Sewing the Tilly and the Buttons Seren Sundress

Sewing the Tilly and the Buttons Seren Sundress

I honestly think this Seren sundress by Tilly and the Buttons in our cotton lawn fabric is my all time favourite summer dress. Multiple views, a definite retro vibe and a fit that feels elegant yet totally wearable it is a wardrobe winner.

Sewing Pattern and Fabric

The Seren sewing pattern has options for a knee length and a midi length dress with a flounce round the neckline of the bodice or without. There's also the option to create separates with a cute tie waist bodice and whichever length skirt you prefer.

It has a button down front, fitted bodice and an A-line/flared skirt, which skims over the hips and hangs beautifully.

Pattern and Fabric

The straps are wide enough and positioned well enough to hide your bra straps - how wonderful.

When I first saw it I wanted to make the flounce dress version, however, this cotton lawn walked into my life and I knew the plain bodice was it's perfect partner.

I love the bold colours, abstract print and the cool, breathable cotton lawn is perfect for summer. I'm hoping it has now arrived!

Tilly and the Buttons Seren Sundress View 1

Adjustment and Sizing

I cut a straight size three. Although my waist is 29" and the suggested waist for a size three was 28" I recently made the Ness skirt in a size three and it was a perfect fit so I thought I'd chance it.

I also made a basic toile of the bodice before cutting into my fabric so I could check the waist and I'm so glad I did. The bust was massive on me!

The pattern is for a 34" bust, which is what my measurements are, but it was way too big in this area. I often think my bust measures bigger than it is because I have protruding shoulder blades and therefore I'm thicker at the back so I'm sure it is more to do with my shape than the drafting of the pattern.

Adjustment and Sizing

I made a small bust adjustment removing about 1/2" of fullness and was really pleased with the resulting fit. You can see a tutorial on how to do this here.

It's also really important to wear the bra you will be wearing with the dress when making fitting alterations, especially in such a fitted bodice.

I graded back out at the waist to make sure I wasn't loosing any width where I needed it.


As always with Tilly patterns the construction was super simple. The bodice neckline was finished with a facing that extended down to the waist to create the button placket. The skirt placket was also created with a facing and the waistband included enough length for the placket there.

Inside View

When I first attached the waistband I found it didn't quite marry up properly with the bodice and the skirt and had to unpick it and do it again. The length was fine, but it was at a jaunty angle so it is worth taking care at this stage.

I overlocked the seams together since the cotton lawn isn't bulky.

I chose to sew a narrow hem by overlocking the raw edge then pressing the overlocked part up and stitching it in place. The pattern suggested a much deeper hem, but I thought a narrow hem would look better with the flared skirt.

Sewing a Narrow Hem

There are 14 buttons and buttonholes to sew on the Seren dress so I decided to make life easier for myself.

Firstly I used my Simflex sewing gauge to measure out the buttonholes and make sure they were evenly spaced.

Secondly I used basting tape to position the buttons and a button sewing foot (always refer to our compatibility charts and choose a foot compatible with your machine) to stitch them in place. I do love a bit of hand sewing, but there is a limit to how many buttons I want to sew!

Finally I used a Clover buttonhole cutting tool to avoid any mishaps with a seam ripper.

These couple of tips made sewing the buttons and buttonholes a breeze. In fact I'm not ashamed to say I really enjoyed myself!

Back View

Final Thoughts

I cannot tell you how great I feel in this dress. I don't know if it's the sunny yellow fabric or the glorious fit, but it makes me super happy.

Tilly and the Buttons Seren Sundress View 3

Shopping List

Have fun sewing!


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