn't worry about that if I were you :0

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  3. What a beautiful dress and fabric! You look gorgeous! The way you placed the print with darker stripe in the waist is very slimming.
    I didn't even notice the print looking slightly off-center below the collar until you pointed it out.
    May I ask how much fabric did you use for this version?

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    1. Totally agree with you Tatiana, the fabric choice and the placement is everthing!
      Great post!

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    2. Thanks so much both! Tatiana, I think I used less that 2m for this...maybe 1.5m...but I did have very wide fabric!

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  4. This is such a great print! You find the best fabrics!

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    1. Haha, thanks Evie...I'm obsessed with fabric ;o)

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  5. That fabric is BLOWING my mind right now. Gah, the whole dress looks amazing! Love it!

    If it helps, I don't think the collar looks off-center at all. Even when I went back and re-lurked the pictures after you mentioned it :)

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    1. Thanks so much Lauren, I can totally see you rocking a print/dress just like this!

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  6. Fabulous fabric, goes so well with those gorgeous shoes too. I want a francoise!

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    1. Thanks! You can have your very own Francoise ;o)

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  7. Really pretty dress! The fabric is stunning and good colors for you. Looks great and fits perfectly. I could not tell that collar is off center; the fabric draws the eyes to the dress not to the collar.

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  8. There's this designer that I've been loving her awesome print dresses- Maggie London. This dress totally reminds me of her style and I LOVE THAT PRINT! Sooooo classy and fun :-D

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    1. Thanks for introducing me to a new-to-me designer Nicola...and for your very kind words!

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  9. Love this fabric! And I really want to get a copy of Francoise in my life!

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    1. You totally should do it, you won't regret it ;o)

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  10. Now this dress has great shape and suits you to a tee. Love your fabric choice!!

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  11. Ditto Lauren!!! The fabric is crazy awesome, and I'd be a little stupid happy if I found that in my stash too! And I do NOT see the collar as being off-center either! Really, the pattern placement if amazing. I really love how the darkest part of the print hits at the waist! I'm trying not to gush, or drool....but, this dress is fabulous! And the shoes couldn't be more perfect! You're gorgeous!

    One last thing! Your make is an example of why I stalk sewing blogs! Seeing Francoise made up with the shape tweaks that you've made for yourself gives me a whole new, positive perspective on this pattern! Thanks bunches!

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    1. Oh Sue, you're so lovely! I'm so pleased you like my Francoise and that my version has made you think twice about the pattern! Inspiration is exacty why I follow sewing blogs too!

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  12. That fabric choice make ME stupidly happy and I don't even get to wear it. :). Awesome job!

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  13. The dress looks amazing on you!
    I ordered the pattern yesterday so was really excited when I woke up this morning and saw yours.
    I, like the others never noticed the collar looking off centre. 😀

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    1. Thank you Kelly, have you made yours up yet?

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  14. Your dress looks amazing and I didn't notice the collar looks off-centre at all.

    I really like the overall finished look of this dress and I will now consider making it, however, I would never have considered making this pattern based on the line drawings found on the pattern envelop.

    That's all for now, Nancy (buckscottageservices@yahoo.ca)

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    1. So pleased that my version has made you consider making the pattern!

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  15. I love that fabric! And love the way you placed the colours along the dress :-)

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    1. Thank you...a lot of head-scratching went into my pattern/colour placement :o)

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  16. It's a great dress... I Love it! And am looking forward to time at the machine to try this awsome pattern my self

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  17. Wowee. I didn't think I wanted this dress pattern, and now I need it! Dammit! I love the way you have placed that amazing pattern. It's brilliant.

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    1. Haha, always happy to be a pattern temptress Rosie ;o)

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  18. Oh my god, this is so fantastic! Your timing couldn't have been better, as I just ordered this pattern yesterday - and now I feel totally inspired. That fabric choice is epic and the sewing looks top notch. I never would have noticed anything around pattern placement around the collar, so you definitely need to stop beating yourself up about that. What a truly fantastic make!

