Hi all – a few weeks ago I (almost) made a Betty Dress – it has just taken me a few weeks to get round to blogging it after all the challenges of Indie Pattern Month at the Monthly Stitch. I am delighted that two of my recent makes were finalists in the challenges!
This is (slightly less than) the Betty Dress from Sewoverit. The pattern was released last year and I picked it up at the Sewbrum meet-up from Guthrie and Ghani.At the Leeds meet-up back in April I got this lovely Japanese blossom print from B&M Fabrics, in their new store outside the market. The fabric is a cotton poplin and the print comes in a few different colours including blue and purple. This is a pale silvery grey with pink blossoms. The same print is available on ebay here. Lisa at Sewoverit made a Betty dress using the exact same print here.
I started by making a muslin for the bodice. I cut a size 12 shoulder and bust, grading out to a 14 at the waist. The first version had some excess fabric just below the bust. I moved the waist dart over slightly and did a small SBA. This didn’t quite deal with the excess fabric so I made the dart curved to pull in a bit more fabric at the top. I may have overdone this slightly as I can’t quite get the top of the darts to lie flat but it did get rid of the final bit of excess.
I moved the shoulder seams forward about 1.5cm. I am still not absolutely certain about the forward shoulder adjustment – I don’t know if I need to make it bigger or do something slightly different – I am still working this out and I don’t think I am 100% there yet!
Finally I moved the shoulder straps in about 1.5cm as I found the boat neck slightly too wide for me. I didn’t want to be endlessly worrying about bra straps creeping out!
So, after a few days work on the bodice I was ready to cut out the lovely blossom fabric. Then when I went to lay out the pieces I realised that as the fabric is only 115cm wide there was no way that I would be able to cut the circle skirt out of the amount I had! I spent ages trying to work out if I could fold a bit out of the pattern pieces or cut them out of the flat fabric somehow but the skirt pieces are enormous and I also hadn’t considered that the print is directional.Eventually I had a brainwave and I used the half circle skirt from the Colette Hawthorn dress, with the front placket folded back. Amazingly this fit on my fabric with a bit to spare for future pocket linings and meant that I kept the blossom print the right way up. I think a half circle skirt still has a lovely swingy shape so I am perfectly happy with this compromise. The sewing gods were clearly on my side as the skirt fitted perfectly onto the Betty bodice! I didn’t have enough fabric to do a lot of work on pattern matching, but that wasn’t too much of an issue with this print.After all this drama the actual sewing was pretty straightforward. The fabric was very well-behaved – it presses beautifully, doesn’t fray much and has just enough body. I used my overlocker for the seam allowances. I really like the all-in-one facing which is much more secure than a neck facing and gives a great clean finish on the arms and neckline, but I found the method of sewing it up a bit complicated – I feel as if there was a slightly easier method on the Sinbad and Sailor Hepworth dress (though I will need to look at the pattern again as I can’t quite remember it!)
This is such a pretty fabric and I was a bit worried that the dress would feel a bit too ‘garden party’ to wear for work, but I finally wore it last week and I loved it! I think that the half circle skirt is a bit less dramatic than the full circle which helps.
Anyone else obsessed with sewing all the dresses for summer?