The Betty dress


This is a queue-busting post! It’s been sat for ages without pictures and I haven’t started sewing something new to post yet this week so I thought I’d share a dress I finished a couple of months ago.

On one of many fabric buying trips down on Goldhawk Road, I bought this amazing cotton hibiscus print Hawaiian print. It is loud and in your face – not something I would ever normally wear! However I was persuaded into buying it by my Mum (she is a bad influence, but then she’d say the same about me) and once home and washed… It sat in a box for ages before anything happened with it.

I had bought it with the vague intention of making a dress. As you probably all know by know I have a tendency to buy fabrics with a ‘vague idea’ of what to make with them, but take forever to actually realise an idea into s2omething wearable. Also I don’t really wear dresses very often (pretty much never). But about year after I bought the fabric, I eventually started this dress. No sewing mojo! I can’t quite remember why I decided to make this as my step back into sewing.

I used the dress pattern from the second series of BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee and printed out the PDF. For some reason I’ve written that this is called it the Betty dress on the storage envelope, but in the book it’s the full-skirted dress. I like fit and flare dresses as I feel relatively comfortable in them, plus I like how easily they can be dressed up or down. That combined with how flattering they are means they are my go-to style for dresses when I do actwpid-20150811_200519ually wear them. I cut the size 18 based on measurements and only had to make some slight alterations to the pattern, although it measured out pretty true to my size, which is always good! I am quite a lazy seamstress, I have never done a full bust adjustment and I really should teach myself. I took in the princess seam at the arm hole to remove some of the gape, but a FBA would probably have been the more sensible option


Look like a plonker but this was probably the best of the bunch…

And then life got in the way and the dress sat in pieces in a box on my desk, unloved for several months. However in a moment of madness I had a brainwave. Hayden’s oldest friend was getting married, and although I had already bought something to wear, I knew there was no way I would be able to fit into it and suddenly had to find something else to wear! Disaster! I remembered I had this half constructed bodice somewhere, dug it out and managed to find all of the printed pattern pieces. It is a miracle none went missing as I moved house in between starting and finishing the dress!


I may have put a teeny filter on this one because I look quite sleepy and also nobody bothered to mention that I had smudged my eyeliner ALL OVER my face at work…

I tried it on, and somewhat surprisingly it fit! It was actually a little on the large side – even better! However with 2 weeks to go until the wedding, no money to buy something new that would just hang on the rail unworn after the big day, I decided to finish this dress.

When I added the skirt to the bodice, I realised my waistline is a bit lower down than on the pattern, but I had gone too far to make adjustments to the pattern, so I measured and inserted a waistband, stitched in the zip, and voilà! Wrong. I had measured the waistband by eye (trying to be a clever clogs) and it was miles too wide, so I had to rip out the zip, unpick out the waistband and chop a bit off before repeating the whole process. I did manage to successfully insert and invisible zip twice though. Zips are my nemesis.

Despite the waistband issue, this dress went together really nicely. I chose not to include the little cap sleeves, which is good because this is where the instructions seemed a little off – I couldn’t work out how you were supposed to attach the sleeve, finish off the seam allowances and then add the facing. I love the V-neck at the back – very feminine and flattering. I wore this to the wedding and got some lovely comments so that was quite nice really!

Please excuse how much of a gnome I look in the bottom 3 pictures – I really dislike having my picture taken but it’s incredibly difficult to get a full length image using Myspace poses so I had to enlist Hayden to assist me after work today and I am not a natural model (obviously).


17 thoughts on “The Betty dress

  1. Katy says:

    Hey Jenny! Glorious little number. I love the bright colours! How satisfying is it to finish something that’s been unloved for so long… I hope you get heaps of wear out of it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. eileenpatterson says:

    OK, I am inspired. While on a trip to Tahiti I stopped at a, you guessed it, fabric store and purchased some tropical prints. They are still in the bag they came in waiting for an idea, a vision, a clue. Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ellegeemakes says:

    If I ran into that fabric in a dark alley, I would definitely take it home with me. The colors look great on you too! I’ve got to go to that website and check out that pattern. Very clever save, adding a waistband!! It worked.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nedoux says:

    Hello Jenny,

    I love the fabric choice, such deliciously vibrant colours. I really like dresses with fitted bodices and full skirts, very lady-like and chic silhouette.

    You look lovely, well done 🙂


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