I have been an avid watcher of the vlogs by Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It and eventually decided to bite the bullet and purchase the “Betty” dress pattern. I am of a certain age and added the sleeve and neckline add-on pack as I am not very comfortable with sleeveless dresses (unless I can cover up with a bolero-style cardigan or jacket!).
As the Sew Over It patterns are a new adventure for me and the dress takes a great deal of fabric (4plus metres), I knew that I would be making a toile before cutting into the precious owl-print cotton fabric.
Using some remnant sheeting that was originally used to back a quilt, I compared measurements and made the usual adjustments to the pattern. N.B. I don’t actually adjust the original pattern as I like to keep a pristine copy, I copied the “master” onto flip chart paper and then made the alterations.
I cut and stitched the toile and had a fitting. Oops! Not good. The bust darts were still too high, the neckline far too wide and the entire bodice was too short. I pinned some changes and then unpicked the toile and re-drafted the bodice pattern.
By now I was getting “antsy” and really wanted to get on with making the dress rather than spending my precious sewing time making toiles. I turned to my TNT bodice pattern. I copied off the front and back bodice, re-drafted a scoop neckline and added some cap sleeves. I would still like to have a circular skirt so compared the measurements at the waist of the bodice to those of the skirt front and back. I added sufficient so that they matched and then went ahead and cut my fabric.
I cut a lining for the sleeves from plain White poly/cotton and interfaced the neckline facing with fusible Vilene before settling down to stitch. Although the pattern calls for an invisible zip, I found a standard zip in just the right colour in my zip stash (from when my father worked at a zip factory) which I set into the centre back seam using the “lapped” method. I used a triple zig-zag stitch for the understitching of the neckline facing and sleeve linings. All seams are overlocked and the hem is machined. The dress was completed in a little under 4 hours.
I found a lovely little frilled edge bolero cardigan in my wardrobe to wear with it and am delighted with my new outfit.