Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress
Well, I really wish I could be more positive about this dress, but today I’m sharing a bit of a sewing fail with you! A friend of mine, Nicola, made this dress in some awesome bee print fabric, and she looks fab in it. I loved her dress and the fabric, so much so that I eventually tracked down some of the fabric for myself (to make a different dress with of course), and asked her if I could borrow the Bettine pattern to have a go at making one for myself in some anchor print chambray I got in Fabricland in Bristol. This is Nicola rocking her Bettine dress at a sewing session I led at Nicola’s house for the WI Hull – I asked and she was happy for me to post the photo of her!
The Bettine is not my usual style of dress, and I wasn’t sure it would suit me. I also knew that I was likely to have some fitting issues with it, as I am tall, long bodied and…erm…curvy, so I made a toile first of all to see what it would look like, using up some leftover fabric that I really couldn’t imagine ever using again…
When I made this dress and flattened it out, it looked like the craziest shape of dress I’d ever seen! It didn’t look very good on, either. I definitely needed to cut the next size up, add some length to the bodice and possibly reshape the skirt a bit. I had a feeling I might need to do an FBA, but I thought I’d try the basic changes first just to see how they affected the overall fit.
So, I traced the next size up, added an inch to the length of the bodice, and reshaped the curve of the skirt to get rid of the excess at the hips. I cut this next version in the chambray because I didn’t have any more fabric I wanted to waste on a toile… something I would come to regret!
This whole thing was back in November, so although I remember basting it all together to check the fit, I can’t remember if I tweaked it any further before sewing it up to wear. I knew by this point that it wasn’t really working for me, so I just wanted to have done with it (and I hate unfinished projects so I tend to just finish them whatever). Had I more time/patience, I would do a full bust adjustment, and that would help to add yet more length to the front bodice (but not the back), which would better accommodate my bust and long upper body.
I wore the dress to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, but didn’t get a photo of me in it. I liked the fit of the skirt, but the style of the top just felt too clumsy and unflattering. I felt as though I was wearing something very obviously ‘home-made’/’home eccy Becky’ – and, although I know it sounds conceited, I am used to making things that fit me well. I did still love the fabric, however, and, as I mentioned, I quite liked the style of the skirt, so I gave the dress another chance for a day out sampling the delights of Manchester. This time I got an obligatory photo of me wearing it, but I’m attempting to divert your attention to the portrait behind me of my friend Rachel, who is a priest, poet, author, and, of course, excellent friend.
That’s the only photo of me in that dress you’re getting. The insides are neat though, and it’s well made even if it does look crap (trying to cling on to the positives!):
I have since chopped the top part of it off and turned it into a skirt.
It’s an improvement, but I haven’t worn it yet, and I’m not sure I will!
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