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Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress

January 17, 2017

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!

Excellent Bettine Dress

Excellent Bettine Dress #girlcrush

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…

Tilly Bettine toile with no alterations

Tilly Bettine toile with no alterations

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!


  1. January 17, 2017 8:52 am

    I’ve made a couple of these but I don’t wear them. I can’t get the fit right!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 11:31 am

      It’s a shame!

      • renatalaura permalink
        January 30, 2017 7:15 pm

        Ive got this pattern but curvy too so Im not sure if i want to cover up my narrowest part by making/wearing it. I thought abut using it as a blouse pattern

  2. January 17, 2017 5:50 pm

    Hey lovely, I wouldn’t worry about it. Its not the first time I’ve heard people talk about fit issues with this pattern. I love the style but I don’t have enough sewing time at the moment for wadders. x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 11:32 am


  3. January 17, 2017 6:40 pm

    Ahhh t’is a shame but … it happens! Onwards and upwards eh x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 11:33 am

      Yes indeed! I’m loving her Cleo pattern atm. Her patterns are very hit and miss for me!

      • January 18, 2017 12:22 pm

        I daren’t try them tbh; I don’t think I’m cutesy enough! 😂x

  4. January 17, 2017 7:02 pm

    I struggle with the elasticated waist thing, a well fitted dress is much more flattering so I can see why you don’t love this. 😕

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 11:35 am

      Yes. The comfort factor appealed to me but it just looks bad!

  5. Sabs permalink
    January 18, 2017 6:37 am

    What a shame as that fabric is lovely and very you. I agree with one of the other comments about elasticated dresses…you definitely suit the more fitted sillouhette. Hope you get some wear out of the skirt though x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 11:36 am

      It is a shame to have wasted the fabric. I’m not sure about the skirt, I’ll keep it until summer to see if I feel like wearing it then!

  6. Lynsey permalink
    January 18, 2017 9:00 am

    I also couldn’t get the fit right with this pattern, I came to the conclusion It was because I’m busty and not a style I can pull off. It’s always worth trying these things though.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 11:38 am

      Yes it was worth a try, and every sewing project is still part of a learning process 😊

  7. January 18, 2017 1:33 pm

    Oh thank you for sharing it this! I finished (except for hemming) my first Bettine last night and I too really dislike it! I’d seen so many lovely versions and really wanted in on the action but it makes my hips look well, I don’t know what but not good! I really must say your photos really don’t look anywhere near as bad as you think though. 🙂 Good idea to make it into a skirt! When I tried the top by itself halfway through sewing I quite liked it as a sort of crop top so might make one of those with something in the stash.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 1:40 pm

      It definitely seems to be a love it/hate it pattern! Good plan to make a top from it. I really liked the cuffs.

  8. Rosesred permalink
    January 18, 2017 3:16 pm

    Agree about the fit, your other dresses fit much nicer! Also, can I ask where your friend found that fabulous bee fabric? It’s amazing!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 5:09 pm

      She got hers from Remnant House, I got mine (the same) from B&M fabrics at Leeds Market. Haven’t used mine yet, but I love it!

  9. January 18, 2017 4:50 pm

    Such a shame, but theses things happen. I think TATB patterns are often over curved at the hips and look odd. as someone else said onwards and upwards. I can imagine you wearing that skirt on a hot summers day.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 5:11 pm

      Yes, I think it might look ok with a vest top 😊

  10. Jan permalink
    January 18, 2017 6:22 pm

    I wasn’t sure this would be right for me either but I’ve now made two of these – one in double gauze and one in jersey. I knew the tulip skirt wouldn’t suit my pear shape so I changed the pattern piece to straighten it out. I have a small bust which helps with this dart-less pattern. I usually wear fitted but I didn’t have anything to wear in very hot weather so these fit the bill.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      January 18, 2017 7:16 pm

      Glad it has worked out for you! I wish it had worked for me too! 😊

  11. Justine permalink
    August 30, 2017 8:45 pm

    I bought this but don’t like the skirt part on me, just looks awful. I’ve used the top as a basis of more than one or two summer dresses from blouses to maxis as I like the way the neck line comes together so neatly.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      September 1, 2017 6:19 pm

      It’s an odd dress but it does seem to look good on some people! Glad you’ve found a use for the pattern, at least!

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