Betty Dress – Lowering the Neckline, Lining the Bodice & Adding a Gathered Skirt

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Summer started off well this year and we’ve had some gorgeously hot days in London. Believe it or not, after a few days of high temperatures we were struggling with what to wear. We just didn’t have enough summer dresses! (Any excuse!) It was time to make something new and a pattern hack it was.

Starting with the Betty Dress, we’ve scooped the neckline, created a lining using the original facing and added a gathered skirt instead of its original circle skirt. Read on to find out how we did it!

Lowering the Betty Dress neckline

To start with you will need your Betty Dress front and back bodice and facing pattern pieces. We have traced them off so that our original pattern stays intact.

To create a lower neckline for the Betty Dress, choose how low you’d like the scoop and measure this distance down from the centre front. We went for 5cm, which gives a nice slightly scooped look. If you’re planning on making the neckline dramatically lower it may lead to some gaping across the front of the dress, so it’ll be best to make a toile first.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Draw in your new neckline by squaring off from the centre front line by at least 2cm before you start drawing your new curve in to meet the shoulder seam. If the neckline isn’t started on a straight line you’ll end up with a v-shape at the centre front rather than a nice smooth curve.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

We like to use a pattern master or a french curve to draw in the new neckline.

Cut along the line you have just drawn – that’s your new scooped Betty front bodice piece!

Creating the lining pattern pieces

So that your facing pieces match your new scooped neckline, lay your front bodice piece over your front facing, and copy the new curve onto the facing.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

For the lining pieces, place the facing pattern on top of the bodice front and back pattern pieces and trace off the the bottom line of the facing onto the bodice pieces.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

The bottom part then becomes your lining pattern piece.

Because you are creating new pattern pieces, you will need to add seam allowances.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

We’ve added 1cm to the bottom of the facing and 1cm to the top and bottom of the lining pieces. It is easiest to use a pattern master to do this.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

 

As the seam allowance for the side seams and waist seam is already included on the original Betty pattern, you don’t need to worry about adding any here.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Sew the bodice shell together as per the Betty Dress instructions and pop the lining pieces to one side – we’ll get to these in a bit!

Creating and attaching the skirt

For the skirt we used the full width of a 150cm wide fabric, measuring down from waist to knee for our desired length, plus 3cm for the seam allowance.

Trim off the selvedge and cut one of the skirt panels in half to create the centre back seam. You will then have three panels for your skirt, one for the front and two for the back.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Stitch the skirt together at the side seams.

Divide the skirt up into four sections: centre back to side seam, side seam to centre front, and the same on the other side. Mark the sections with a pin or tailors’ chalk. Do the same to the bodice. Doing this will help us to distribute the gathers evenly.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Set your sewing machine to a long stitch length and start sewing your gathering stitches. The gathers are done section by section, as although it does take a bit longer to do it this way, you’re less likely to break the thread as you’re pulling the skirt in. It also makes for an easy distribution of the gathers.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

We like to stitch three lines of gathering rows as it makes it easier to pull in the skirt and leaves you with nice even gathers. If you stitch just inside the seam allowance you won’t have to unpick any of the gathering stitches when you attach the bodice to the skirt.

Attach the skirt to the bodice by first pinning the skirt to the bodice at the marked points you’ve made.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Then, section by section, gather the skirt by pulling the thread, until it fits the bodice.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Once you get to the end of a section make a figure of eight with the excess thread by wrapping the thread you’ve pulled round a pin. This stops the gathers from unraveling as you work on the other sections and allows you to go back and move the gathers until you get them where you want to sit.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

With the machine still set to a larger stitch, tack the skirt to the bodice. This stops everything moving about as you sew. Once this is done, set the machine back to the normal stitch length and attach the bodice to the skirt.

Creating the facing and attaching the lining

Using the instructions in the booklet, insert the invisible zip into the dress. Assemble the facing as per the instructions and attach it to the bodice. Now we are ready to create and attach the lining.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Sew the darts in the front and back lining pieces and then, using a 1.5cm seam allowance, sew the side seams so you have one long lining piece.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Pin the lining piece to the facing, right sides together, matching the side seams as you go. As there is quite a curve on the lining pieces you may want to tack them before you sew them together but if you’re feeling confident go ahead and get stuck in straight away.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Clip the curves on the seam allowance and give the seam a good press.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

To enclose all the raw edges on the inside of the bodice we now need to slipstitch the lining to the centre back seam and waist seam.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Fold the lining back by 1.5cm at the centre back and along the bottom edge and press to create a crease. Pin the lining to the zip tape along the centre back seams.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Repeat for the long bottom edge, before slipstitching the whole lining in place.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

To hem your dress create a double hem by turning it up by 1.5cm and then a further 1.5cm. Slipstitch or machine sew before giving the whole dress a good press.

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

And voila!

You have created your very own scoop-necked, fully-lined and gathered skirted Betty Dress!

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Hacking the Betty Dress pattern: create a lower scooped neckline, fully line the bodice using the original facing pieces and swap the full circle skirt for a quick and easy gathered skirt // Sew Over It

Don’t forget, if you fancy having a go at this pattern hack, remember to enter your finished dress into our #SOIshowoff competition. Every month you’ll get the chance to win 2m of fabric of your choice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get 10% off your next London class when you sign up to the mailing list
You will need to book your class within 1 week of registering
Never display this again

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close