The Betty Dress - Part One
The other day, Bunny posted about a friend, mentor and teacher named Betty and the cutest children's dress she designed. Go take a look, it is super cute - and you'll need to so that you can understand what I'm doing for the rest of this post. You do have to take a look! Believe it or not, this dress was designed 50 years ago! Well, you know that's right up my alley, and I thought, why can't a big person have this dress, too? Of course, once I saw the design, a whole of ideas came to my head, but for now I'll stick to the classic version.
Betty has posted directions for the dress, and Bunny is giving details of her version for her granddaughter post by post, so I'll give you my version, too. The first thing to do is find a pattern for a sleeveless, scoopneck dress. The skirt portion really doesn't matter, but the bodice is what is important. A quick look through my vintage pattern collection turned up this pattern, McCall's 3357 from 1955:
It is not perfect, as it is a jumper, but that neckline can be redrafted a bit higher before doing some swirling and slicing. I traced off a full front pattern, and redrafted the neckline to be higher, the red lines are the new neckline/stitching line. Following the instructions, I then traced off the swirl part, shown in blue:
I then had to slice, well I haven't actually sliced yet, but I have drawn the line. This is the part I wasn't really sure about for an adult version. You see, children's patterns normally do not have darts - they don't need that sort of bodice shaping. Adult patterns do, so the question was how far from center front could I draw the line without having problems with the dart. For the children's version, you are to draw the line 2" from center front (or back). I found out that I could draw mine 2 1/2" without slicing into the dart. I was hoping for 3", to be more proportional for the adult size, but I'll settle for 2 1/2".
A full back was traced and the curve on the front was used to draw a matching curve on the back.
Not hard at all. Now, on to the fabric selections. From the collection, I have a few possibilities. I'm thinking I might have to buy fabric for this, but I'll let you take a look. My children have already expressed their oh-so honest opinions, but I'll see what you think.
For the larger side, my ginormous vintage paisley fabric, with black for the other half and lime green piping. I've always wanted to make something out of this fabric, and this might work as there won't be so much of this fabric in the project. A whole dress of this would be too much, but then again a half of a dress might be too much, too.
The other in house choice would be this blue fabric with white for the other half and blue piping. I think the print is a bit small and sort of like the original.
Not really in *love* with either choice, so I dug a little deeper into the collection and surfaced with these two pieces. That is a denim which has a deep beaded border and a piece of golden tan silk with swirls made of french knots. I know it sounds weird, but in real life these fabric look really good together - it is all about the contrast of denim/silk/beads/embroidery. I'd do the piping in a coppery brown suede for yet another texture contrast and because there are coppery beads that would pick up on that color. This one is the one that I really like as weird as it is, and is more more "adult".
What do you think?
Parting Shot. Deer. Yes, that deer is in our yard. He wandered around a bit nibbling on small plants at the edge of the woods and then disappeared into the woods.