Posted in My Makes, Sewing

Bettine One

New Things
– Tilly & the Buttons Patterns
– My first dress
– sleeves (luckily for me these beginner sleeves were grown on)
– Facing neckline
– Swedish tracing paper.

What Went Well
– Wearable Dress
– Getting a dress out of 2m of narrow fabric when the instructions said I needed more

What I need to work on
– Thinking about patterns and cutting placement
– Finishing raw edges sans overlocker
– Related to the above handling fabric, this cotton was soft, drapy and the moment you go off the grain it felt stretchy/slippy

Changes to make when I make another
– Add length to both the top and the skirt sections, at least 6cm to each.

I ordered some Tilly and the Buttons beginners patterns having read so many great things about them, especially the Bettine.

Bettine sewing pattern - easy dress sewing pattern for beginners

So I have decided to make one.  I love pockets on a dress so disregarded the non-pocket beginner option for the pocket version. Because I am always this person:

dress-with-pockets
My measurements never fit a size, I have a large waist and narrow hips, with my chest somewhere in-between.  Looking at the pattern and measurements with the loose fit I decided to make a size 6 on the top and waist and grade down to a size 5 on the hips.  I did start to worry when cutting the pattern pieces that the pockets would no longer have the same shape with a more pronounced curve on the outside – though it didn’t end up much of an issue.

Tilly and the Buttons pattern paper is fantastic, its thick and white and you can handle it confidently without worrying about ripping it.  I like to keep all my original patterns in tact so I traced off the pattern onto my Swedish Tracing paper.  (New and being used for the first time).  I really like the stuff, you can see through it but also see pencil on it really clearly, It cuts nicely and although it is really light it is more sturdy than tissue paper but softer more opaque than tracing paper.

I wondered about adding length to the top and bottom but with material limitation I though I would make this one the pattern size and then review for my next one.  I was thinking this dress would be a sort of wearable toile, and I would have a better idea if I should change anything on my next one.

I had 2 metres of of this nice blue and white fabric, some sort of soft drapy cotton, the pattern info said I needed more but I thought I would try and squeeze everything on.  I managed it, and am quite pleased with myself about it as all that is left of that 2m are a few thin uneven lengths of fabric which you could not even cut another armhole band from.

My overlocker was off being repaired and I don’t have pinking sheers so my only option was zigzagging the raw edges.  I was surprised how tricky i found this.  My tension was too tight on my machine  to start with and zigzags pinched the material in places.  My trimming of the raw edges was a bit uneven  also my eyeballing was off in several places where my zigzigs were either quite far in the seam lines or right over the edge.  The fabric had also started fraying madly so overall I just don’t love the look of seams on the inside and think my next attempt will be done with the overlocker.  I may also go back and redo some of the edges on this one once I have my overlocker back.

I had a few issues inserting the waistband elastic.  I had some elastic that I planned to use (I have 10m of it) but it was the same size as the channel so just a tiny bit little too wide to fit through which I decided after trying really hard to force it through.  I stopped when I broke a few stitches off the inside edge.  So I left it for the evening and popped to the shop the next day for some slightly narrower elastic.

After my speediest ever hemming (mostly due to impatience) my dress was done.  Well as done as I wanted it, as you will see from the photos I left the sleeve bands down, its winter and l liked the sleeves a bit longer (almost to the elbow).  I think they look fine that way.

So I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I looked at the dress on a hanger and became disappointed, the pattern just looked horribly off, the top and bottom are not aligned, no-where close to matching but not far enough apart to just look different, it was aesthetically displeasing to look at.  I didn’t have any spare material to pattern match as it was a struggle just to get everything cut out on the fabric I had.  Originally I’d thought it is a big swirly pattern; should be fine not matching but that was not the case.  I showed it to my husband who came up with a great solution ‘don’t I have a big white belt, why not wear that with it to hid the join’.

My big white belt saved the day and I’m back to really liking my new dress, check out those pockets!

Next time I make this dress, as I will be make another, I will be adding a bit of length to the top and the skirt, not too much I’m thinking maybe 6cm and 10cm.

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