Ponte Bettine


I made a dress! Another striped dress. Let’s not count how many striped things I might have in my closet, m’kay? (A lot.) 

This is the new Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress. It’s my first Tilly pattern, and she’s nailed her demographic – this was super simple to make. Would it be better with a  few more details? Well, yes, maybe. More on that later!


The pattern calls for a lightweight woven, but I chose a ponte because I thought it would be perfect for the tulip/pencil skirt shape. To make it from a knit, I made a few changes:

  • cut back the neckline 5/8″ish so that I could finish it with a folded band (which basically replaced that width)
  • used a wide folded band for the sleeve cuffs, serged on with the seam to the outside, which is then hidden when the cuff is folded up (I find this stuff so hard to explain – I could never write pattern instructions!) 
  • cut one of the two pocket pieces from rayon jersey for less bulk. Next time I’d do the pocket bag more like jeans, with only the little part you can see made from ponte, and the whole rest of the pocket bag from something light.
  • top-stitched the pocket bag to the skirt because it wouldn’t hang flat
  • lengthened the skirt an inch so I could do a deep hem. If you are taller than my 5’2″, you might need to lengthen it a lot!
  • The dress is meant to have a 1 1/4″ seam at the waist, which folds up to make elastic casing like on a Saltspring. I hate elastic casing, so I cut off an inch on the bodice and skirt, and serged elastic to the seam instead.

front Collage

Let’s talk fit, shall we? I cut the largest size skirt and 2nd largest size in the bodice. In the end, I sewed the bodice as is, but took almost 1″ off the sides seams to make the skirt snug. This shape of skirt looks so horrible when it’s loose, I find – it’s got to have the body supporting it.

I mentioned that this pattern was really simple – simple in a very clever way! I bet the ponte highlights some fit issues that a lovely drapey woven would hide. For example, the skirt is identical in front and back but could really benefit from some darts for shaping in the back. Similarly, the front bodice could use a curved hem to add length over the bust, like the Comino Cap pattern has. If I was a beginner though, I’d be totally happy with how the pattern fits. The instructions are SUPER hand-hold-y helpful. If someone was learning to sew this would be a great pattern!

The most distinctive part of the pattern is the skirt, which has a dramatic hip curve that looks like this:


Wowza, right? Let’s put it this way: If you have a smooth, balanced hourglass figure, this curve is perfect for you. If you have indentations on your hip line where underwear sit, or your bones/flesh protrude, you might have issues. I carved away some of the curve at the high hip… and next time I might make more space for the widest part of my hip, which is very low down. (Yes, yes, go look, then come back! 😉 

Warning: Pirates may chase after your booty in this dress!  

Booty Collage

In truth, I was quite disappointed in the skirt when I first finished it. But surprise, surprise (actually, seriously, surprise), my husband likes the skirt best of all! He’s not a fan of the blousey bodice, though…


As a pattern for knits, I think it works well – but I’m not sure of the ideal weight of fabric. The ponte is good for the skirt but heavy for the top; light jersey *might* not hold the shape of the skirt well? I think my perfect version might be a ponte skirt with contrast jersey top.

For my next version though, I’ve got some dark teal rayon knit and I’m planning on making the neckline slouchy and casually off one shoulder. WIll it work? Who knows! That’s why cheap jersey exists, right?

skirt Collage

Have you sewn a Tilly pattern before? Any interest in Bettine, in knits or woven? Be honest! I know it’s not for everyone!

PS. I’m going to be in Ottawa all day Friday and Montreal on Saturday and Sunday to meet some sewcialists… anyone local wanna join up?

31 thoughts on “Ponte Bettine

  1. that hip curve would rule me out– my curve is 99% in the back ;))

    isn’t it funny what bits our men like? so, are you going to make just the skirt portion, to drive your guy further wild?


    1. Truly, and this seems odd even to me, I’d never thought of my bootie as an asset. I’m always focus on the top half! Definitely time to rethink that though! 😉 Never to late to shake it!


  2. Most of my hip measurement in on my backside, so I think the hip curve would need significant re-drawing for myself. I do think this is a cute pattern (and really it’s the first Tilly pattern that I’ve thought was my style), but it’s also one that I would “draft” myself rather than buy. I’ve taken the hemlock tee and altered it a bit and added a skirt for a very similar look. I think this would look great in a thicker knit (bamboo or modal perhaps?) rather than ponte. Regardless, it’s a cute casual dress; love the stripes!


    1. Honestly, I’m not sure who has that much side curve and no shaping in the back? Lots of versions I’ve seen look cute on people though – I think it’s the drapey fabric making magic happen. (Which doesn’t explain why I chose ponte!)
      I think a Hemlock with pencil skirt would be a great alternative! I love pretty much anything made with bamboo jersey, so that is definitely a good suggestion!


  3. Looking good! I agree that the skirt needs a bit more body. I made mine in rayon challis and I feel like the tulip skirt will look nicer in something a bit stiffer.


