Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress

At Tilly’s stand at the Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia my friend Suzanne bought the Cleo dress pattern and was offered a second pattern which I took, the Bettine dress. I’ve seen lots of these around but never tempted to make it myself as I thought the style was too young for me but then I came across Lisa from Sew Over It’s review and thought it might be a possibility.

I had two metres of really inexpensive floaty viscose fabric that I bought last year from The Truro Fabrics shop when on holiday for making a blouse and thought I’d try that. However, looking at Lisa’s static ‘cling’ I thought I would make the skirt out of two layers of fabric rather than one. I also decided to add 8cm to the length of the pattern. (This was ironed flat for cutting out !)

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I then merrily cut out the two top pieces, four skirt pieces and the pocket linings before realising that with the extra skirt length and the two extra skirt pieces I had run out of fabric ! I managed to squeeze in the back neck facing and one pocket bag before giving in and piecing scraps for the remaining pocket bag and the front facing. There was no way enough for the sleeve turn ups and tabs. (Which actually turned out to be a good thing….)

As with the Marigold trousers Tilly’s photo instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Once I had made the top I tried it on and it was obvious that it was just long enough and that if I made the elastic casing as instructed the top would be too short to ‘blouse’. I cunningly used the twin layers of the skirt to create the elastic casing there and attached the top to the skirt with a much narrower seam allowance, which has worked well.

I found that I REALLY didn’t like the all-in-one sleeves as they pulled at the shoulders and around my armpits so I just cut 7.5 cm of them off leaving more of a cap sleeve (See, I didn’t need the cuffs and sleeve tabs at all….)

Sadly I don’t have a photographer so I can’t take a picture of the dress on me. It’s just knee length and it has turned out much nicer than I thought it would. The top is really light and floaty and the double layered skirt hangs well, I also think the two layers of skirt fabric help to stop the pockets from drooping in this lightweight fabric.

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A surprisingly good result.

Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress

Vintage Pattern Sewing Challenge

 

I have been given some vintage sewing patterns by a friend who was having a clear out of her mother’s things. The patterns were all used to make garments for my friend and her sisters in the 1960’s.

I have been wondering what to do with them and, having seen the Vintage Sewing Pledge on   a stitching odyessy have decided to have a go at making a garment from one of them. None of the patterns are in my size so I am going to have to do some work on resizing. Hmmm…..which one to choose…..It needs to be something that won’t be too complicated to resize and it must be something that I would actually wear.

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Not this one, I don’t like the way the sleeves and shoulders are part of the back, unless I’m going to sit up ramrod straight every time I wear it I think I’ll just look hunched over.

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Just not me (I’m not really a dress person)

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This is a possibility. I like the length and style but maybe not quite enough of a challenge ?

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Too flared….

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Hmm….no jersey in my stash…

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Buttons down the back ? With my dodgy shoulder ? I don’t think so.

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Maybe….

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I really like this jacket, but I think I’ll park it for the time being as the sun is shining and I’m feeling summery. I’ll try and come back to it later in the year.

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I think I’m going to have a go at view D, this is something that I could and would wear if I get it right. I like the idea of the multiple darts and who doesn’t like a pocket ?

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This is the pattern out of the packet. There are no written instructions on the tissue just lots of holes of varying shapes. Small holes, large holes, triangle holes and square holes. The tissue is very thin and fragile and I was a bit worried about pressing it flat.

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Fortunately it survived !

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The pattern and colour coded markings all copied and transferred to a sheet of Costco’s finest Baking Parchment.

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This is the fabric I have chosen for this project. A Makower cotton from C+H

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I pinned the pattern pieces to my mannequin and have decided to increase the width of the front and back without moving the darts at all as they seem to be in the right place.

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Initial pattern adjustments. A straight insert. I’m a bit concerned about the armholes as they seem very small and are of a shape I have never come across before. I’m going to leave them as they are for the time being and not cut out the armhole facings until I have a better shaped bodice to try on the mannequin.

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Darts tacked on the back.

So with the darts in the first instruction is to sew the shoulder and side seams. This gave me sufficient information to see that the finished garment was going to be too big so I have taken out the extra width I put in the back at the beginning. This has meant putting a seam straight down the back but I don’t think it will be too detrimental to the finished garment.image

The next step was making and attaching the pockets which went without incident.

imageThen onto the collar…I have never made a proper collar like this successfully before and if I hadn’t already committed to recording it here this one would have been consigned to the bin early this afternoon. The first mistake I made was a misreading of the pattern layout which meant I had only cut out one collar piece when I needed two. I had a small amount of fabric left which I was going to use to make the armhole facings once I had worked out what size those should be. I used quite a lot of this remaining bit of fabric cutting out the second collar piece which means I now don’t have enough for the armhole facings and they will have to be finished with bias tape. The second mistake was having adjusted the collar for the back increase I had failed to make adjustments for the front increase. As I was now out of all except scraps of fabric I have resorted to cutting the collar pieces in half and inserting a 2inch insert in each one. The instructions for making the collar were very difficult to understand but eventually I interfaced one side and attached the collar piece. The collar seemed to be HUGE, like an Elvis collar !

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After thinking about it for a while I thought a lighter weight interfacing might make it a bit softer and appear smaller so I took the collar off, scraped off the lightweight interfacing I had used which was an absolute pig of a job and applied an ultra lightweight interfacing. Then I reattached the collar.imageExcept I attached it the wrong way round ! Aargh ! I had to unpick it again and start for the fourth time ! Normally I would have just given up by now but it was worth redoing as I am quite pleased with the end result.imageimage

The collar is very large by modern standards but I think I quite like it.

After the collar and facings it was time to do the buttonholes and buttons. I’ve never used the buttonhole feature on my machine before  but it worked really well and the four buttonholes were done in about 10 minute. I won’t be afraid of buttons in the future. The buttons are some recycled from a garment bought at Oxfam for children’s fancy dress years ago and I’m glad I kept them as they have been double recycled  now.

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Other adjustments I have made today are moving the darts down. They’re still not exactly right and I’ll look at them again tomorrow.

This is the garment so far. It still needs a few tweaks but overall I’m quite pleased with it.

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This is the finished garment.IMG_3458IMG_3456IMG_3453

Would I actually wear it ? Yes I think I will. I think it looks good with these Clover trousers I made a couple of years ago. I still think the collar is very large but that’s how the pattern is and it was a Vintage Pattern Challenge.

Vintage Pattern Sewing Challenge