My First (Handmade) Dress

My First (Handmade) Dress

Ok, so this isn’t the first article of clothing I’ve made. I’ve made two pairs of the Margot PJ bottoms from Love at First Stitch, but I didn’t take photos of them. I’ve made two pairs in a light cotton and I’ve one flannel pair cut out ready to be sewn.

So for my first dress, and part of the 2017 Make Nine I made a Bettine Dress. I choose this pattern based on near universal feedback online that this was a great first beginners pattern. And it is.

I was nervous about making my first dress, and being me I made this harder for myself as I used a rayon. Yep first dress and I went with a slippery fabric; though while this did make it harder I did have a good reason for doing so. This is a long winded story so I will try to condense it.

Through the internet (internet how I love you) I found Gretchen Hirsch’s “New Blog for Better Sewing” which I devoured. I loved her style, her patterns, her books (which after borrowing from the Library I then brought) and well just everything really.  After following her on Instagram I found out she was doing an Australian tour. Now while I had missed out on the dressmakers workshops I did manage to get tickets to the “Sew and Tell” at Thread Den.

After getting a ticket I was determined to wear something “me-made”, now while I’m aware I’m not at the level of Gertie’s pattern I found her fabric collection at spotlight. I loved this rayon and brought the request amount.

I also gave myself one day to finish this dress including cutting out, which was a mistake. I made version 1 of the dress, which is the easiest without pockets or the button tabs. Tilly’s pattern are brilliantly written; at times it is like she is reading your mind. I’m very happy with the finished dress but I did make some mistakes.

  1. I didn’t cut the notches when cutting out so had to go back and do this (lesson: don’t rush)
  2. I hemmed the dress with the front facing down and went to fast, this there are a few snags but they are not noticeable to anyone but me (or so I was told at the Thread Den evening which was wonderful)
  3. The hem wasn’t straight so I had to re do it, twice at which point is was 11pm and I was tried so went to bed. The final attempt is ok.
Close up of the Sleeve, excuse the threads still to be cut

I love the dress, it feels amazing on and I’ve already got the COTTON fabric to make the next one, which will have pockets and buttons tabs but will have to be a June projects.








Meeting Gertie, my blazer lapel has gone all weird here, no idea why

Now the Fan Girl section of this post. Meeting Gertie was wonderful (She signed my Book) she is so amazingly stylish and gave me a tip as to which one of her dresses I should tackle first; from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book, the Floral Day Dress. It is a sleeveless dress though and as It almost winter here I will wait until Spring.





Additionally it was wonderful meeting so many sewist’s at The Thread Den Evening. Everyone was so kind, (I blushed when my dress was applauded as a first ever dress) and it was great to hear everyone talking about their Own Gertie Makes. Hearing everyone talk about their own makes, why they started sewing and (some) sewing disasters stories was lovely (I know it sounds like a cliché but it was). It was also great to be able to look at some of Gertie’s dresses close up. It was a lovely evening and a big thanks to ladies at Thread Den for putting on such a wonderful night.

Gertie Talking








Anyway back to Bettine; I will make this dress again, and I’ve had a load of fun looking up all the different hacks of the pattern people have come up with. I’ve booked marked a few of these to try as well.

Sewing Summary

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Bettine

Size: I’m a size 5,

Fabric: Gertie Scatter Rayon Print in Black from Spotlight

Thread: Black all purpose

Sewing Time: around 7 hours, but my next one should be quicker.

Difficulty: complete beginner

Fit: Near perfect thanks to an elasticated waist, though I did take an inch off the bottom as it looked too long on me

Remake?: Yep, see above

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