Pattern Review - Tilly and The Buttons Bettine Dress
A floaty summer dress is the perfect make now the sun is shining and we can’t think of a better pattern to try out in this weather than Tilly’s Bettine dress. Tilly describes Bettine as an easy peasy throw-it-over-your-head dress and that sounds like just the thing our wardrobes need - we’re thinking summer picnics, strappy sandals and oversized sunglasses to nail the relaxed, ‘I just threw this together’ look.
We asked one our favourite dressmakers and Sue’s friend Paula to review Bettine for us…
I received a lovely package from Love Stitch containing the ‘Tilly and the Buttons’ Bettine pattern and two metres of the Alexa printed fabric. The fabric is a drapey cream and black viscose with a pretty repeat print, it is lightweight but not too see through so I made the decision not to to line my dress.
The pattern instructions were very clear, with simple explanations and good photographs demonstrating all the steps.
I made a pattern size 4, which is a UK 12. This was the nearest size to match my measurements, although I think the finished dress was a bit too big round my bust. I find indie patterns always seem small compared to larger pattern companies such as Vogue so it is always worth measuring yourself rather than guessing your size. Luckily, the drapey fabric means I can get away with the slightly large bodice.
It took me the best part of a day to cut out and sew my dress but I think beginners would find it takes a bit longer, maybe set aside a weekend so you can take your time with some of the techniques. That being said, this is a really good beginners pattern as there are no darts or tricky fastenings but there are good sewing techniques involved such as stay stitching the neckline and constructing a proper neck facing for a professional finish.
The only problem I had was with the back neck facing, I think the fabric slipped a bit in cutting so I had to ease it into the facing - I was a bit disappointed that l'd made that mistake but there are always lessons to be learned when sewing something new!
The fabric was gorgeous to sew but difficult to cut due to its slippery nature so I would recommend really taking your time and consider using pattern weights. As the fabric has an obvious pattern repeat I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner, but for the slightly more confident this is a rewarding sew and I am really pleased with the result.
To sum up:
Do I like it? Yes, it’s a lovely pattern.
Would I make again? Probably.
What would I change? For me the bodice is too long so it looks a bit "blousy", I would make it shorter if I did it again. I would like to try the pattern again in a fabric with more body (maybe a chambray) and include the pockets. I think it would also work well in jersey. As the fabric I chose was drapey, I left out the pockets, which I’m glad of, as I don’t think it needed them with the printed fabric. The skirt is very tulip shaped which can be a bit too much if you're pear shaped like me so I'd probably trim that down. I think the tulip shape works well though if you keep the skirt short.
Paula’s Bettine is currently on display in the shop (we have promised to return it when the summer party invites come in!). The pattern and fabric are also in the shop or available online. Paula used our ‘Alexa Print’ viscose, £8.50 per metre.
Buy the Bettine pattern here Buy Alexa fabric here
Emily modelling the finished Bettine dress.