This is a tale of two dresses. The first one, pictured on the left, can be read about in this blog post. Today I will tell you about making the linen version.
I have had this Anna Maria Horner linen for a few years and have been looking for the right dress to make with it. After my success making the Bettine dress, I immediately decided to make another with the linen.
I cut it out as I did the first dress, except this time I cut the skirt 4" longer. Everything was going great until I was nearly finished and tried it on. The waist hit me all wrong and it felt stiff. Then I remembered I had not pre-washed my fabric. So before I went any further, I washed it on the gentle cycle and let it hang to dry. Remarkably, this fabric did NOT shrink at all!
The next day I picked the waist seam apart from the skirt and tried on 4 different occassions to get it to fit better.
I finally went back to the original waist seam allowance and decided that the linen fabric just does not have the ability to relax and give as the double gauze did in my first dress. I did some creative cutting and piecing so that I could match the pocket bag to the skirt front, but didn't bother matching the skirt to the bodice. I didn't have enough fabric for that.
I have some beautiful Aurifil linen thread gifted to me by Alex Veronelli. I used it to topstitch the neckline, sleeve hem and skirt hem. It adds a perfect finishing touch.
The conclusion to this tale is that I have a nice looking dress, but it is not as comfy as the first one and definitely does not fit as well. The top does not blouse as nicely as the first dress. It gives the appearance of a top tucked into a skirt. The next one (yes there will be a third Bettine dress) I will make the full bust adjustment. The 13 year old Diane would never believe that 50 years later I would have to make a "full bust adjustment"!
Pattern: Bettine Dress by Tilly and the Buttons
Fabric: Parenthetical Feathers in Potpourri / Ivory by Anna Maria Horner from stash.
Fit/Alterations: I used size 5, to get a good fit through the shoulders and bust.
- Bodice- I am short-waisted, so I shortened the waist length by 1".
- I also added 1-1/2" to the sleeve length.
- Skirt-Following The Quirky Peach's suggestion I moved skirt pieces 1" from "cut on fold" line, adding a total of 2" to the front and back (4" all over) due to complicated hip curve and pocket - I needed more room for my high, big butt, but didn't want to ruin the drafting by grading so far out. Gathered skirt slightly before attaching to bodice at waist.
- Lengthened skirt by 4" when cutting it out, then trimmed it to be 3" longer than the pattern suggests.
- Straightened skirt side seams so it goes straight down and doesn't curve in like a tulip skirt.
- Since linen frays more than other woven fabrics I finished the waist seam edges with an encased binding made from Kona cotton in a nuetral solid.
- To finish the sleeve and hemline I used a facing made from Kona cotton in a nuetral solid and topstitched it down, instead making the cuff.
- I also used this same solid to line the pockets and to make the neckline facing.