I have been admiring the Betty Dress pattern from Sew Over It for a very long time. It is such a beautiful pattern - your basic 1950's style dress, with a tight fitted bodice and full swishy circle skirt. Essentially my go to ready-to-wear (RTW) garment!
For a long time I was nervous of making this pattern up - was I good enough? Will I be able to do it? But on this particular day I was in a 'just go for it girl' mood. So I did!
Isn't she a beaut! I am so pleased with how this came out. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I first thought it would be and it came together like a dream (except the shoulder strap - but we'll get to that hell later!)
The pattern comes with a detailed how-to booklet, which is one of my favourite features of the indie pattern companies. It makes everything a little more personal - almost like they're holding your hand throughout the whole thing. The language in the booklet is easy to follow and understand and pictures are included to illustrate the steps. I must say whilst I'm more of a fan of a clear photograph in a how-to, these illustrations are well done and you can easily decipher what to do.
The dress feels absolutely wonderful to wear. After I made the dress I realised I had never worn a dress with a full circle skirt before - who knew how much fun they could be! Although it can be slightly worrying on a windy morning especially in Brighton!
I choose a beautiful cotton lawn I bought from Guthrie & Ghani. The fabric has a beautiful soft feel to it and a great drape - perfect for this pattern. I love the floral print of this one and whilst it's a great dress for summer I think the pattern lends itself well to Autumn too. I do so love it when an outfit transitions through the seasons!
I finished off all my seams with the overlocker and it's probably my best work to date. Finally getting the hang of the machine! This is also the best invisible zip I have inserted, which is odd because I actually did less zip preparation than I have before. No pressing the seam allowance back or tacking. Just some pins and away we go, and voilà - an invisible zip! Go figure!
Recently I have been enjoying sewing by hand so I hemmed the entire dress by hand. As you can imagine this did take a fair amount of time but it was fun. I also had a few train journeys to make in that time and what better way to make use of them!
Now, let's get onto this strap business! The Betty Dress pattern comes with an amazing way to finish off the shoulder strap in one fell-swoop, keeping all the messy bits tucked away inside where no one can see. However, this was an absolute minefield to try and understand. When I made my wearable-toile version I could not figure it out and in the end I just sewed it by hand.
But determination ensued. I took the dress along to one of my sewing classes and asked the teacher. Amazingly, she worked it out in 2 minutes. When she showed me how it was done I couldn't believe I struggled for so long! So the moral of the story - don't give up!
If you make this dress and struggle to work out how to finish off the straps, Lisa Comfort (the founder of Sew Over It) has just released a vlog showing how to do it too. So be sure to check that out on Youtube.
Overall, this pattern was as much of a joy to sew as it is to wear and I see many more Bettys in my future!