Betty Dress in Navy and Yellow Dots

Oh dear, I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last blog post. First work was really busy and by the time I got home and had dinner i just didn’t have it in me to sit down and sew. I then started on a project but my heart wasn’t really in it, so it was just lying there for weeks and I didn’t touch it.

But then three things happened.

  1. My friends decided to have a 50s theme for their wedding
  2. Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani wrote a blog post about Sew Over It’s Betty Dress and
  3. The wonderful Karen from announced the Made Up innitiative in support of the National Literacy Trust

And so I decided to abandon the project that was just gathering dust in the corner anyway and to try and make a Betty dress in time for my friends’ wedding on 22nd August.

I had never made anything for an occasion before, so I’d never had to work to a deadline, but I managed to finish it by getting up an hour earlier in the mornings and fitting in an hour’s sewing time before work. And I think I’ll try and do the same for other projects as it really worked well.

When Lauren featured Sew Over It‘s Betty Dress as part of her Summer Dress Season blog series I just fell in love with it (you can find the blog post here)! I also immediately fell for one of the fabrics she suggested. A cotton with a cream background and navy, yellow on turquoise dots randomly scattered across each other. You can still find it in her online shop here. And I have to say the fabric was a dream to work with! It’s fairly light, but not light enough that you’d have to worry about lining it. It’s not see through. And it hardly frayed at all, which made life so much easier. I really enjoyed working with this fabric.

I traced a size 12 from the pattern and made a toile of the bodice. Based on that I decided to add an inch to the length of the bodice (I might have mentioned that I’m very tall before…) and also shaved off about one cm at the bottom of the armholes. I often find that armholes are a bit tight for me on sewing patterns, so doing this makes them a lot more comfortable.

Here’s the finished result (worn with a petticoat):


(I didn’t have a good picture of me from the wedding, so this is just the day after in my parents’ garden.)

I really love this dress! The sheer amount of fabric was quite daunting just because I’d never made anything with a full circle skirt before, but I’m really happy with the finished result. The most difficult bit were the straps. When I first read the instructions I couldn’t quite get my head around how it was going to work, but then I just worked through them really slowly and told myself to trust the good people at Sew Over It – they know what they’re doing after all! And it all worked out in the end.

I really like the low back (and the fact that it’s not too low, so there’s no danger of bits of bra peaking out):


When I first inserted the invisible zip it really didn’t deserve the name ‘invisible’. There was quite a lot of it showing on both sides. I was almost tempted to leave it as I was a bit pushed for time but then I noticed that all I had done wrong was not adjusting the position of my needle. So I just went over it again with the needle positioning adjusted so it was as close as possible to the zip and voila! I’m so glad I fixed it, I think it would have really bugged me if I had left it the way it was. I think it’s my best invisible zip so far.

Just one note on the amount of fabric required: on the pattern envelope it suggest 3m of a 140cm wide fabric for all sizes, but based on Lauren’s comments in her blog post I only ordered 2.5m of that width and it was plenty for a size 12. I probably could have gotten away with slightly less, but the fabric is so lovely that I’m sure I’ll put the left overs to god use on a smaller project at some point.

And because the full swooshy circle skirt is just the best, here’s a swooshy twirly shot:


I’m really happy with this dress and I’m so glad I managed to finish it in time for my friends’ wedding.

And that also means I completed my challenge for the Made Up initiative in time!

If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s an initiative in aid of the National Literacy Trust where you set yourself a creative challenge to be completed by 10th September and donate some money to go towards the National Literacy Trust. You can find all the details here on Karen’s blog. I think it’s a wonderful idea and there’s still some time to take part if you fancy it. It’s for such a good cause.


5 thoughts on “Betty Dress in Navy and Yellow Dots

  1. That is a beautiful dress! I’m always a bit scared of circle skirts. On the invisible zip, I really recommend an invisible zip foot. When I invested in mine, it seriously changed up my sewing. Good for you, going back and re-doing the zip – it’s always so difficult to make yourself do those things.


    • Thank you! Oh, I do have an invisible zip foot (I don’t know how I’d go about putting an invisible zip in without it) but I still find that I need to adjust the positioning of my needle to get a really neat finish. So it’s really just a case of remembering to do that, which you’d think isn’t that much to ask… 🙂


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