As I was telling you about a few posts ago, on the 28th November, the lovely Charlotte and Sophie at Badger & Earl, a sewing cafe in Chiswick (West London), invited Elisalex from By Hand London, Rachel of House of Pinheiro, Jane from Handmade Jane and your truly to come for a fun day of social sewing in their shop. The brief was to choose a pattern they stock and fabric and make it there and then.
Now, I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun that was! I mean, what’s not to love: unlimited tea & coffee, cake (and healthier snacks too), delicious lunch and best of all, chatting to some amazing ladies, about… wait for it… SEWING! And of course, sewing :).
Here I am amidst the creative chaos… I must say I felt right at home, ha ha! Although it’s a bit weird to sew outside your own environment, especially on a different sewing machine, I loved that they had really good quality tools (which they provide for all their workshops, btw, and you can also buy in the shop). I especially love the Fiskars cutting tools, especially the little embroidery scissors.
No, what were we all making? Jane chose the Mortmain, one of her TNT patterns (she actually teaches the pattern at Badger & Earl, check out the next class here). Rachel also used a TNT, the Bruyere, which she hacked into a dress. Elisalex and I realy went for it, choosing new (to us) patterns, the Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over It for her and the Bettine dress from Tilly & the Buttons for me. The big reveal at the end of the post.
So a little bit about my Bettine. I had never made a paper Tilly & the Buttons pattern before (just the Mimi blouse from the Love at First Stitch book). So I was really excited to try it, plus I ended up choosing this lush Merchant & Mills indigo linen. The fabric is amazing, heavy, stable and so so easy to sew. The only downside is that it crinkles like nobody’s business, but doesn’t all linen? I got to take it home before the Sewathon and prewashed (Elisalex guilt tripped me into it), and also copied the pattern and cut it all beforehand. So on the day, I only needed to construct the dress. I also wanted to use some contract fabric for the sleeve cuff and the pocket sacks, and I was hoping I can nick some from the other ladies. And as it happened, Jane had a little navy polkadot cotton left over, so I used it. You now me, I like a bit of recycling.
Bettine came together really, here we are halfway through, taking pictures for Social Media before we paused for lunch.
And here I am putting the pockets together.
All in all, it was really great fun and here we are with out (almost) finished products and Charlotte (left) and Sophie (right), the lovely ladies from Badger & Earl. Elisalex unfortunately had to dash off before the end of the day.
I took my Bettine home to give her the last finishing touches, and I also took a few more detailed pictures for you to have a better idea of what the dress looked like, plus a few more standard review details. The pics are really not the best, in spite of my doing the best to sort them out in Lightroom. The weather in December in London is just not appropriate for taking blog pictures!! Plus really bad hair day :(.
Pattern: Bettine Dress – Tilly & the Buttons (paper pattern) (as a disclaimer, I got the pattern for free from Badger & Earl, but I traced it and returned it back to them).
Fabric: Merchant & Mills indigo linen from Badger & Earl, 2m; a scrap of navy polka-dot cotton
Trimmings: Fusible interface for collar facing; woven elastic, 70 cm (all from Badger & Earl); 2 pearl snap buttons (from my stash)
I cut a size 4, which was exactly right for my hip measurements. Being a pear shape, that’s where my problems lie usually, so that’s what I’m most concerned about. Nothing more annoying than finishing something and realising it’s perfect everywhere else, but can’t get it over my hips. Besides, Bettine has an elasticated waist, so it would be easy to adjust of it was too big. I felt however that even size 4 would not be enough to accommodate my lower half, so I ended up sewing it all with 0.6-0.7 cm seam allowance (a bit over the overlocked edge) just to be sure.
It all came together really easily, the instructions are very clear and since they are meant for beginners, I really had no trouble following them. I didn’t refer to them very much, except the cuff of the sleeves, just to make sure I’m doing it the way it was meant to be.
What I like the most about Bettine are the little details, like the cuff and the pockets, especially with contrasting fabric. I used a snap button instead of real buttons, as the tabs are decorative and don’t need to open, and I didn’t have any non-shank buttons that would have worked.
The dress is now back with Badger & Earl to keep in their window for display, but I now have a copy of the pattern and I am definitely thinking of making another version ready for warmer weather next year (whenever that happens!).