I wanted to do something for Me Made May this year, but I simply haven’t made enough clothes to go a whole month wearing me made. So I decided that I would at least make one new item of clothing during May. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s still a challenge for me.
I’d had the Bettine pattern for a while and had also bought some fabric with this pattern in mind. I also need a couple of more every day dresses in my life, so this was perfect.
I was a bit concerned about the tulip shaped skirt and whether that would suit me, so I made a toile out of some calico before I cut into my good fabric, and I am so glad that I did! The tulip shape didn’t suit me at all and I don’t know if I got the size wrong, but it felt really tight around my thighs, so wouldn’t have been comfortable to walk or sit in. So I went back to my skirt pattern pieces, found the widest part on the hips and then just drew a straight line down to the hem from there. A really simple alteration which made all the difference. I also added some extra length because I’m quite tall. (Tilly’s patterns very helpfully have a line indicating the best place for lengthening or shortening. Thanks, team Tilly!)
Onto my good fabric. I used double gauze for the first time. I got this from The Village Haberdashery in one of their sales. It’s called Rough Cut – Whirligig in Navy and Neon Green. They only had 2.15 metres left which is less than what it says you’ll need in the instructions, but so far I’ve always ended up with leftover fabric when I’ve bought the amount it says in the instructions, so I thought I’d just go for it anyway.
It was touch and go. I very quickly realised that I wouldn’t be able to fit all the pattern pieces on the fabric along the fold as indicated. After a lot of moving pieces around and trying all kinds of arrangements I tried turning the back top piece upside down and taking it off the fold. This meant I would have two separate pieces when cut rather than just the one piece for the back of the top, but at least that way I could manage to fit everything. So I added seam allowance to this piece (where it was supposed to line up with the fold) because I would have to join these two pieces together and it worked!
This wouldn’t have worked on a directional print but because the pattern is random it didn’t matter that I cut the back top piece out upside down. And I don’t mind that I now have a seam line running down the centre back of the top. Rather that than not being able to fit everything.
I had read on a couple of sewing blogs that double gauze frays a lot and most people recommended finishing seams either with an overlocker or with French seams. I don’t have an overlocker, so French seams it was. I’m so glad I followed this advice! The fabric really did fray an awful lot. I hadn’t done French seams in a while so on a couple of bits (like the pockets) it took me a while to get my head around what went where to do the French seams but I got there in the end. I got a bit muddled up on the sleeves and they now have a line of stitching on the outside that’s not as per the pattern but it doesn’t look wrong, so not the end of the world.
Here it is and I have to say I’m really pleased with it!
I think it’s my favourite thing I’ve made so far. I could have probably added a bit more length, but I think it’s just about OK. One of the reason why I was excited about making a Bettine was because I have a shop bought dress that is quite similar to this and that I really liked in the shop but on reflection is just a bit too short for me so I hardly ever wear it. And also, pockets!
I don’t think there are many dresses that wouldn’t be improved by having pockets. No more being stuck in the corridor at work after leaving my pass on my desk because I’m wearing a dress and couldn’t clip it on to anything. No? Just me? Ah well…
I have another fabric that I bought with this pattern in mind, but I’m worried it’s slightly see through so I think I’ll have to line it. I’ve never added lining to a pattern. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do that? Any pointers would be gratefully received!