Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tea Leaves Betty Dress

If you were lucky enough to receive Liberty coins to spend, what would you buy? I found myself in this fortunate position after helping out with some tartan for the wedding of some friends last year. Adam bravely came with me and after what felt like 30 minutes of dithering, I walked out clutching a couple of metres of the beautiful Tea Leaves B cotton lawn. They were destined for one pattern only - Sew Over It's Betty Dress. It seemed to be a pattern and fabric match made in heaven. 


The modern tea leaves prints are described as "a contemporary interpretation of classic blue ceramic designs using an intuitive, illustrative hand. Inky tones bring a subtle batik feel and echo the Japanese origins of the subject matter creating a story characterised by Far-Eastern influence." I was drawn to the batik look - I love how the green merges into the deep purple background like it has been painted with water colours. 


After making a number of changes to my first version, I didn't make any further ones to the pattern with the exception of the skirt. The lawn was wide enough to allow me to cut the full width of the skirt which, with the drape of fabric, makes for a lovely swishy skirt. The fit is pretty good still although the back gaps a little more than I would like - a fact I found out only after I had completed the dress. I chose to fully line this version. This is partly because I didn't want to use the fiddly facings but mainly because of the lightweight nature of the fabric. The lining is a white bemberg and while it is lovely to wear, it is awkward to use. Any slightly breeze moved it when cutting out and don't get me started on how much it shifted during the hemming stage. Still, the effort was worth it. 


This dress took weeks to make as I've found my sewing time rather limited over the past few months and you can tell this in the guts of the dress. The major benefit of this is the dress spent a great deal of time pinned to my dress form meaning the skirt dropped as much as it ever would. As my time got pressed, I opted for quicker techniques which of course meant bringing out the overlocker. Originally all of the seams were due to French seams and I had planned a narrow double turned hem for the skirt. Instead I have an overlocked centre back seam in the skirt and the hems are overlocked, turned up and stitched in place. I suspect I will change the hem at some point and lose a centimetre in length. It seems that this dress deserves better. 


One area I am pleased with is the zip. I used a pale pink concealed zip and you can only tell because of the zip pull. In addition, I managed a clean finish on the inside with the lining which I'll share next time with a demo of how I achieved it. 

I'm sure I've said this before but this may just be my favourite handmade dress... 

11 comments:

  1. This dress is stunning! And if the hem bothers you you can always go back and change it. But it looks lovely to wear as it is!

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    1. Thank you! I think I'll definitely go back and sort out the hem at some point.

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  2. Claire I love this dress and your choice of fabric, it's such a pretty outfit! I don't think you should change a thing!

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    1. Thanks, Sabs! Sometimes fabric and a pattern are just destined for each other.

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  3. Stunning dress, the fabric looks gorgeous, I have a piece of Liberty waiting to be made in to something but worried about cutting into it. Yours dress looks great, perfect match the fabric.

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    1. Thank you! It always takes courage to cut into expensive fabric but I'm sure you'll be fine when you go for it.

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  4. This dress looks gorgeous, I love the beautiful colour of it. I love how you've given it a swishy flowy skirt and the back looks great. I have two lots of Liberty fabric waiting to be made into something that my parents bought me, I'm so scared to ruin it! I think I'll probably just stare at it for another year! XxxX

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    1. Thank you - the skirt is rather lovely and more swishy than I would normally go for. I just couldn't resist using more of the fabric. I totally get the fear of ruining the fabric - eventually you'll cut into it!

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    2. I've had the fabric since I was about 16, I've just turned 23 so it hasn't come out of its precious hiding place for a long time! I'm not as obsessed with the fabric that I chose then that I am now, it's more punky and these days I would go more 40s-50s floral. I'm sure once I find a pattern to use it for, I will fall back in love with it again. I can't wait to use it, but am terrified as well! You've gotta love a swishy skirt, it really does look beautiful on you! XxxX

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  5. This is brilliant, and the fabric is gorgeous. I may have to google it...

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. I hope you find it.

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