One of my favorite things about sewing is that you can take a pattern and make it up in a number of different ways, creating different looking garments each time. I love playing around with patterns to see what I can cook up next, but admittedly some are more fun than others. This will be the first in my “tried and true patterns” series, talking about the patterns I have used over and over again (regardless of variation).
Today’s tried and true pattern is the Betty Dress, from Sew Over It.
The Betty Dress is a 1950’s style dress with a fitted bodice and full circle skirt. Made up in the right kind of fabric, the skirt moves beautifully and is, as my niece would say, “a good twirler.” For me personally, I find it to be extremely flattering for my body type, and it’s an extremely quick make for me, especially now that I’ve done it a few times.
I have made three different Betty dresses, all with slight variations. I made the first one last summer. I got my hands on some beautiful butterfly print cotton lawn from Rifle Paper Company and wanted to use it on a project that would show it off beautifully. Enter Betty. I had seen in one of Lisa Comfort’s magazines that there was a hack to put a flutter sleeve on the dress, and this seemed perfect. I gave the dress the flutter sleeve and used the v-neck option from the add on. The result was one of my favorite dresses of all time. I can’t wait until it’s warm enough again to wear it out to dinners and stuff!
Despite how much I loved my first Betty, it was a couple of months before I made my next one. Around Christmas time I decided it was time for another one, and I really wanted to try the standard, original version. I made it up in a bird print rayon, that I didn’t realize was a little too one-way designed for the pattern. Some of the birds would’ve been upside down or strangely crooked. So, I improvised… this particular Betty has an extra seam down the center front, but it doesn’t bother me too much! The skirt is full enough that you don’t really notice it.
My most recent Betty is also one of my favorite dresses. For this one, I went back to using a cotton lawn, from Lisa Comfort. I had been eyeing the black color way of one of her patterns for quite some time, and I was able to take advantage of a sale. I sat with the fabric for along time before deciding what to make with it, finally deciding on another version of the Betty, this time with the scoop neck and sleeves. This dress, as well as my flutter sleeve version, proves that cotton lawn is the perfect fabric for the Betty. I love how it twirls!
I know there will be many more Betty dresses in my future: they are easy to make, and easy to wear. Recently, I saw that someone had made the Betty in a knit, and I would really love to try that! I purchased some jersey from Mood Fabrics with this idea in mind, and it’s definitely going to be one of my next projects.