Sunday, 31 May 2015

Sew Over It Betty Dress

How are you all? I hope you're all enjoying your weekend. May has been an impossibly long and busy month for me with many evenings curled on the sofa trying to regain some energy for the next day. This culminated in a big event a few days ago that also left me on the sofa, almost unable to walk as I strained my ankles running around so much. Needless to say I'm very, very pleased to see what back of this month! I did, however, have the energy to make a dress. 

This is a dress that started with the fabric. I've long adored the Betty dress by Sew Over It and finally scooped it up a couple of months ago when my By Hand London fabric arrived. I had ordered an extra metre from the girls to make sure I could fit a Betty out of this gorgeous design. The fabric is Sweet Female Attitude in pale grey and pink and I just love how they work together. 

Betty dress front

Before launching into the construction details, can I start with what makes me sad about this dress please? I was so excited when the fabric arrived. It was beautifully presented with my other goodies (I've not been parted with my mug while sewing since it entered the house). It washed and pressed very well, and has a good hand, like a lot of high quality cottons I've used in the past. I had high hopes for it but they were dashed a little. You see, this cotton is a little unforgiving. Pins left marks and I have permanent lines where I ripped out poorly sewn lines or removed basting stitches. These permanent lines are now white and glare at me constantly. No one else seems to notice it though. Despite these issues, I'm still very pleased that I paired this fabric to this pattern and I hope you will agree. 

Betty dress side

I was first drawn to Betty by her feminine style and back neckline shaping and she hasn't disappointed. We did have a little argument though over the bodice. I had to make a series of alterations: lowered the armholes by 1.5cm, hollow chest adjustment of 2cm, moved the back darts closer to my centre, and pinched out about 2cm from the back neckline. My second toile fitted perfectly so I merrily cut out and during a sewing day with VG, stitched until the bodice was attached to the skirt. I got home, delighted with my progress, only to find that she didn't fit. The centre back seam didn't meet. Fabric was thrown and a few tears were shed. I'm still not fully certain what happened but I suspect I took too much out the paper pattern when I altered the pieces from my toile. Thankfully I had enough left over fabric to recut the entire bodice at the original size and just pinched out the excess at the back before inserting the zip. 

Betty dress skirt

The skirt isn't as full as I had originally envisaged. I struggled to get the full skirt width out of the fabric so removed about 10cm of width from each piece. I also shortened it by 3.5cm to ensure the white borders of the fabric were hidden. I rather like the effect. The cotton hangs beautifully and I love how it flows over my hips. It seems that there is the right amount of fulness for this fabric. Construction was easy. I love that the facings are all in one even if I got a little confused on how to finish the shoulder seams cleanly. Turns out it very easy in practice, not so easy to describe in words! 

Betty dress back

Despite our rocky start, Betty and I have made it up completely. She is a very welcome addition to my wardrobe and I love how versatile she is. I can wear her as a summer day dress or dress her up for smarter events and thankfully I have enough accessories to match her subtle colours. Except shoes, I need to buy shoes - now that's a hardship isn't it? How about you, do have an item that you fell out with at the beginning but wouldn't be without now? 


  1. I'm so glad you had enough fabric to recut the bodice! It's SO annoying when these things happen; toiles have a life of their own.

    Truth be told, I wasn't impressed with the fabric when I saw it, but the finished garment seems to hang beautifully.

    1. I've worn it a couple of times now and it is really nice. It's just a shame about the lines but they won't stop me wearing it.

  2. Ack to having the re-cut the bodice. It's so annoying when things like that happen. Your dress is lovely though, and I definately think your BHL fabric is nicer than mine. Your fabric looks much more drapey and soft.

    1. Thanks, Lynne. I was relieved to have enough fabric to recut the bodice. I'm sure your fabric will soften with a few more washes.

  3. I'm having serious dress envy here :) your fabric and dress combi looks beautiful. It's a shame that there are pin marks in the fabric, but as with most sewing accidents - only you will notice. Maybe they will get smaller with washing? I think I didn't like my purple coco dress that much because of the funnel neck, but now I'm wearing it constantly and really like it :)

    1. I really love this combination. I hope you're right about the pin marks - it does bother me a bit! Glad that you really like your coco - it suits you!

  4. It's such a shame that the pins and stitching lines have left permanent marks, but I'm sure that you're the only one that will notice. It's a really lovely combination of print and pattern - so pretty that I'm not surprised you've made up with Betty in spite of the hiccups along the way. And she's given you an excuse to by shoes - even better!


Do you have thoughts about this post? If so, please leave a comment - I really appreciate them! I read them all and try to reply as much as possible.


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