A Mother’s Day Bettine

A Mother’s Day Bettine

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On the morning of Mother’s Day my daughter produced the most beautiful handmade card (I have 18 years worth kept in a treasured pile in my bedside drawer). She also gave me a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine paper pattern. I was absolutely thrilled as it was pinned into my Pinterest ‘Stuff I want to make folder’ about a year ago. It’s also lovely to have a paper pattern as I often use the PDF style and there is something a little more luxurious about a paper pattern.

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I had ear marked a vintage fabric that I had found in an antique centre so I was ready to go. It is a thick polyester, has a good drape and it was £5 for 3 yards! I don’t know why but I agonised over which size to make. Possibly because the fabric had absolutely no ‘give’ to it what-so-ever but also because of the design. I didn’t know how roomy I wanted my finished garment measurements to be. My actual measurement being size 3, I decided to make size 4 as I hate my clothes being too tight.

Cutting out was easy as its a really thick quality paper but the fabric I had chosen was a complete nightmare. It frayed, it moved, no stretch (at all) and because I bought it as a vintage one off, I knew I only had just enough. No mistakes, no pockets, concentrate….

My first mistake was sewing the skirt pieces the wrong way round (I wasn’t concentrating and hadn’t bothered lining up the notches). Thank goodness the thick polyester was very forgiving when unpicked!! Sewn back the right way and fabric aside, the pattern was a pleasure to make. I had cut out the size 4 skirt and it made me look like I should be coming in at 2:1. Was it possible my hips could look that wide…clearly yes. I looked at the pattern and you could clearly see that it bulged on the pattern too. I graded the skirt down to a 3 in the middle, a new couple of seams and the skirt fitted perfectly. I also had originally cut it 2″ longer as I had done some research and a rather short skirt was one of the complaints.

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I will definitely be making this pattern again but not with temperamental fabric like this!! I shall make the pocket version next time and I shall make one in a stretch fabric too. I read on Tilly Blog that you don’t have to change the pattern for jersey fabric, although it’s best not to make pockets as they can look a bit saggy!

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A New Look in Coral

A New Look in Coral

Whilst on a shopping trip to Lincoln, I muttered those immortal words ‘I just want to pop in the fabric shop, won’t be long’ (yeah right). It amuses me that he still believes me when I say this or maybe he’s just resigned to the truth! Anyway, there I am in Fabric Corner, doing my usual fabric stroking and I spotted this pretty coral floral viscose. Extremely soft and a wonderful drape, I bought 2 metres of it having no idea whatsoever what I was going to make. I always buy 2 metres and it always seems to be more than enough!

The last two dresses that I made were Colette Laurels but I find a high neck style doesn’t particularly suit me. I’ve wanted to make a scoop neck dress for ages and was thrilled when my daughter bought me the Tilly Bettine pattern for Mother’s Day! I cannot wait to make it but I wanted some practice using interfacing first. Rifling through my ever growing pattern stash, I came across the New Look 6803.  I originally bought it planning to chop off the pattern and make a top but decided on dress B in a size 10.

Cutting out the fabric was quite tricky as I always use a rotary cutter and this fabric moved very easily. It was good experience though and didn’t put me off, I just put more pins in and that seemed to do the trick. When cutting the sleeves out, I decided that they were too short and I would prefer longer ones. I only had a small amount of fabric left but recut the sleeves and added some length, having no idea if it would work. It worked perfectly, thank goodness!

It’s the first time that I have used facing on a neck line and I was a tad worried about it. I needn’t have as it was far easier than I expected. In hindsight the fabric being very floppy made it hang strangely so I should have made it a bit deeper to ‘tuck down’. Instead I just did a line of top stitching close to the neckline which was remedy enough.


What went well

I’m really pleased with the end result and fit, it’s so comfortable and soft. I will definitely make this pattern again and I will also try a top too as the scoop neckline is perfect for me.

Even better if

I’m tempted to make a belt to try with the dress as it will make it more flattering being cinched in at the waist.

