No fear – I’ve had this Sandra Betzina pattern for a couple years (I think it was released in 2012), but I just couldn’t commit to sewing it. I always liked it, but the pics on the envelope are not especially appealing. I don’t care for the solid version, styled with a shirt, and I think the striped version is over-doing the look. I just don’t like to feel like a dress is wearing me.
The design reminds me a little bit of the Marcy Tilton French Housedress, because of the drooping sides (the housedress has huge pockets). And also the StyleArc Toni Designer dress that I made recently. Feeling bold, I decided to take the leap and finally sew this one.
It helped that I had 3 yards of lightweight rayon/lycra jersey that I picked up from Fabric Mart’s pre-cut sale – it was only $8.20. That’s a great price for a knit muslin.
The dress is really comfortable to wear, but it is surprisingly body-conscious. The weight of the skirt/side panels keeps the bodice close to the body. The pattern has bust darts, not always seen in a pattern for knits, and they really help to maintain the shaping in the bodice.
Some sewing notes:
- I sewed View B in size C (I’m 5’7″, 35.5″ bust). Betzina’s sizing is a little funky – size A to I, aligned to a finished bust of 32″ – 54″.
- The bust darts are really really long. I shortened them by 1.5″.
- And the side panel is huge! And the pattern for the panel is the same for all sizes. It’s not proportionate. I was a little shocked – Betzina has such a rep for design, details, and patterns. And this is a high-impact oversight.
Another surprise – the cutting layout has the panel for View B going across the grain. Which means the stretch for many knits would be vertical, not horizontal. One reviewer mentioned that her panels dropped quite a bit due to the stretch being vertical.
Solution to all of the above: I took 5″ out of the center of the panel. The altered pattern fits on the grain with the fabric folded selvedge to selvedge, and the stretch goes the right way, around the body, not up and down.
- Last change – I left off the pockets, and added long sleeves. I checked the armscye against M6747, and only had to extend the outside shoulder about 1/2″. The sleeve from the McCalls pattern was a great fit.
- Betzina mentions that this can be done in a woven fabric, with attention to sizing in the bust. I think View B, sleeveless, would be lovely in a lightweight linen or rayon crepe.
- The instructions are decent, and they include lots of help with stitches, seam and hem finishes, volumes on attachment of the bindings. But they really fall down on the hardest part of the pattern, which is sewing the panels to the center front and back. Three pieces come together in peaked join – all those seam allowances get wonky and in the way of one another. It’s difficult to finish the area cleanly. And she takes a pass on how to handle that area of detail…