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    1. Thanks Karen, I needed some smart talking to about the collar area ;o) Can't wait to see your Francoise, I think you'll be a match made in heaven!

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  19. The pattern is great and you did a wonderful version. Tha fabric choose and the finished item... everything perfect!

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  20. Love the psychedelic fabric. Great choice and the dress looks amazing on you. Your shoes are lovely too.

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  21. Gorgeous! This style suits you so well, and that fabric is fantastic. Like the other comments, I totally didn't notice the off-center print placement and didn't think the collar looked off-center - so don't be worrying about it!
    Oh, and how PERFECT are your shoes with this dress?!!! Like they were made for it!

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    1. Was just logging in to say the same thing! The dress really suits you but I looooooove the shoes.

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    2. Haha, thanks both...the shoes are proving more popular than the dress ;o)

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  22. Wow, now I am convinced that I'll buy Françoise pattern! Your fabric fits you so well. A beautiful dress, and your eyeliner just compeletes this style perfectly Marie :)

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    1. Aaaw, thank you Begum! You'll love Francoise, I'm sure!

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  23. Ack! This is lovely!! So flattering on you! I love those long french darts, what a lovely feature! I might just have to make this little dude up - I'm pretty smitten with the awesome late 60's shape and vibe I'm getting from this!

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    1. Thanks heaps Sallie, you'll look ace in this little dude!

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  24. This is gorgeous!! And the fabric is amazing, right up my street. I'm another person who didn't notice the front pattern placement until you mentioned it. I've always by passed shift dresses too because of the bustiness factor, so thank you for showing that this pattern works.

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    1. Thanks Lynne! I'm exactly the same re the bustiness factor, but the French darts make all the difference!

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  25. Eeee Marie this is so fab on you! As soon as I saw the pattern released I secretly hoped that you had tested or planned to sew one up soon. I know it's kind of a departure from your usual shape but it's really fetching and very flattering on you! I love the collar with the sleeveless version with such a bold print. You have every right to be as smug as you want to! :D (and p.s. also yes, those shoooooes!)

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    1. Oh Tasha, how lovely are you?!? Thanks for thinking/wondering about me and I'm glad I did your vision justice!

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  26. I love this on you! The print is FABULOUS!!!

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  27. It's absolutely gorgeous Marie, you've made the style totally your own. And the finish is so professional too, fab! x

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    1. Thanks so much Jane, as you know, the pattern's a joy to sew up!

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  28. I'm in awe of this dress! The print and pattern are so perfect together. like the best part of 60s in one dress!

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    1. Haha, yes...I like your description!

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  29. Stunning! SSB https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

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  30. Great dress! I bought this pattern earlier today, but now I can see it was a good decision! Thank you for reviewing!

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    1. You're most welcome Agnes, hope you love making it as much as I did ;o)

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  31. Love this print! And the dress is fabulous on you!
    Like other comments, I didn't notice the off-center print placement just you mentioned it :)

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  32. love the linen fabric from your stash - def my colour pallette of choice - looks great

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    1. I'm liking how it's autumnal, but that I can still bright/fun enough for warmer weather!

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  33. I LOVE your fabric! Such a great pairing. I too love the dark stripe around the waist. Brilliant! ~Teri

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  34. A-Mazing! Tilly should be thanking you for being The Francoise Ambassador! This will be the dress that launches a thousand dresses!

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    1. Hehe, thanks for the kind words...reading this has made my day!

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  35. Wow, this is amazing! I ordered one on Thursday and I can't wait for it to arrive!!

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  36. Well, I really like your dress. I think you have chosen the right fabric. Maybe I should give Fraçoise a try!

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  37. I love it when I experiment with new shapes and discover they work for me! This is a great dress and you look beautiful in it! I really think the fabric makes it. It's a fantastic print.

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I guess that's half the fun of sewing ;o)

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