The ‘Betty’s Got The Blues’ dress
Fabric: Vintage cotton jacquard with an overprint (?) – from inherited stash. Scrap white cotton for bodice lining and upper pocket bags
Pattern: Butterick 9279 (in very bad shape and missing my front bodice!)
Year: 1964 (?) if you go by the cute koala calendar I found in the pattern envelope
Notions: New invisible zip
Time to complete: way longer than it should have!
First worn: For the photos
Wear again? Yes.. I actually think this dress could work for anything from a casual weekend lunch to weddings & races.
Total price: $4.40 (for the new zipper)
Ladies, meet Betty (The dress). Don’t be fooled by the simple pattern and the all sweet and innocent blue floral. This dress fought with me tooth and nail into being. Seriously… she’s super pissed at me. I was a little scared to wear her. Like I might get struck by lightning.. or ‘fall’ down a flight of stairs.
I think she got annoyed when I changed my mind about making a modern dress.. and switched to an authentic 60’s number. If the fabric could talk, I imagined it was saying – ‘I’ve been waiting around in cupboards for the last 50 years and now you want to make a 50 year old dress out of me!
You betcha Betty! Betty.. was displeased… and she let me know about it.
The process went something like this..
- Make toille of bodice
- Note adjustments
- Transfer adjustments to pattern
- Say ‘hell no’ to another toille and just go for it on the real deal.
- Sew bodice & discover stupid stupid math error in my pattern alteration. Seriously.. am I smarter than a 5th grader? Apparently not.
- Make adjustments to bodice
- Gather and attach skirt……inside out. seriously.
- Unpick and reattach skirt
- Discover waistline is too low. (my mathmatical errors continue to plague me! – why didn’t I just try on the inside out skirt!)
- Unpick skirt and cut 4cm off the bottom of the bodice. (classy I know)
- While cutting bodice, somehow catch a bit and snip the scissors into it leaving a big gash in the lower back.
- Create triangular panels at the lower back in an attempt to cover the hole with a ‘design detail’.
- reattach skirt. finally.
From there on in everything went swimmingly. Either I beat her into submission.. or being a mid century girl.. she was dazzled by the invisible zip. Which I did perfectly.. first go.
I decided to machine stitch a deep hem. Betty wanted a handstitched blind hem. I said ‘suck it up.. you’re in the 21st century now Betty’.
That’ll teach her.
Surprisingly.. after all the drama.. and hours…. I love how this dress turned out. The bodice & armholes ended up bigger than they were supposed to be… but it’s probably a blessing as it’s much more comfortable to move about in now and will probably get more wear this way.
One of the neatest things about using this vintage fabric and pattern of similar era, was finding that the very narrow fabric width (84cm after washing) was exactly the width the pattern required for each of the 3 skirt panels. That’s clever design I think. (The pockets were my own addition)
The bodice is lined and faced, but..in a strange departure from usual, I decided not to line the skirt. I actually want to try petticoats of different fullness for different looks. I’m even thinking of turning a pile of organza curtains into a nice fluffy one. Oh how people will stare. hehe.