Holm Sown: Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress - Retro Cityscape Cotton Lawn by McElroy // front view

Tilly & The Buttons Bettine Dress – Retro Cityscape Lawn

You would be forgiven for thinking I’d taken these photos on an autumn evening, but no…these were taken on a somewhat chilly June morning which is why I’m looking a little cold – brrr!.  You’ve got to love the fickleness of a Scottish summer.

The pattern

This is the Bettine Dress by Tilly & The Buttons.  The Bettine has been crazy popular and if you take a look at the #sewingbettine hashtag on Instagram you’ll see just how much, and how versatile a pattern it is.

Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Sewing Pattern - Holm Sown

The Bettine is a pull-on dress with a looser fit bodice and elasticated waist.  It features kimono sleeves with turn up cuffs and optional sleeve tabs.  The tulip skirt can be made with or without roomy front hip pockets.

I made a size 6 which corresponded well to my body measurements.  This is meant to be a looser fit dress and you need to be able to pull it over your head so be wary about sizing down.  If you use the recommended lightweight fabrics then any excess will drape nicely.

Holm Sown: Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress - Retro Cityscape Cotton Lawn by McElroy // pocket detail

The fabric

This is Retro Cityscape Cotton Lawn, one of the new Lady McElroy luxury lawns that have just arrived in the shop.  These lawns are seriously dreamy to sew with and wear – I’m finding it hard to resist not taking a length of each of them!  It has such a funky design that looks like an aerial drawing of the countryside with fields and villages.  I love the pops of bright colour on the navy background.

Lady McElroy Retro Cityscape Luxury Cotton Lawn | dressmaking fabric | Holm Sown

The pattern gives a fabric requirement of 2m for all sizes.  I wanted to lengthen the skirt so I took 2.2m to pre-wash (I wasn’t going to take any chances with fabric as gorgous as this!).  In the end, even with lengthening the skirt, I only used 1.6m.  It is frustrating to have so much left over but at least it is a big enough piece to be useful.


This is actually the second time I’ve made this pattern (the first version is in the shop window made from a crepe) so I knew that it came up short!  The Cleo also was far too short on me so I guess this is an adjustment I’ll need to consider for any Tilly pattern.  I added 2.5″ to the length of the skirt at the hem.  I also decided to take out the tulip/peg shape of the skirt so I simply straightened the side seams from the bottom of the pocket to the hem.  I figured I could always re-peg it if I wanted once I tried it on (I didn’t).

To keep the length of the skirt and for a bit of fun I used wide bias binding in orange to hem the skirt.  I added the sleeve tabs to this version (I didn’t on the crepe version because the crepe had already tested my patience enough!) and finished them with fun bright yellow buttons.

Holm Sown: Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress - Retro Cityscape Cotton Lawn by McElroy // sleeve cuff and tab detail


Adding the length to this makes it a much more wearable dress for me.  This way I can wear it with bare legs on even the chilliest of summer days in Scotland.   The sizing has come out fine and I’d recommend going with your body measurements.  The big roomy pockets are fab and it was relatively quick to sew which is a bonus.

The Bettine is going to be included as an upcoming class, so if you’d like to make your own make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page and/or sign up to our newsletter so you get notified.  It is going to be a shared class with the Tilly & The Buttons Cleo dungaree dress (you can see my spotty denim version here) which will be a lot of fun.

Holm Sown: Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress - Retro Cityscape Cotton Lawn by McElroy

Total cost: £44.65

Fabric: Retro Cityscape Cotton Lawn 2.0 @ £14.60/m = £29.20

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress = £12.50

Notions: Thread (£1.85); 1m of 0.5″ elastic (£0.70); 2 buttons (£0.40) = £2.95