Light as a thistle: Bettine dress

I’ve been watching the Bettine dress by Tilly and the Buttons popping up on the internet, and I thought I would add to the examples as it seemed the perfect dress for our upcoming summer. In the meantime, I took it to India.   DSC05332

I wore it on my recent visit to the Taj Mahal. It was a hot day and this dress was cool and oh so comfortable to wear.

No visit to the Taj is complete without imitating Princess Diana on that bench. I couldn’t get the sad face going though.


The Taj is pretty small – look, I can pinch the brass spire between my fingers (used to be gold, but the British took it all, so now it’s brass).DSC05343

OK, I’d better talk about the dress. This is a very simple shift-like dress with pockets and an elastic casing at the waist. I made it exactly as per the pattern and it fitted brilliantly. This is an easy pattern for beginners and the instructions are very explicit and easy to follow (even though I didn’t really follow them!) The fabric was a scrappy old remnant from Potters, but I’ve seen it advertised at Tessuti. It is a soft, fine, cotton lawn with a lovely thistle pattern all over it, and it truly is as light as a thistle. I couldn’t get the sleeves out on grain, so the thistles run sideways on both sleeves. I quite like the effect. I didn’t know if I would like having the elastic at the waist, but it was fine. Gave me a bit of a silhouette so that has to be good. I was truly thrilled to get a whole dress made from this fabric as it had big chunks cut out of it and even a rip or two. When I bought it I thought I might get enough for a woven t-shirt, but it’s amazing what you can do with a bit of jigsawing. The hat is one I made last summer and which is still working well at keeping the sun off me (blogged here).

Given that I am posting photos from the Taj Mahal, I thought I’d include some extras. There are four gates to the Taj, one for each wife (three) and one for guests (never used but built for symmetry). These are beautiful, so deserve a mention.


I realised later that I didn’t take a close up shot of the flowers, so I cropped them out of another photo. These are all carved into the marble and then inlaid with semi precious stones. At night the red stone glows in the dark, and the white marble can appear blue in a full moon.


I couldn’t take any photos inside the Taj Mahal, so here is a picture nicked from Wikipedia ( showing some of the more intricate inlay work. The inside is full of this stunning workmanship.


We had to wear shoe covers to protect the marble, and the outside of the building is regularly covered in mud which is allowed to dry and fall off. This absorbs moisture and impurities from the atmosphere to maintain the whiteness of the marble. All factories surrounding the Taj Mahal have been closed or moved to reduce the pollution around it.

As a lover of chevrons, I had to show this bit of marble work. It looks as though there are six faces on this pillar, but there are only three. The inlay work in the marble is truly breathtaking, and I have a notion that I have not done any of it justice.DSC05360-2

This is a dome outside the building. Can you spot Einstein’s face in the marble? Pretty cool huh?


The gardens are really beautiful and there were monkeys everywhere. The squirrels were pretty prolific too, and I love the way they spread out flat on the trees. DSC05362

Followers on Facebook and IG will have already seen this shot – a real tourist shot of the Taj!


So the Taj Mahal is now officially off my bucket list, although I have a sudden urge to see it at night…


21 thoughts on “Light as a thistle: Bettine dress

  1. I have been thinking of buying this pattern Sue, and your version has tipped me over the edge. Love your fabric choice, it looks very pretty and summery. How do you think this would work in a knit fabric? Love your exotic backdrop…it’s very hard to keep up with you 🙂

  2. Beautiful little dress – you really picked the right fabric. And thanks for sharing those pictures. Visiting India is still on my to-do list!

  3. What a beautiful dress – the fabric and style are just gorgeous. I don’t think you could have selected a better outfit as foreground to the Taj Mahal.

  4. That’s the best picture of the Taj Mahal that I’ve seen so far; all fun and light 🙂 And you know, I usually detest elastic waisted anything-that-isn’t-pjamas, but that Bettine looks so elegant that I may have to review that opinion.

  5. Great to see the details of the Taj Mahal again. I went with The Management over 30 years ago when you could pretty much do what you wanted. No suggestion of shoe covers then!
    Your dress looks perfect for the occasion.

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