Pattern: The Bettine – Tilly and the Buttons.
Fabric: 2 metres of ‘Dog Print’ Cotton Sateen (Ivory/Black).
Supplier: The Textile Centre.
It’s official: 2 weeks ago I made my first ever dress – The Bettine!! I could not be more thrilled! It took me 2 solid days (9am – 5pm) of sewing to produce the finished article. It was SO much fun and less complicated than I anticipated. My main aim was to make it through the project without losing the will to sew again. For this reason, I took minimal photos, however I will document my next dressmaking endeavour with much more photos, in order to show the progression from fabric to finished article.
I ensured that I pre-washed and pressed the fabric prior to cutting out the pattern. This meant that I could ascertain how much the fabric might shrink before I made the dress. I used a cotton sateen fabric which was very easy to work with and gave just the right amount of drape for the style of dress. I found the most time consuming aspect of constructing the dress (the pattern cutting) to be the most therapeutic. Carefully placing the pattern pieces onto the fabric in a particular order and cutting out the fabric pieces using my rotary cutter was very relaxing and surprisingly enjoyable.
The one part I did struggle with was the threading of the elastic waist band into the body of the dress. I started from one hole, got all the way around to the other side of the dress (with great difficulty and effort) only for it to not come out of the designated hole! I rectified the issue by creating another discreet hole and doing some repair work, which was really simple and did not ruin the dress. I prefer my dresses to be above the knees, however the design leaves ample material for a much more modest hemline should you prefer it.
Unfortunately, due to my self-imposed Wedding Diet (3 months to go!!), the dress was too big for me (my hands are strategically placed during the photos in order to hide this fact). In hindsight, I should have re-measured myself beforehand but the dress has now gone to a lovely home. It became an Easter present for my mum and it fits her perfectly. She absolutely loves it and I am so happy to see something that I made being worn and enjoyed by one of my favourite people in the world.
My thoughts on the pattern were that it was simple, the instructions were clear and there were some elements of challenge for the new sewist should they wish to give them a try i.e. pockets and shoulder tabs. A word of warning: although the pattern states that it is for beginners, there is an element of expectation that the sewist will be able to understand and execute some of the basic sewing skills. I am extremely grateful to myself for being patient and consolidating my skills by starting off with non-garment related sewing projects. This enabled me to get to grips with the basic sewing skills. Had I simply picked up a beginner pattern with no prior knowledge or practice, I would definitely have struggled and the process would have been tiresome and tedious.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable time was had and I intend to make another Bettine in the coming weeks. This time, in my size so that I can have my very own Bettine to wear. For now, I want to try my hand at a different type of garment and have decided that my next project will be a simple, sleeveless top. I have shortlisted a few patterns and will decide which best suits my choice of fabric. The Bettine was a rip-roaring success and I highly recommend this pattern to all sewists, from novice through to expert.