Thursday, May 4, 2017

Testing, testing: Tilly and the Buttons Etta Dress

Here's my tester version (made back in February) of the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, the Etta Dress:


Etta is a fitted knee-length dress with darts at the bust, waist and shoulders, lined cap sleeves or darted three-quarter length sleeves, high or V-back neckline, and optional collar and faux pockets.

There have been a few changes to the pattern since testing (they made the dress a little bit more fitted, lowered the front neckline 1cm, shortened the bust darts and shortened the long sleeve to 3/4 length), but I think it's still a pretty good representation of the final pattern!


For my Etta, I went with the long sleeved, collarless, high back neck version. I skipped the little faux pockets for maximum sleekness. I like how you can take this dress in very different directions depending on the options and fabric you choose. You can go very vintage-y/Mad Men or very modern. Since I'm not really a vintage gal, I opted for the latter

Tilly calls for "medium weight, non-drapey fabrics, preferably with stretch" for the Etta dress. I chose a stretch cotton sateen in a dark floral print. I knew I would need the stretch because I find that close fitting dresses that don't have a bit of give to be too uncomfortable.


I didn't pay attention to pattern placement at all, so I have a little bit of a repeat across my bum and back bodice, but hopefully it's not too offensive!


I'm pretty chuffed with my invisible zipper. Since I've battled with invisible zips before, I was tempted to go off course and sew a lapped zip, but wanted to stay true to the pattern for testing. This is definitely my best invisible zip to date!


The fit on Etta was pretty fabulous straight off the bat. I was delighted that I didn't need to do a swayback adjustment, full bicep adjustment or full bust adjustment... hooray!

I made a size 7 at the bust, graded to 8 at the waist and hip. I probably could have gotten away with a 7 waist and between a 7 and 8 at the hip, as the hip is a bit roomy.

The darts on the Etta are fabulous. There are so many of them (14! bust, waist, back neck, elbow...), but they're totally worth it to get a close but comfy fit.


This style is outside my typical comfort zone. I haven't made many fitted dresses (the Designer Stitch Jenny is probably the closest I've come and because that one doesn't have stretch, so I don't wear it often because I fear I'll bust out of it!), but I like to be pushed out of my comfort zone a bit. I was pleasantly surprised to really love the Etta once I'd sewn it up!


I've got a wedding to attend in NYC in September and this Etta dress is in the running for me to wear. It's this or my Style Arc Marilyn as of right now, but it may depend on the weather!


33 comments:

  1. That dress fits you so well. The motif placement does not detract, so pretty.

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    1. Thanks! Phew, glad the pattern repeat isn't too bad!!

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  2. This looks absolutely stunning on you! I also love that fabric - where did you get it?

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    1. Thanks, Emma! I bought it from a local shop here in Bangkok (which is probably not very useful for you- sorry!)

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  3. The fabric you chose to make this dress really makes the dress sing! It's gorgeous on you. Also weather in NYC in September can be really warm like summer or a little cool starting to feel like fall so your dress should work just fine for the wedding. BTW, if you have time and want to meet, let me know. I'd love to meet up!

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn! I love florals on a dark background...

      Ha, yeah, I figured NY weather can vary a lot during late September. Hopefully one of those two dresses will work, with or without tights!

      I'd absolutely love to meet up! My husband is a groomsman, so he'll have wedding duties, which I'm hoping means I will have some time to myself in the city. I'll get in touch once I have more details about the schedule for the weekend.

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  4. that looks great on you! as patterns go it is basic - not exactly original - but your fabric choice elevated it to very pretty. hope you get lots of wear out of it.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! I agree, it's not earth-shatteringly novel as far as patterns go, but I am really happy with the fit, so it's a winner in my book!

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  5. How did you find the sleeves and armscye? I ask because the publicity shots for this pattern are really, really *bad* and it makes you wonder about the pattern drafting. Your sleeves seem to be set in smoothly whereas the ones on the model are incredibly ill-fitting and puckered. Do you think this is a well-drafted sleeve?

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    1. Hi there- I had no problems with the sleeve- it set in just fine and I don't have puckering (hard to see in this photo, I know). On the spectrum, it's definitely got more sleeve cap ease rather than less, but it still went in just fine.

