I love classic dresses. Simple, timeless silhouettes in neutral colors are my jam. When I first got my hands on the new twill from Phee Fabrics I knew I had to make it into one of my favorite classic dresses immediately!
With an upcoming wedding I have been needing a plethora of little white dresses, which is a welcome change from my usual little black dress uniform, but I also wanted a pattern I could whip up quickly and a finished dress would work for other occasions going forward. The Sew Over It Betty dress is one I have made a few times in the past and was the perfect pattern for what I was looking for with one exception, it includes a facing instead of a full bodice lining.
I know this is totally personal preference but I really prefer a full lining to a facing in sleeveless dresses. I think they just lay on the body so much nicer and I love that with a light fabric it adds a little extra protection against accidental sheerness.
The stretch twill on its own has the perfect weight and drape for a full circle skirt so I decided to leave the skirt unlined and embrace the beautiful drape the fabric has on its own. It also has enough structure to hold up well for a fitted bodice which means I didn’t need or want to add bulk with the bodice lining and I also wanted to keep the slight give the fabric has (to allow for the eating of food you know) so traditional lining was out. After a bit of trial and error I ended deciding that swimwear lining, as unconventional as it may be, would actually be the perfect full bodice lining in a pattern like this!
So I grabbed my white stretch twill and a few large scraps of Phee swim-lining and started to figure out how I could easily line the bodice. Turns out it really isn’t that hard and the professional finish it gives the dress is amazing!
In case you want your own fully lined bodice, I included the few pattern modifications I made below!
First I cut out the bodice and skirt out of the twill as instructed and then cut out a second bodice in the swim lining. I made the twill bodice and skirt as instructed in the pattern instructions, stopping right before the bodice is attached to the skirt. I then made a second identical bodice, including darts, out of the swim lining.
I then sandwiched the skirt in between both bodices, with the right side of the twill bodice touching the right side of the skirt and the right side of the lining bodice touching the wrong side of the skirt, and sewed the bodice to the skirt as instructed in the pattern. Next up was inserting the invisible zipper in the back which I also did according to pattern instructions, just being sure to keep the lining out of the way.
I skipped all of the instructions for the facing since I wasn’t doing one and moved on to sewing the shoulder seams of both the lining and the main bodice as instructed in the pattern I then placed the bodices right sides together, with the skirt bunched in the middle, and sewed the neckline together in one pass before turning right side out.
Next up was sewing the arm openings closed was a bit more challenging and I honestly dont know how well I will be able to describe it to you so I am going to link you to the tutorial I used here! This method worked like a charm! All that was left after the arms was to slip stitch the bodice lining to the invisible zipper which I did with a hand needle and a handful of patience!
A hem and and press and my new dress was done! As you can see it really wasn’t that much more work that the actual pattern included facing and the polish it gives the dress is so lovely!