Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top

Well hello there! It has been some time since I posted (well it feels like it anyway!) so hope you haven’t missed me too much (!). I’ve missed having a project to share with you. My last make was my Christmas Megan dress  and since then life has been a bit busy so this top has been a ‘work in progress’ for some time! It feels great to have something finished and to write about it but more importantly have something new to wear!! I have also been knitting myself a top which I have  just finished (next blog post watch out!). I admit to have found it hard on the cold, dark nights to get my sewing out but instead the idea of curling up with my knitting has been much more attractive!

So another Tilly and the Buttons pattern for me – this time the close fitting jersey Agnes top. I do believe this is my 11th project by T&TB! Previous makes have been a Coco top, a Coco dress, a Francoise dress, a Delphine skirt, a Brigette scarf, a Clemence skirt, 2 Megan dresses (here and here) and 2 Bettine dresses (here and here). Phew! The phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!” springs to mind!

The lovely fabric I used is a light to medium weight viscose jersey from Guthrie and Ghani. It is made of 96% viscose and 4% spandex. I bought it a while ago with this top in mind but it appears to still be available.

Agnes top

Back view of Agnes top

I cut a size 3 but graded out to a size 4 at the waist. I also lengthened the top by 2″ by adding it onto the hem. I used my cutting mat and rotary blade cutter that I got for Christmas. Bring it on!! I loved this method to cut out fabric, especially jersey that tends to slip more. 

Cutting out agnes top

Using rotary cutter to cut out Agnes top pattern pieces

Using rotary cutter to cut Agnes top pattern pieces

Overall the top was quite straight forward to sew. It just took me a while as I did it in numerous sessions! My one challenge I had was to try and perfect my topstitching when sewing with jersey. I identified a few things to try whilst sewing my jersey Bettine. One of them was to use a stabilising tape called stay tape to help prevent stretching of horizontal seams. I learnt a lot from a really useful video tutorial on a blog post by Sew So Easy and basically experimented with different twin needles and the stay tape on some scraps until I was happy. The stay tape I used was a non fusible tape. I think I will try and find a fusible version as I am certain that would make it even easier. Also I’m not sure whether there is separate stay tape for knits and woven fabrics…if anyone knows about this then any further enlightenment on it would be appreciated! I used a 4.0 twin stretch needle. I tried with a ballpoint but the stretch one gave a better finish.

I was most pleased with the topstitching around the neckline but not so happy with the hems of the sleeves. Maybe I didn’t need the stay tape here – they just look a bit bulky (you can see this on the photos later in the post). I may try and unpick those bits and remove the stay tape.

Neckline topstitching on Agnes top

I have been wanting to have a go using Clover Wonder Clips as an alternative to pins having seen some reviews online and having bought a pack I decided to try them out. I used them when hemming the Agnes top so to hold in place the fold over of the hem and the stay tape within the hem. I thought they were brilliant! They were easy to open and clip on and the bottom of the clip is flat so runs nice and smoothly along the machine bed. I am definitely a convert! Love new additions to my sewing toolbox!

Using clover wonder clips on hem

Another  new technique was the ‘ruching’ at the shoulders. This was pretty cool. You sew a thin piece of elastic on tension into the sleeve and it gathers the material into the lovely ruching effect.

Rushed sleeves on Agnes top

Rushed sleeves on Agnes top

I bought both the stay tape and thin elastic from Sew Essential. I was looking for a few random items at the time and found their website to be very clear and easy to navigate. I have also since met a couple of ladies from Sew Essential at the SewBrum meet up last year who were lovely so will definitely be buying from there again.

So more work on my twin needle sewing with jersey is needed! I would definitely love to try one of the alternative versions of the Agnes top that has long sleeves and a ruched sweetheart neckline. I can see me making a few of these as they really are a wardrobe staple.

Would love to see anyone else’s versions of the Agnes top if you want to share.

Hopefully it won’t be as long until my next post.

Happy sewing!

Lorna x


  1. Lucy
    March 4, 2016

    Hi Lorna, love the top and love the fabric – the Agnes top is definitely on my ‘to sew’ list, even more so now I’ve seen yours! Thanks for the mention too, glad you liked the site (and us!) it was lovely to meet you too and I’ve got you on the list for the Sew Essential event so hopefully we’ll see you there too! I’ll be emailing everyone to confirm places very soon.

    • Lorna
      March 6, 2016

      Ah thanks Lucy. I will definitely be making a version without the ruched sleeves soon as they are great for layering. Look forward to seeing your version! ?

  2. Emily
    March 5, 2016

    I love this. Really nice fabric and beautifully made. Thanks for sharing. X

    • Lorna
      March 6, 2016

      Thanks Emily ? X

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