One of my first thoughts after sewing my first Bettine dress, was, ‘I bet this would be a cracking dress in a knit’. So when Tilly started to reveal on Instagram that she had made Bettine out of a knit, & that she started the thinking for me by showing how the neck facing is replaced by a neckband (of course! simples!) I charged ahead. The knit Bettine dress would be even more of a constant wear than my chambray version which to be honest gets a bit too comfy in the ironing pile.
And when Girl Charlee UK contacted me to offer me some fabric to try out, well it was a match made in heaven. Until this point I had of course heard about the US Girl Charlee, but tucked that gem away for interest – I had no idea that we were getting a full blown UK store, so I was eager to give them a go. Because an online store specialising in knit fabric? Oh I am so there! Loads of collections, of course I go straight for florals but there is the biggest & funkiest ponte roma selection I think I have seen in one place! I chose this teal oriental floral jersey (temporarily out of stock I hope) & when it arrived I was really pleased with the quality, the colour & how it would work as either a dress or top. But Bettine it was to be. (Without pockets)
So here are the things I did to adapt a woven Bettine to a knit Bettine. Tilly has some tips here too including measurements & process for adding a neckband. I made most of my Bettine using my overlocker (serger) but there are some steps that need a regular machine. I will point these out too, but you may have your own thoughts about how you would do it.
I added clear elastic to the shoulder seams, I always do it for knits, it’s in my genes now I think, as it supports the seam which has to carry a bit of weight & avoids stretching out of shape. i think!
Of course the neckband is a difference, but use Tilly’s guide and you will be fine.
I kept the tabs at the sleeves, but sewed these using a regular machine with a straight stitch- it’s not as if these will suffer any stretch during use, they are just decorative really.
I think the part of the dress I was most conscious of sewing was the elastic casing. Joining the bodice to the skirt can of course be done on your overlocker, but not the next step in making the casing out of the seam allowance. You need to use a narrow zig zag.
On the inside it looks like this
And what about on a real person? Looking at how this fits me I think I should have done an SBA as the creases at my shoulders disappear when I pretend I have bigger boobs. (NO- not with socks in my bra!)
She loves it, you know!
So might you be tempted to try a knit Bettine dress? It really is the perfect combo of comfort, style & lazy washing!!!! This one does not languish in my ironing pile & has not seen the iron since it was made…..