A Couple Of Laurels

A Couple Of Laurels

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It is because I have always wanted a shift dress that I decided to make my first Laurel. I chose the Colette Shift dress pattern and printed it PDF style and methodically cut off the strips and stuck all the bits together. In my rather extensive stash I had a lovely purple tartan in a fairly light and slightly stretchy fabric that I had purchased from Fabric Corner in Lincoln

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I found the pattern easy to follow but although I payed particular attention to the finished garment size, the end product was really roomy waist down. I took a little bit more off the seam (about 1/2″ each side) and that was enough. I also found the neckline rather high for my taste so I shaved 1/2″ off the front too.  I really enjoyed the fiddly bit of fitting the sleeves and the end result of the neat little sleeve was worth all the pinning. I wore my first attempt to a friends birthday bash and was so pleased, I went straight on to make my second.

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I wanted my next one to be more structured so I used a cotton poplin that I had bought from Coolcrafting. It is an exquisite shade of grey and reminded me a little bit of Liberty fabric!

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Cutting out was a breeze and because of the previous sizing issue,  I graded the pattern one size smaller below the waist. I have no idea why, but this time it really gaped at the back on the neckline. I was so frustrated because it hadn’t happened before !! A quick emergency text to my sister in law and it was decided that I should put a couple of ‘garment saving’ darts in the back. Hey presto, they worked thank goodness… panic over, or so I thought.

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Using the poplin which is quite stiff and doesn’t drape that well made it really quite shapeless and I began to wonder if I would ever wear it. Out popped the scissors and before you could say ‘shapeless shift dress’ it was a top and I’m much happier with the result. in fact…I wore it all day !!

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Will I make another Laurel ? I most certainly will but I will use fabrics with draping properties and I’m going to lower the neckline a bit more. I will also try to sort out the gaping neckline by adjusting the pattern.

My First Pattern !

My First Pattern !

I first made some clothes when I was a hormonal teenager. One night I decided that I needed a new hoody, had a look at my sisters, rummaged in my mums rather extensive fabric stash and then I made it. It was navy blue and I wore it until it fell off me. When I look back, I’m really not sure how I did it but now as a grown up (pulls a face) I have always wanted to follow a pattern and quite like the idea of ‘me made every day’.

My twenties were a blur of babies and house renovating, I started seriously quilting in my early thirties and now here I am, gulp, in my forties. Its my sister-in-law who really inspired me to give it a go. She was already writing a very successful blog which I always avidly read and every time I see her she has the most fantastic collection of beautifully made clothes. Let just say that she is rocking ‘me made every day’.

So about 18 months ago, I bought my first pattern  The Colette Dahlia. Now I know what you’re thinking, probably not the easiest of patterns to start off with (which I now realise) but I have always been very optimistic!

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I had a beautiful Liberty fabric D’Anjo which I had purchased from Shaukat some time before. I cut it all out and painstakingly marked all the darts and notches, sewed the bodice together, read the instructions about the yoke and then… nothing… I stopped… I was scared. What if it didn’t fit me?  What if, gasp, it looked like I had made it?  I never thought these things when I was 16, sewing stretch fabric with no pattern. I’m ashamed to say that the result of these thought’s were the pattern pieces and partly made bodice being slung over the back of my chair, for over a year.

January 2016 something happened to me. I think it was a combination of Instagram and all the inspirational pictures, my sister-in-law came to visit and I tried on some of her new makes and finally I just really felt like I needed to get stuck into something new. I was ready.

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I used The Colette Dahlia Sewalong quite a bit because I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really struggle with reading instructions and actually seeing all the different stages helps it to make sense.  I actually really quite enjoyed making the yoke and managed to catch all of the inside with the topstitching (which you are supposed to).

My proudest moment was making my own bias binding. I used the Continuous Bias Binding method demonstrated here by Colette. It really seems to give the dress a good finish and I didn’t want to use a solid colour to detract from the beautiful liberty fabric.

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What Went Well

Considering its my first ‘proper’ make, I’m really pleased with the general fit and yoke sits really well. The tana lawn was a dream to cut out and to sew and you really can’t beat the feeling of wearing something that you have made from beginning to end.

Even Better If

My first attempt at a hidden zip leave a lot to be desired so lets just say I have been wearing a cardigan with it. I realise my error though and have bought a proper invisible zipper foot which will fix the problem . If I make it again I would also like to splice out some of the back pattern piece as the neckline is a little bit ‘roomy’.

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