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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
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.
- 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?
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.
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.
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!
Fancy getting your hands on this pattern? Buy it here!
And there are some wonderful cotton fabrics over at Minerva.
Why not pin me for later?
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?