Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress

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I had been sewing for a while before I made a dress for myself. As a larger lady it can be hard finding a pattern that fits properly. There can be a lot of fiddling about with full bust adjustments and the like. And as someone new to sewing I needed to build up my confidence before trying all these adjustments. I have already come to realise the importance of making a toile. And then I tried the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress pattern.

Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress


Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress


The Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress is marketed as a beginners sewing pattern.Whilst the pattern was developed for being sewn in woven fabric such as cottons or lawn, it can also be sewn in knits or jersey.

It features

  • a choice of sleeve finishes – with or without a tab
  • the choice of with or without pockets – pockets are an absolute must for me as a mother!
  • a round neckline
  • ‘grown on’ sleeves – this means that the sleeve is a kimono style, and is cut as part of the top. You do away with insetting the sleeve. Which means no gathering or ‘easing’ in. Hurrah.
  • a comfortable elasticated waistline, which gives it a lovely shape.

There are no buttons or zips to put into the dress, it is a pull over the head design. SO it is just such an easy pattern to cut your teeth on.


PDF Pattern vs Printed?


The Bettine dress is available as a printed pattern AND a downloadable pattern. And it is currently £3 cheaper to buy as a downloaded pattern.

I actually love PDF patterns and use them a lot. They are

  • easily and rapidly downloaded – it arrives in minutes –  no need to wait for the pattern to come in the post, you can use it that day.
  • easy to print out – as long as you have adobe reader downloaded on your computer.
  • you can print the pattern time and time again, meaning that you don’t need to trace different sizes from a pattern (which is a laborious job!)

However, you do sometimes need a lot of paper. And it can be quite wasteful of paper. You also need to stick the pattern together, which can take a lot of time. And you don’t get an envelope for the pattern, though I usually make myself one from the printed front cover sheet and another page.

I chose to buy myself a printed copy this time.

Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress - pattern


Making up the Dress Pattern


I always make a toile out of cheap fabrics to ensure a good fit (read why here). I made up the pattern first in a cheap viscose material. The instructions are really clear on how much fabric you need, and how to lay out your fabric for cutting.

The toile was a good idea, as I found that both the bodice and the skirt were too short for me. Because I have a large bust, and because I like a skirt hemline to go to my knee, the original pattern came up a bit too short on both. However, the pattern has a clear indications of where you can add to lengthen both the bodice and the skirt. This made lengthening the pattern the next time I made it easy.

I would say that this pattern was great for a beginner. The main parts of the dress were very easy to make up for me. All the notches met properly, and the pattern instructions were really helpful and thorough. There are even very clear pictures.

I did find the sleeve cuff finish to be a little fiddly though (with and without the tabs), and it never really sat properly on my rather flabby upper arms. The next time I made the dress I chose to extend the arm length and finished the sleeve with a simple hem finish. I felt that this looked a lot neater, and suited my arms better.


Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress


The finished dress


I was absolutely overjoyed with my finished Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress. It is such a versatile dress. I’ve made several versions in different fabrics for different occasions. Cotton fabric (such as the green fabric below from Seasalt)  is perfect for really hot weather, and I even have a going out version in my favourite Rifle Paper Company fabric (the burgundy floral). I will definitely be making more of these!

Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress - finished with me

Fancy getting your hands on this pattern? Buy it here! Or try different Tilly patterns – the Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top,or the Tilly And The Buttons Indigo Dress

And there are some wonderful cotton fabrics over at Minerva

Why not pin me for later?

Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress


I’d love to see your versions of the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress. Do comment how you get on below, or contact me on social media.

Enjoyed this? Why not read How to Make Childrens’ Leggings Without Needing A Pattern?

or About making a Sew Over It Heather Dress?



13 Replies to “Tilly And The Buttons Bettine Dress”

  1. Daydreams of a Mum says:

    I get so frustrated dress shopping as I’m a bit out of proportion and top heavy so I either have to get unflattering round the waist or exposing the boobs like some kind of wannabe glamour model. Maybe I need to take up sewing so I can make the adjustments you talk about.#ablogginggoodtime

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Yes, this is why sewing your own is such a good idea. If you are a 16 top and a 12 bottom (not that I am, lol!) then you can easily adjust a pattern to fit, but it’s hard to find dresses that suit in shops!

  2. Mackenzie Glanville says:

    I love that it has the option with pockets, I love dresses with pockets for a more casual everyday feel, I pretty much live in dresses for as much of the year as I can. Thanks for joining in for #ABloggingGoodTime

  3. Anne says:

    oh I really wish I could sew, this is a lovely shaped dress, just the sort I like to wear. I love how you’ve made several in different colours and patterns. The burgundy floral one is my favourite. #mmbc

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      The burgundy floral one is just gorgeous. It is such an easy dress to wear. Thank you.

  4. Stephanie 139a says:

    Love the material, and well done you – glad to hear the pattern really was for beginners and easy to follow, as I’ve seen these patterns and always wondered. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo


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