I’ve been pretty excited to sew the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress ever since the pattern was released, but dilly dally-ed around a little in the hope that one of the German stockists would decide to start selling it as the exchange rate is awful at the moment. However, once I saw Tilly’s “Tips for Making a Jersey Bettine Dress” post, I knew I could not wait any longer and it had to be mine, so I splurged on the exchange rate and postage from England!
Ever since I made the Simple Sew Jersey Top, Jersey fabric has become my new best friend. I love the fact that it is more forgiving on fit for my problem areas, and I have had much more success with simple fit alterations than I have had with cotton. In addition to that, you can’t really say no to the comfort factor of jersey! I am always looking for things that are chic enough to wear to work, but comfy enough to survive a long day at a desk, and I had high hopes that a Jersey Bettine would do just that!
The jersey fabric I used for this dress was an impulse buy from the Karstadt Haberdashery when I “popped in for a zip” (yep – that ended in a €50 fabric splurge)! This bolt of fabric was lying on the cutting table while I got some other fabric cut and I just decided I would grab two metres on a whim. It was really quite cheap by Karstadt standards, from memory about 8 Euros per metre, and quite nice quality, so seemed a good idea at the time! When I got it home, I wasn’t sure I’d done the right thing with the pattern, which was promptly reinforced by PB’s most sceptical of faces. However, I thought I’d crack on and give it a go anyway – that’s the beauty of sewing yourself, you’re the boss!
Although I was excited to put pockets in to my Bettine dress (one of my favourite features on a dress or skirt) I heeded Tilly’s tutorial advice and stayed well away on the basis that they may stretch and look weird in jersey. I was pleasantly surprised as a result of this that I would only need 5 pattern pieces to make this pattern, which meant I managed to Pi-Dy it and cut it all in one evening. I had a minor moment of panic when I thought I didn’t have enough fabric, but then was quite proud when I got to use a technique I’d learnt at sewing school the week before for getting more out of your fabric when you need to cut on the fold. Basically you take the two selvedges in to the middle of your fabric, giving you two folds to cut from – ta-da!
I cut a size 7 on top and a size 5 on the bottom (thank you Lord for my massively disproportionate figure!) and decided to run the risk that the bodice and skirt wouldn’t match up, all the while praying the elastic would help me out. After cutting I was also slightly concerned that I had made a dress to fit the hulk …. look at the size of it!!
It turns out that Tilly is more than a little generous on her seam allowances and the elastic also does a good job of bringing everything together!
When it came to sewing, this one came together like a dream. Tilly’s instructions are super simple and easy to follow. Also, by making the jersey version, the number of steps are significantly reduced. I made the top on the same evening that I traced and cut the pattern, and then decided to take it along to sewing class last night to finish it off. I was delighted to discover that my sewing machine has an overlock stitch, so I tried it out on this garment and absolutely loved the finish. Thanks Pfaff – I think that’s my justification for the purchase of an overlocker out the window!
Surprisingly, despite my cutting the top and bottom in two different sizes, I didn’t have any problems attaching the bodice to the top. I just sewed right round making the casing for the elastic as described and it was absolutely fine. I used 10mm elastic, which seemed quite thin, but is actually really comfortable to wear. The only other alteration I made was to take out the “tulip” edges of the skirt in the side seams. They were in the initial version, but it just looked weird and slightly bulky, so I pinned to fit my shape better and then just sewed a much less pronounced curve. I haven’t worked out whether it was because of the jersey fabric that it looked weird, or whether it’s partly to do with my body shape, so I shall investigate further the next time I make this pattern in a non-jersey fabric. In addition to this, I would also probably alter the pattern to provide a little extra length on the skirt, just because I like the thigh region covered at work. Speaking of next times, next up is a Bettine in Chambray …. yay!
So here it is! My finished Bettine …
And here’s a picture where you can see the sleeves. I’m trying to give you a thumbs up for the joy of sewing a Jersey Bettine (not sure what is going on with my left hand but it’s out here on the internet for all to see now!)