Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blotchy Bettine


I was going for alliteration in the title, but I'm pretty confident that "blotchy" is not really a good adjective to use in this context. What other word could I use for this fabric, though? Mottled? Splotchy? Dappled?



Anywho, the fabric is rayon challis I got at fabric.com a zillion years ago. I bought approximately 97 yards for some unknown reason, so I am making all the things from it. You might remember it from my Hudson pants last year. The print makes the camera and your eyes go a bit crazy, so it's a bit difficult to see the garment details.


Back to Bettine: god, I am such a sucker for a new pattern. This new pattern from Tilly and the Buttons just screamed to me: comfy summer dress! And I listened to the screams and downloaded it.


There is just something about Tilly's marketing that just sucks me in like a kid in a candy shop. I'm not sure why, because the vintage-y twee thing is not really my style, but I can't quit it. I love her simple lines and thorough instructions. Plus Tilly's stuff seems to fit me well, which is extra points in my book.


I adore this Bettine dress I've made. As advertised, it is "an easy-peasy throw-it-over-your-head dress that’s cute, comfortable and very wearable." I think it easily works with flip flops or flats as well as with high heeled wedges. I think this dress is what I wanted the Staple Dress to be for me (the Staple Dress ultimately wasn't a go-to for me). Bettine has enough shape to keep it interesting.

For some reason the fabric and pattern combo is giving me some mild '80s vibes. Like Madonna would wear it with roughly 3000 jelly bracelets on a day she was feeling a bit conservative or Molly Ringwald would throw it on with a big old hair bow or jaunty hat and an oversized blazer on her way to pout about someone who slighted her. And I love it for that reason.


After finishing her up and wearing out on Saturday night, I'm already planning my next Bettine. Maybe in a cotton lawn for comparison... I'm interested to see how a fabric with a bit more body handles the tulip skirt.


Construction notes:

- Ultimately I ended up with a straight size 7. Originally I cut a size 8 in the hips because I was worried about ease. Shoulda trusted the numbers and the design, though. Turns out I didn't need it and the extra fabric in that area looked silly because of the tulip shape (like saddle bags), so I trimmed it back down to a 7.


- I used a smaller seam allowance on the shoulder seams from the neckline facing to the cuff area because it was a little snug for my guns... errrr, full upper arms.

- I wanted the pockets, but worried about bulk in the hip area, so I made a one-layer pocket by finishing the pocket edge on the skirt with bias tape and sewing the pocket piece directly to the skirt piece.


- Damn, the Bettine skirt is short! After comparing it to my Arielle skirt, I lengthened it by 3 inches. Then, after trying on the almost-finished dress, I decided to use a 1/4 inch hem (rather than the 1 5/8 inch allowance given) by finishing it with bias tape. So I added more than 4 inches and it still shows my knobby knees! But I think this length is right for me.


- I think next time I make it I'll take a little bit of length out of the center back bodice. It hangs down more over the waist band in the back than it does in the front.


How about you? Planning on sewing Bettine?


I'll leave you with a photo of me in Bettine with just my regular glasses. After I took all those sunglasses shots I felt a bit cheesy. This is more my style:

43 comments:

  1. Your fabric reminds me of confetti! You did a great job, the dress looks nice on you!
    See me at www.sewplus.blogspot.com
    Bonnie

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie! Confetti is the perfect description- why didn't I think of that?!

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  2. That's such a cute dress. I know what you mean about Tilly - her styling is so seductive. Can't wait to get home and harness some of this inspiration you've given me!

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    1. I know, right? The photos are so perky and happy and bright and cheerful! It's hard to say no to that. I wish you luck with all of your Hong Kong goodies!!

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  3. Super cute.

    How different is the Bettine from the Marilla Walker Maya dress?

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    1. Thanks!! Hmmm... I'd say they're pretty different. Bettine is much more shaped/fitted- a tulip skirt, a narrower waist (it's has separate skirt and bodice pieces), longer, narrower sleeves... both are lovely, but serve different purposes in my mind (at least that's what I tell myself!).

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  4. Gorgeous! I can't wait to get going and make one!!

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  5. Pixelated? Confetti? It's a great summer dress, and it's gotta be so perfect in the rayon challis for beating the heat. I totally agree about Tilly's marketing. She's so darn cute and likeable, and I love how user friendly her patterns are. When I started garment sewing 8 years ago, I picked up Diana Rupp's Sew Everything Workshop. It has a great hold your hand through every step kind of approach. If I was a beginner today, I think Love at First Stitch would be my go to book--it's got a similar help you through everything kind of feel. I love people who just want you to have a good sew and bend over backwards to make that happen.

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    1. Ah, pixelated is also good! But confetti is appropriate for the Tilly vibe: party! I agree that her patterns and her book are SO user friendly for beginners (or lazy intermediate sewists like me). A friend asked me to teach her how to sew garments and I was thinking a Tilly pattern would be the best place to start.

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  6. Oh, I love this on you! I was very taken in by this dress but I haven't pulled the trigger on buying the pattern yet. I don't have much rayon challis in my stash and I am currently trying to stash bust a bit-- but I think I would wear this a lot. I love the tulip shape of the skirt but I also think it would be pretty fantastic with a full skirt modification. I'm doing a fair job of talking myself into it...

    Also, I love the though of Madonna wearing this when she's feeling a bit conservative. That cracked me up!

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    1. Thanks, Teri! Ha ha- what else is in your stash? Any lawn or voile? That'll be my next Bettine. I think this would look really cute on you! I was a bit nervous about the tulip skirt with my hips, but in the end I think it works.

