When the new Bettine dress from Tilly and The Buttons popped up in my email one day it was an instant gratifying pattern purchase. It is a very simple dress, aimed at beginners, but the shape is so lovely and its such a wearable every day piece I think it has broad ranging appeal. Basically Tilly gets it spot on again with another lovely design.
Now I cannot believe I started making this at the beginning of August with every intention to finish and post it soon after starting it but alas the demon job has got in the way. I have basically been swallowed up in every single way by it and not had a moment to sew or see friends or do much more than eat, sleep, work repeat. I also re-decorated my bedroom just after the last post and bought a new sewing desk from Ikea only to find it broken and with no car to take it back for ages. I realised not being able to sew in my down time is like taking away a little bit of me. So it is around 6 weeks after finishing most of this dress that I have finally got a down day, hemmed the dress and taken some photos to post the results for you to see. I am only a little distraught that it is now cold and rainy outside and so this one will need to be put away until next summer....boo!
The fabric I chose was a cotton from my stash; a creamy background with blue wavy lines and odd dots on it called 'Meadow' by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. I am trying to avoid new fabric purchases and therefore reducing what I already have. I bought this cotton well over a year ago with an Anna dress in mind but didn't quite get round to making it up. Such is the way of life when it comes to the endless tick list of patterns you want to make up at any one time!
I am in the middle of a size 4 and 5 in this pattern so rather than cut out the paper pattern I traced the whole lot out - as carefully as I could - in between the lines. Thankfully it is a relatively simple shape to trace so I managed to do this quite easily. Actually I rarely cut out the original pattern unless I am feeling really lazy or have run out of tracing paper and cant wait to sew the pattern up. I used to think I never wanted to make up the same thing more than once but over time I have realised how wonderful it is to be able to revisit a well loved pattern and as I may change sizes its good to just use the size I need for now. And as the Bettine feels like it may make more appearances in future summer wardrobes I wanted to keep it nice! I also have this little thing in the back of my head that hopes one day to have a little girl who loves sewing and will be ecstatic with joy when I hand over a load of (what will be) vintage patterns to her when she is old enough to appreciate them. Silly huh!?
So construction wise it was simple, quick and really satisfying to make (although the hours of making were stretched over weeks!). In total it took just under a day to do from start to finish, which means it can be quickly whipped up when needed. I loved the kimono sleeves which I always think are super flattering and the cuff detail at the end of the sleeves is lovely too. Although I couldn't find any exciting buttons to sew on to the cuff tabs. I only have one gripe and that is it is super snug to put it on and take it off. It definitely fits fine when its on and I have no problems with the actual way it sits on me when wearing it but I cant say I don't get that back of the mind panic thing trying to get it on and off - like when you try something on in a changing room and realise you cant manoeuvre yourself out of it without help! I cut the right size so I am assuming that's the way it is meant to be - anyone else found this? Maybe its just the fabric choice and it doesn't allow enough give. The only thing I worry about is ripping it at the seams one day... mmm. Maybe my bum is just a little too big!! Anyway. I do like it very much. Its a lovely shape and a great summer staple. The next time I make it up I would widen that bottom hem a little - maybe to take away the real tulip shape of the bottom of the skirt and I think I would like it slightly more if it were a straighter edge. I would also lengthen the skirt as I don't think I appreciated how short it was and whilst I do like it I wouldn't normally wear something that short in the leg.
What do you think? Planning on sewing up the Bettine any time soon? Maybe one for autumn!