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Monday, 21 March 2016

Thinking of Spring - the Bettine dress

So yesterday was officially the first day of Spring and I finished my latest project, the definitely Spring-like Bettine dress from Tilly and the Buttons, last night.  While I saw some daffodils on a trip to the park yesterday afternoon, there is still a chill in the air that requires a winter coat in the mornings.  I wanted to make a casual dress that could be worn with my 70-denier opaques now, and (hopefully) with sandals when the weather is warmer.

I bought the Bettine pattern from Tilly at the Handmade Fair back in September, and I made a version soon after using some lovely black cotton lawn from Maud's Fabric Finds.  I wore it loads but it is now too big for me, which is a real shame as it was such a wardrobe staple.  I decided to make another version using some bargain fabric I bought in the sale from John Lewis back in January for £6 per metre.  I made the plain version last time, but decided to make the variation with pockets and sleeve cuffs this time.  I didn't buy the fabric with any project in mind and I didn't have quite enough to cut it according to the layplan.  I improvised and extended the facing pieces by 15mm then stitched together, rather than cutting on the fold.

The dress is really easy to sew up, and Tilly's instructions are super-clear as this is a beginner's pattern.  All was going well until I tried to attach the facings.  My attempt at extending and stitching together had worked brilliantly on the front facing, but I had somehow made the back facing too small.  I tried to stretch and ease it in, but still ended up with a couple of pleats.  Being keen to get the dress finished, I decided that I could get away with it because the fabric is quite drapey.  I hadn't put pockets into anything before, but I found them easy to do, and will definitely use them again as I really like the fact that the make the dress look really casual and modern.  I bought some buttons from John Lewis for the cuffs which also give the dress a different look.  Strangely, I had to make a lot of alterations to the hips last time as they stuck out, but I didn't need to alter the pattern at all in the smaller size.

The result is an every day dress that is extra comfy and I can hopefully get loads of wear out of (please excuse the slippers - as I said, it's still cold!):


On reflection, I can't get away with the back neckline facing - I'm wearing it today and I'm annoyed by it every time I catch my reflection in the mirror!  I'm going to unpick it and either make another facing or split this one and a piece to it.

I haven't got many pictures of the original Bettine I made, but I found this one (Thomas is modelling shorts that I made him here as well):


I would definitely recommend this pattern to sewers of any level - I'll be making plenty more.  I saw a pic on Instagram of a maxi dress version which I am tempted to try ready for Summer.


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