One of my earliest makes was the beautiful Betty Dress by Sew Over It. I made a million muslins, checked them with one of my favorite online communities for fit, and then proceeded to make it in the most luscious rayon from Rifle. I was able to press the neckline to perfection, but then a single wash later it had fallen apart. The neck hole was gaping and nothing I did seemed to fix it.
I have made the Betty since. Three times, in fact. I’ve made the muslin every which way again since with different fabrics and for some reason I have never been able to get it to fit again. It always gapes in all the wrong places and I think I have to accept that the fit I saw in this photo was a fluke. I’ve given up on the Betty dress, but it taught me a lot of things.
One of those lessons is that a super-fitted dress like this one is not super suitable for a beginner, especially for someone who’s never worked with a shifty fabric like rayon before. The care of it is a bit delicate and the neckline just didn’t hold up. The other thing I learned is that a 0 ease fit is not always desired, as I was never able to get other fabrics (such as cotton lawn) to stay flat and nice looking with the exact same fitted pattern. Maybe one day I’ll revisit the Betty, but the super wide shoulder on it meant that I needed to take out over an inch and a half in my size out the center front to get a fit like this, and I’m just no longer sure it’s worth the effort to get it right. I think I’d rather approach a dress like this again from a Big 4 pattern as they fit me awesome. It’s too bad, because this circle skirt is luscious. I might try this again one day with a different bodice, and use this skirt pattern.
The other thing I’ve really learned is that I think rayon benefits from a bigger seam allowance, honestly. I trimmed too close when grading the neckline and the scoop shape meant it just fell apart in the wash! When working with rayon it’s better to try to use steam to press out the neckline and clip as little as you can get away with, because even washing on cold and delicate in a bag this thing warped all over the place, and then only in the neckline. All the other seams where the seams were finished properly were fine.
Since then this Betty has become fabric for a muslin for a hack of the Grainline Uniform I’m working on, so its story is not quite over, but it does feel like an awful lot of fabric wasted, doesn’t it? Has anyone else had problems like this and have tips on what to do with a dress that will never fit?