Teapots for a Tea Party – Bettina Mark V

teapots 1

Now that Summer is officially over and as we move into the golden days of Autumn I still have a few lengths of fabric that I want to make up into dresses before we say goodbye to the warm sunshine until next year.

DH and I were invited to attend a 60th birthday celebration – to begin with it was not clear if the invitation was for lunch or afternoon tea. Thinking about tea reminded me that in my stash I had some charming printed cotton fabric with teapots!

I checked the length of the fabric that was originally purchased from Fabricland and was delighted to see that there was in excess of 4 yards but it did have a direction to the print inasmuch that all the teapots were either upright or nearly upright – there were none that were upside down. However, having set my heart on a circular skirt I decided to make it in 4 gores rather than the usual one half-circle panel plus 2 quarter circle panels.

I noticed when I made the Poppy dress using my TNT bodice pattern that there was a small amount of gaping in the neckline. I was determined to resolve this and therefore simply placed the bodice centre front slightly beyond the fold at the neckline and then pivoted back to the correct alignment. I did the same with the front neckline facing. This has worked well and so I have amended the pattern accordingly.

The other adjustment was to the amount of ease in the sleeve cap. On reading various articles I noted that the amount of ease recommended was in the region of 1”. I measured the front and back armscye on the stitching lines, noted the lengths and added 1/2” to each. I then measured the sleeve head along the stitching line and compared. I decreased one part of the sleeve head and increased the other to give a total ease of 1”. I drafted the amended sleeve pattern and cut 2 outer sleeves and 2 lining sleeves using the new pattern. When it came to insertion of the sleeves they went in like a dream with very little “finessing”, no tucks or pleats. Result!

The part of this dress that I am most pleased with is the pattern matching on the back bodice where I inserted a lapped zip. The zip itself is a Black one with an additional ring pull which came from the stash from when my father was an Engineer at Optilon (R)  zips, therefore it is in excess of 24 years old! To begin with I cut the back bodice pieces as they came and then tacked the centre back seam. That did not work as the teapots were dissected and split apart – it looked awful.  I unpicked the tacking and pressed the seamline on the left back bodice then placed it face up onto the fabric. I located and allowed for an extra wide seam allowance, having double-checked the pattern matching, I re-cut the righthand side of the back bodice. I was fortunate that I had sufficient fabric to cut a 2nd bodice piece and it has served as a good reminder to double-check for pattern matching in future when using such dramatic and highly contrasting motifs on my printed cotton fabrics.

pattern matching on back bodice

Pattern-matched back bodice zip insertion

I cut out and stitched the dress in 2 sessions, the second being the morning of the birthday party which turned out to be a lunch. But still all went very well and I am delighted with my latest iteration of Bettina.