    1. I thought your skirt looked great! I think it’s particularly in a stiff knit like this that the baggy skirt looked horrific. In a light fabric, drape makes everything look good! It was a nice pattern to sew though – I enjoy doing this style of pockets, because it’s just enough detail, and then blam! A few seams more and you are done!


    1. I don’t mind stripe matching in a knit, because if things get a bit misaligned, you can just stretch one side to make it line up again! In a woven though, that’s no fun!


  4. I like how you’ve adapted the pattern so it works for you. Be sure to check out Fabrications for bamboo knits when you’re in Ottawa. I was so pleased with the quality of their fabric that I purchased a year ago in August.


    1. Ooh, do they have bamboo??? Sweet! I’ve been in the store only once, and it seems really nice – I’ll definitely make time this trip! Thanks!


  5. I love stripes!! I agree with your hubby – the skirt is awesome. I can’t wait to see your modified version, and I’m interesting to see this version in a different fabric too. Hope you have lots of fun this weekend! I wish I could be there too!


    1. I wish you could join us too! It’s my first time going to Montreal, although when I looked up driving routes on the map I realised that the town where my grandma grew up is really, really close to the city outskirts, so apparently I’ve been very close! You were there earlier this year for your son’s grad, right? Any advice?


    1. I”m happy to have finally used this fabric up! I got it from Girl Charlee and it’s pure polyester – I could never figure out what to do with it! At least now it’s not taking up precious room in my stash shelf (just in my cupboard!)
      For my second version I played with the curve a bit, and I think it’s fitting better!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This ponte reminded me why I like rayon knits so much in the summer – the moment I put this dress on, I start to sweat! Pure polyester, baby… so I guess this is a fall/spring dress only!


  6. I think ponte is a smart substitution, plus it’s so absurdly comfortable to wear while looking ultra stylish. The stripe play is a great detail too. Sheesh, that is some hip curve. My hips are really flat at the side seam…all of my curve is in my inner thigh, making RTW pants an exercise in frustration. I wonder if some of the darting was transferred into the elastic waist. Is the elastic just hanging out serged to the waist seam, or did you stitch it down after you serged it?


    1. My elastic just “hangs out”, no top stitching it down. I’ve usually used picot or FOE elastic, since it’s narrow and soft, but I recently got a massive spool of cheap plush lingerie elastic, so I’ll be using that for years! I just serge it into the seam without letting the blade cut the elastic. Do you have a favourite way to add elastic to waist seams?


  7. I really like your version. You look fab in it! That hip curve would never work for me. My widest measurement is lower than my hip. I’ve tried knit slim skirts like this and always hate how it highlights that part of my shape. Also, your haircut is awesome!


    1. I’ve got the low bootie too! I made my sister a pair of jeans this summer, and I couldn’t believe how differently shaped our hips are, even though we have the same measurements!


  8. Your stripy goodness version is amazing!!!
    Love Tilly, every pattern she comes out with I lust over and love seeing other peoples adaptations….Yet I’ve never bought a pattern 😛 I think you’re right she has a very specific market and I don’t really fit it but I am dangerously close to buying the Agnes pattern!!! After reading all the bootie/hip talk I’ve crossed this pattern off. Too much bootie for the dress to handle…and I’m so lazy when it comes to altering patterns 🙂


  9. When I saw this pattern released, I definitely thought it was a pass for me. I thought it looked like it would mostly flatter a smaller hipped figure because the skirt looked a bit sack like and shapeless to me. It’s also a very simple design and while that can be great (I love the Coco) it feels a bit basic to me on this dress.
    That said, I love your version in ponte. It really made me look twice at the pattern. It looks like a really great basic dress with your modifications and the stripes are great. I still don’t think I’d buy the pattern as even with all your modifications, it sounds like I’d still have to do more adjusting. There must be a pattern similar already drafted for knits out there.
    I look forward to seeing what you make with this pattern next.


  10. Wowza! This dress looks great! Hubs is right…the skirt looks hot! And can we talk about these pics? AWESOME! You must be using a 50mm lens to get that blurred background..You look great Gillian!


  11. I’m looking forward to trying this pattern out- it seems like a nice everyday dress. I’ll probably do it in a woven and I think I’ll straighten out the skirt. I like your knit version! If I wore knits very often, I would try it myself. 🙂


  12. That’s a really cute dress on you! I get why your hubby likes it. 🙂 Personally, I’m not sure about baggy tops/bodices, I’ve always hated the look on me when I tried it…


  13. Hi gorgeous! I had to come and visit yours too (saw your note on the Curvy Collective blog)… I thought it strange the front and back skirt patterns pieces are the same (if you don’t do the pocket version) and the front/back bodice too. My body shape suits it MUCH more than I thought it would, but I’m not sure about the pocketed version, will have to try. And my first time sewing a Tilly pattern too!


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