Betty Dress – The Pattern Review
The Betty Dress stood out to me as being one that is HUGELY popular on all the sewing blogs I read, and looks rather cool too. Its a 50s inspired dress, with a big circle skirt! I decided a while back that I’d even be tempted to wear it (if the fabric where dark enough)!
So, being that I haven’t bought a commercial pattern in YEARS – actually, I don’t think I’ve EVER bought a commercial pattern, the ones I have used were my ma’s, my gran’s or freebies! – I decided as someone who is now producing and selling her own digital patterns, that I should really be clued up on what’s out there.
Aren’t They The Competition Though?
In the research I did before launching The Creative Curator, I didn’t really consider sewing blogs, or indie pattern designers as ‘competitors’. Why? Two reasons.
Firstly, when I named my blog The Creative Curator, it was because I was out of love with fashion and planned a fully creative website. I was going to write about everything; lino printing, sewing, patternmaking, drawing, photography, writing… Anything creative, that I had dabbled in over the years, was fair game.
Except, it wasn’t because I’m not an ‘authority’ on many of those topics.
The second reason I didn’t consider them competition was because ‘I’m a designer’… with a degree in fashion and experience working at different London fashion brands, I wasn’t just someone who liked to blog about their sewing. That made me different right?
Ha! How the ego can trip us up! What I have come to realise is that these ‘competitors’ are actually my potential blogging buddies. We are all part of the same group – ladies who are excited and inspired by fashion and creating our own versions – and really keen to share that excitement with others to inspire and engage with them.
So, I got over it..
Sew Over It
The Sew Over It Betty pattern has had a lot of good reviews. As had many of the Tilly and The Buttons patterns. BUT, testing out other brand’s patterns is a lot of work; time, money and effort. If I’m going to spend my time exploring other designer’s patterns and not digitising my own products, it has to be for something I would wanna wear afterwards.
The Betty Dress fit the bill.
Betty Dress Costs
To start with, lets talk about cost.
The price of the digital pattern, which you get immediate access to, is £8.50
The price of printing the 75 pages is probably about a quid for the paper if you’re like me and get the cheap 500 page pack of paper. Then there is also the ink cost, which I’m not even going to try to work out – lets say £1 too?
You can then see why the digital version is a few pounds cheaper than the printed version. I myself have looked into the costs of having my patterns printed properly, and they’re not as cheap as you’d hope. *Sad face*
The Time to Print
This took a while. Initially I thought I could be a cheap skate and print in B&W draft mode. Not only did the printer spew the pages out ridiculously fast and rattle around like a child was jumping up and down on it, but the pattern lines also came out wobbly, like when your printer needs to be realigned. *Oh crap*
So, off I toddled and printed it all again – this time properly! 😉
(75 pages, as normal black and white quality took me a while. I wrote this entire intro section while it printed.)
Connecting The Betty Dress Pattern
Once printed out, I then had to lay out all the A4 pages on to the floor, stick them together in the right order AND cut the pattern pieces out. More time. Phew!
One thing I struggled with was getting the circle skirt sections to join nicely. I ended up with some slightly mismatched sections on the seams as the pages wouldn’t align perfectly for me, and so I had to tweak it accordingly. I am 100% certain this is down to me and my newness to the printing PDF thing, and NOT down to the pattern itself!
Betty Dress Fabric Choice
I really struggle with fabric selection once a pattern is decided on. I work much better if I source a fabric I like, and then design around it. A lot of my creations have happened with my own fabric design, or a rare fabric that I have fallen in love with which then inspires the design. Lately, I’ve struggled to find anything that excites me.
I visited Berwick Street TWICE looking for something special, and only on the last trip did I spot something that COULD work. It’s not dark, but it is a colour and fabric that would look good dressed up with my tailored jacket or dressed down with my gold trainers.
Ah, maybe a tad too Lily Allen?
This is the fabric…
Betty Dress – Selecting a Size
I’ve grown since I last made a dress for myself.
The boobs, tum and bum are curvier now. So selecting the right size by measuring carefully – and not just guessing – was important!
Initially I opted for a smaller size as I forgot that seam allowance is included, and more than I am used too. Once I realised this, I opted for a slightly bigger size than I am on my bust – Sew Over It sizing has me as a UK14! – and set to tracing out the pattern pieces.
The pattern was easy to trace and I even traced off the facing patterns rather than making my own.
Sewing Up Betty
Before even attempting to cut and sew the real deal, I first made a toile / muslin of the dress to check the fit on me. I wanted it to be a tad loose as I’m not one for really fitted woven garments and the toile did fit almost perfectly.
I took in the waist slightly on both the bodice and the skirt as I have a rather small waist compared to the rest of me! 😉
The Real Betty Dress
Betty really is a very easy dress to sew. Two darts sewn up from the front waist, two darts sewn up from the back waist.
A circle skirt sewn at the side seams and attached to the bodice at the waist.
All in one neckline and armhole facings attached.
A nice long invisible zipper in the centre back and the job was done.
Overall Betty Dress Impression
I LOVED the Betty Dress. My man LOVES me wearing the Betty Dress. I’ve since bought another heavier fabric to make a Betty inspired skirt!
The only thing I didn’t like was my fabric choice. I think it really detracted from the dress, but as I wasn’t even sure it would be a good look on me, I had opted for the cheapest fabric option in the right fabric weight while maintaining my sustainability beliefs.
The fabric was also a PAIN to press. This is me testing it out, before a good pressing. I’ll add a fresh pic once the rain stops and I can get a decent photo minus the creases and sleepy expression!
What I suspect I shall end up doing is embellishing the dress in some way, so that it is more textured and fits more with what I like to wear.
I might also modify the neckline somewhat. Instead of having the zip opening at the centre back seam, I wonder what it might look like if it was a button down front? With a snazzy collar yet still with a low back?
Hmmm… Maybe watch this space for further developments? 😉
If you’d like to buy a hard copy of the Sew Over It Betty Dress, they sell them on Amazon now! (This is an affiliate link)
Til next time…
Have YOU made the Sew Over It ‘Betty Dress’? How did you find it? Would you sew it again? Let me know in the comments below!
RECOMMENDED READS: If you enjoyed this post on the Betty Dress, check out this Create Your Own Clothes post, this post on learning sewing and this post about my plan to recreate a Daenerys Targaryen dress from Game of Thrones!
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