      The sleeves look tight on the model- I feel like she needed a full bicep adjustment, for sure.

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    2. I'm so interested in your comments here. It was the pictures of the model that put me off this pattern. The dress does not fit at all. Her arms look tight, the bust looks squashed. Not good at all. However, this fitting is perfect both in fit and fabric choice. I'm back to being tempted. I've just finished an Agnes top by Tilly which worked beautifully so I'll no doubt give this a shot. Thanks for the post and the honesty.

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    3. I agree that the dress doesn't fit the model very well in the sleeves, particularly! I think a full bicep adjustment would have helped.

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  6. A great-looking, timeless design, and you did a fabulous job fitting and making it. The dress is just beautiful! New York in September is delicious--you'll have a great time and look terrific, as well!

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    1. Thanks so much!

      I'm really looking forward to fall in NY!

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  7. Meg, this is freaking FABULOUS! The fabric is perfection, as is the pattern on you. Love love love ๐Ÿ˜

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    1. Thanks, Abbey!! I really happy with how it turned out!

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  8. That dress is beautiful! I love the fabric and the fit. The pattern looks like a lot could be done with it. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! Yes, I agree, the pattern is a good starting point for some fun hacking!

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  9. Love the color black, I think it goes along well with the floral print. This would be a perfect dress for summer and spring.

    Haberdashery

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  10. Hi Meg, I love the dress! You look lovely in it and it is perfect to wear to a wedding! I have been reading your posts for a long time but have never commented. My name is Barb and I have been a quilter for 20+ years. I want to make garments and sew my own wardrobe. I am busty 40DD and have a hard time finding anything that fits. So I have been reading your posts and 2 other ladies. Trying to glean as much information on sewing garments as I can. I have bought about 30 patterns that I like but I wanted to ask you... For my first pattern I have Cashmerette, Springfield top. The second, Violet or Jasmine from Colette Patterns. Which pattern do you think I should make first? And, If I may...I have been purchasing a lot of 100% Cotton to sew with and I have a lot in my quilting stash. The new material I have purchased has been through Fabric.com and the material's definition states amoung other things apparel. Then last week I was reading a blog and the host was appalled in using 100% quilters cotton for garments. If that is the case I am in real trouble. I Love watching you sew and reading all the comments. What a lovely group of ladies. Kindly, Barb PS Are you happy to be moving back to the US?? barb.kuhlmann.bk@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Barb! I would say you should start with the Cashmerette Springfield since it's made specifically with busty ladies in mind!

      I think using quilting cotton for garments is fine (controversial, but fine!); you just have to make sure you're using it for a pattern that doesn't rely on drape to look nice, because most quilting cottons don't have a lot of drape! I certainly think a Springfield top in quilting cotton would be ok. You can see I made my tester version from quilting cotton here: http://cookinandcraftin.blogspot.com/2016/07/testing-testing-springfield-top.html

      I am happy to move back; a bit nervous about the move and reverse culture shock, but happy to be closer to my family and enjoy some cold weather!

      Thanks for reading and good luck with your garment sewing! You can do it!

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    2. Thanks Meg! Why is there a controversy over using quilting cotton? I understand the drape. Does is scream homemade? I am new to the garment sewing industry so I am out of the loop. I have beautiful 100% cotton from great designers. It's a shame to keep them rolled up in a quilt. Anyway, thanks for your input on the pattern. Springfied it is! I lloked up the one you made, the tester, it looks great on you. Looks comfortable. Thanks again. I cant wait to see what you make next.

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    3. I think it's the drape issue, mainly. But so many people use QC all the time for garments and love them, so it's up to you to experiment and decided if it's for you or not! I bet your Springfield will be lovely.

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  11. This dress is gorgeous on you! well done for sticking with the invisible zip!

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  12. I have to say that you look like a million bucks in this dress - I love the fabric, and it fits like a dream. I've been reading your blog for a few months now and you've really inspired me to get into sewing. I just made myself a willow tank. I did my first ever bust dart adjustment and I took my time with all of the steps, to overcome my impatient and sloppy nature. I'm thrilled with it. Thanks for sharing your makes, your process, your knowledge and talent!

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    1. Thanks so much! Congratulations on picking up an addictive hobby- I hope you love it as much as I do! :-)

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