The “Betty” Outfit at Goodwood Revival

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Introducing the "Betty" outfit. One of my #2018makenine projects and a long time in the planning, this has been on my list since I saw the 1944 movie "Pin Up Girl" with Betty Grable. This year's #sewingthescene challenge on Instagram finally gave me the push I needed to bring it to life. And when I was invited to attend the Goodwood Revival I knew it was the perfect place for its debut. 

Without a doubt Goodwood Revival is the most immaculately put together vintage event of the year - the set dressing is absolutely spot-on, and the array of character actors from Mrs Mops to WWII re-enactors to the old-fashioned Bobby on the beat - together with the actual classic racecars in action on the track - make it a totally immersive experience. Over the event’s history it’s grown into a celebration of not just motor sport, but transportation of all kinds. It literally has it all: trains, planes and automobiles (and buses and motorbikes!).

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I didn't buy this, but it certainly went perfectly with the outfit!

I didn't buy this, but it certainly went perfectly with the outfit!

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Construction notes

I designed the apple fabric for printing via Spoonflower in order to be as faithful as possible to the original. The yellow is a linen-weave rayon from Fashion Fabrics Club which I custom-dyed with RIT hand dye after sewing (some people think it's a bit risky to put the effort into sewing before dyeing, but I find it easier to get an even colour this way - a full uncut length is unwieldy, and I worry about distorting the fabric if I dye cut pattern pieces before sewing them). 

The outfit is four pieces in total: bolero, skirt, blouse and matching clutch (I think I might be proudest of the matching clutch! It really makes the outfit and I'm glad I decided to make it):

  • The skirt is a self-drafted half-circle skirt with shaped waistband based on the original in the movie. The centre front of the waistband is reinforced with two short lengths of spiral steel boning attached to the lining, to keep the points pointy and stop them from flipping forward.

  • The bolero is based on a vintage 1950s pattern (view 1A), but I redrafted it to square off the front and extend the collar.

  • I used Charm Patterns by Gertie Rita Blouse for the top, but instead of a modern invisible zipper I inserted a vintage metal zipper with a hand-picked lap, for period authenticity's sake.

  • Finally, the matching clutch was made from a delightful make-do-and-mend "Economy Designs" pattern from the 1940s, designed to use up remnants. It fastens with a press stud. I'm extremely pleased with the clutch and now I want to make matching clutches with all my outfits!

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