Dressmaking in my spare time: how to make a top from the Bettine Dress

When I made my first Bettine Dress by  Tilly and the Buttons last summer the thing I liked about it most was the bodice: I liked the scoop neck (nice but not too low), the all in one sleeves, and the cute turn up cuffs. I like the way it fits too, loose enough to look casual but not too baggy. So… I thought it might look good as a top on its own. With a few simple adjustments it worked! I’ve written a sort of ‘how to’ guide

To start with I made a new copy of the front and back bodice pattern pieces on tracing paper.

– Measure how much longer you want the top to be, and add 1.5 cm to this measurement. (This is to make the hem). Add this measurement to the centre fold side of the pattern, front and back.

– Measure around yourself at the point you want the top to come down to. I measured loosely so that the top wouldn’t be too tight. Add 3cm to this measurement ( this is to give you a seam allowance.)

– Divide this measurement by 4. From the bottom of the centre fold draw a line towards the side seam to the width you want. 

– Grade the side seam towards the new hem line. Transfer the pattern markings to your new top pattern pieces.

– For example: I wanted my top to be 10cm longer, so I added 11.5cm to the length of the bodice at the centre. I measured around myself, at the right length which was just on my hip. My hip measurement is 95cm so I added 3cm and divided by 4 to give a pattern piece measurement of 32.6cm at the hemline width. I then drew the new hem line on the pattern pieces and graded the original side seam down to my new hip length and width.

– Cut out your fabric and make the bodice, but just adding a simple hem at the bottom, by pressing up .5cm and then 1cm. 

I hope this makes sense! If you need to ask me any questions please leave a comment and I will do my best to help. 

I’ve made two tops now based on the Bettine bodice, one in a floral cotton lawn and another, cut slightly longer, out of pink gingham. I have plans to make quite a few more! I’d love to see if you do make one, leave a comment on here or tag me on Instagram or Twitter.

(Here I am posing slightly awkwardly in my summery pink gingham top!)

Teresa X 


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