      Ha- what does Madonna wear on her days off? I guess she's always Madonna. But I'm sure she has days she just wants to throw on an elastic waist dress, right? ;-)

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  7. I wasn't wowed by the pattern -- it felt similar somehow and you nailed it: The Staple Dress. Seeing your version (awesome all around and incredible fabric by the way), I kind of want the pattern . I really love Tilly's patterns and she does have a great marketing scheme!

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    1. Thanks!! Bettine is definitely a relative of the Staple Dress, maybe a sophisticated cousin. The shaping at the waist and hips and the details like the cuffs and pockets are what really drew me to it.

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  8. I think this is my favorite version of the Bettine I've seen. I really like your softer fabric choice. It looks great!

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    1. Thanks, Renee! Rayon challis is, hands-down, my favorite fabric to wear.

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  9. Okay I totally jumped ahead in my blogfeed because I really wanted to hear your review of this dress. I read it, and hopped over to Tilly's site and bought it. I hope it works out for me half as well as it did for you. It looks fantastic on you Meg! I think I had the same hopes for the staple dress too, but it looked awful on me. So fingers crossed this one fits better. As always I love your blog posts and you always make me chuckle. I totally see Molly Ringwald in this with a great hat, and I want some jelly bracelets so I can be like Madonna. LOL

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    1. PATTERN JUNKIES FOR LIFE! Yeah, as much as I wanted the Staple Dress to be a staple for me, there was just not enough shape to it and I never reached for it because it felt frumpy on me. This one feels much shapelier and yet still comfy and easy. Fingers crossed it works for you, too! Are jelly bracelets back in style yet? I feel like I probably have some stashed at my mom's place still...

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  10. So nice! Love the speckly fabric and the fit looks spot on. Great dress for you.

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  11. I love this dress! it looks so causal but cute at the same time. It's a style of dress I love (See all of my millions of Comino Caps for a similar blousy bodice) but I can't quite justify buying it when it seems like the sort of thing I could easily, um, borrow inspiration from! Then again, if the pattern is still calling my name in a month, I may just go for it! ;) Looking forward to seeing your next version too!

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    1. Thanks, Gillian! I know, I totally shouldn't have/didn't need to buy it. You are so much more patient than I am when it comes to getting a look you want with patterns already in your stash! I am laziness incarnate.

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  12. That is a super cute dress!

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  13. This is a fabulous fit on you and I agree with the lure of Tilly. I have not yet committed to buy, but I'm fairly confident I will eventually. If not this pattern then maybe fifi for some cute under things.

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    1. Thanks, Marilla! I'm glad I am not the only one entranced by Tilly... Fifi is also pretty cute. Shamefully, I got that one, too, in order to make a set for a friend's bachelorette party!

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  14. I'm entranced by Tilly too. I'm reluctant to buy because of my older shape - I agree about the twee vibe but she is a marketing dream. Curious to see if her enthusiasm has sticking power.
    Your pixelated confetti looks great on you - you nailed the tulip skirt.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! I think her patterns work for a variety of body types and ages- particularly Coco, Airelle and Miette. I think Bettine, too, once lengthened works, too.

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  15. This dress is just great on you; shape, length, fabric all perfect. There's nothing wrong with your knees.

    I really like this pattern but I don't wear dresses or skirts because I cycle everywhere. I don't think you can move your legs far in a tulip skirt:)

    I do buy dress patterns because I like to imagine myself as someone who will wear a dress but I know I shouldn't do it because they just sit in the box unused.

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    1. Thanks, Debra! Ha, I agree, tulip skirt + bicycle = disaster...

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  16. I was kind of on the fence about Bettine, but I love the way it looks on you! It definitely has the potential of a casual dress turned date night outfit depending on the fabric.

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    1. Thanks, Victoria! I agree that it can do double duty- very versatile!!

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  17. Ah, yes, the perfect summer dress! Loose, elastic waist, cute pockets ... this is the first Tilly pattern I've seen where I was like, ooooh, that's totally *me.* I love her styling and she obviously has a great eye, but it's generally either too simple to feel worth the price or not my style. This dress, though ... tempting!!! I think I'll get the Maya first, though. You are the biggest pattern enabler!

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    1. Haha, sorry to be emptying your pockets in addition to mine!!

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  18. Speckled? Would love to see your next one styled a la madonna! Great dress!

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    1. Speckled works, too! Ha ha- maybe i'll do some outtakes with Madonna-style bracelets and hair!

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    2. Ha ha, bespeckled and bespectacled!

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  19. I was watching Sew Over It and she has a review of the Bettine pattern as well as a T-Shirt blouse she made using Bettine pattern. I looked up this pattern and decided I needed to grade it up if I wanted to make it. You were the first place I looked for good advice. This dress looks good on you (both of them do). I shall forge ahead!

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    1. Thanks so much! Hope yours turned out great!

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  20. Hello! I'm just now working on my Bettine dress, I cut a size 6 at the top with a full bust adjustment and size 7 bottom. I'm glad you did it with challis because that is my intended fabric and I was worried it might not show the shape, but it looks great on you! Is the skirt really that short? How tall are you if you don't mind me asking? I am 4'10", so very short and I decided to shorten it by an inch hoping it comes about an inch above the knee.

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    1. Hi Diana, I am 5'7.5", so it's much shorter on me than it is likely to be on you! As I said above, I lengthened it almost 4 inches. Good luck with yours!

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