Marsha makes a statement with her summer dress!
The British summer is now finally upon us, and it’s time to wear those lovely summer dresses we’ve been making while we dream about the sun.
I love to stand out, it’s one thing that draws me to making my own clothes. It means I can be as loud as I wish and choose fabrics that represent me.
When planning my blog post this month, I wanted a fun make that would help brighten the mood while we waited for the sun. I had seen this amazing Glow Lily Organic cotton jersey in black while looking for last month’s fabric and I just knew I would be making something with it in the future as its very me. I am obsessed with bees, but since the great British sewing bee, who isn’t in love with bees in the sewing world
I have been planning a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress in jersey fabric for a while. I made the Bettine in woven fabric a while ago and it’s a great go to basic beginners’ pattern but I never see that as a draw back. I sew a pattern because I love the style and not if it’s at my sewing level. I find with every make, even on the easier patterns, you will learn something new. Either with techniques or with fitting issues or down to learning about a fabric.
Bettine is a woven dress pattern for those that aren’t familiar with the pattern. Its relaxed style with the elastic waist casing, means it transfers to jersey fabric really well. I did my research before starting and read Tilly’s tips on turning Bettine into a jersey dress.
The only change in the pattern is the facings. I worked with jersey and instead of facing the bodice neckline, you make a neckband. Tilly’s blog gave the measurements for the neckband for each size but I already knew how to make my own if needed. When making a neckband you measure the length of the neck opening, you cut a 2 inch wide strip and use 75% of the neck opening as your length. This then gives you enough stretch to make your neckband fit nicely. When picking your fabric keep in mind the stretch and recovery, if your main fabric doesn’t have a 30 / 40% stretch and excellent recovery you will need to pick a contrasting fabric.
I followed the Bettine pattern, apart from the neckband. Tilly suggests you use the “Agnes” top pattern instructions for how to attach the neckband. I have made the Agnes before but I have used alternative methods from other patterns that I am more comfortable with so went with that method instead. I used 3/8” seam allowance for the band instead of 5/8” as I like my neckband a little wider. When stretching the band to fit the neckline, I mark the band with clips at the centre front and back and then again in-between those. This helps with stretching the band evenly. Then I mark the centre, front and back on the bodice with clips. I then find the middle point between those two markings. The easiest way to do this, is by bringing the centre and back markings together then the two outside ends are your in-between markings. Note that these markings will not be the shoulder seam. You have four even marks to match up with the neckband when stretching the neckband to fit. It’s a method that works really well for me and I find my neckbands turn out perfect using this method.
I used my walking foot for the very first time on jersey fabric with this make. I had it set up from a previous project, and thought it would be a great time to give it a go. I top stitched my neckband with a twin needle and the walking foot and I must say this is my best neckband I have ever done. The only changes to the pattern I made were that I sized down from a size 4 in the bodice half to a 3 in the skirt pattern. I did this by tapering in at the hips. I made my woven Bettine in this sizing a while ago and thought I would see how the jersey would work. As it’s more relaxed, I feel that on my next jersey Bettine I could just make a plain size 3 as the bodice is a little roomy.
I had fun working out the placement of the bees because I didn’t want them to be the centre focus point due to their large scale. The floral pattern is what I wanted to use as my centre focus which I feel then allows the bees to blend in. I am very pleased with the overall outcome of this dress. I am already planning another but this fabric what can I say, I want it navy now. I also have my eyes on the other bee prints. I can see a burgundy bee Bettine with tights and boots working well in the winter. The drape on this fabric is lovely and it’s so soft to wear. It’s bold, bright and fun but that’s what summer is about.
I have my parents over from Australia at the moment, so I am off to go enjoy the sunshine with them while it lasts and hide my sewing room from my mum making sure my fabric stash doesn’t go walking into her suitcase.
Until next time, “Bee” bold and have fun with your fabric!