A review of Bettine Dress
The fabric I used was one I came across in John Lewis. IThis is a John Kaldor fabric that was reduced by 50% to £8 pm…bargain! (It doesn’t appear online so no link I’m afraid). The Bettine pattern says to use a drapey fabric which this certainly is…I’m not sure exactly what it is as it’s only described as polyester (maybe a crepe?? to inexperienced to know). The fabric was nice to sew with (it didn’t wrinkle or get stuck or slip) and did press enough for this pattern. When wearing it doesn’t crease much at all which I love. It’s also fairly breathable too so I’m looking forward to wearing this out over the summer.
There are only 6 pieces to this pattern, and they are all simply shaped with very few markings. The sleeves are part of the bodice (kimono style) so do not require separate pieces or complicated sewing either. I prefer patterns which come on regular paper like this because I like to transfer them using carbon and a tracer wheel directly onto the fabric.
The instructions booklet includes layplans to help with cutting out fabric and measurements to help with selecting the correct size. I made mine in a size 4 based on the body and finished garment measurements given. Every step is clearly explained with photographs to show you what you are aiming for at each point
Now, for alteration… Clearly I changed the neckline. Now this was not a bad idea but it was very poorly executed. Basically I tried to remember what I had seen in other sewalongs and apply it from memory. Cue much trial and error. (If you want more details check out my blog post at http://www.thepetitepassions.com/2016/05/bettine-dress-from-tilly-and-buttons.html).
The pattern is so easy to put together it would take less than a day, including hand stitching the sleeve cuffs (which I think I did more sewing for than is needed but at least the fold isn’t moving anywhere). The seams are nice lines to follow and there aren’t any complicated (for me) techniques, mainly due to the elasticated waistband which takes care of it all for you. The instructions and blog tell you everything you need to know to make the dress and give extra advice to really make it your own (that is the point of handmaking a dress after all isn’t it?).
I made a Tilly size 4, and usually take a high street size 10. It fits me just fine and is comfortable to wear. I like where the hem finishes and didn’t alter this. Do think about the fact that I am 5ft if you are using mine to decide on yours though! The fabric I chose was also a big factor in the success of this dress – it hides a lot of sins and hangs perfectly for the pattern.
I am definitely making this again, and having had a look at the blog might try out a jersey version. But I am still looking out for a better way of altering necklines. Please let me know if you have a better and more accurate way!