Pattern Testing: The Betsy Skirt and the Ava Jacket | Mint Green Sewing Machine: Pattern Testing: The Betsy Skirt and the Ava Jacket

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pattern Testing: The Betsy Skirt and the Ava Jacket

 Hi, and for those of you who don't already know me, I'm Melissa and this is the second-to-the-last stop on the Betsy and Ava blog tour!

I was a more than a bit flattered when Abby of BlueGingerDoll Patterns emailed me a couple of months back about testing out a couple of her new patterns. I had seen several of her adorable designs around the web but I hadn't yet gotten a chance to make one up (I'm sure I'm not the only one out there with a "to-sew" list a mile and a half long) so I was excited to try out a couple of her latest designs.

First, here's my Betsy skirt:

I chose to make view A, which has these cute little button tabs. I love little details like these.
I have to be honest, when Abby told me I'd be making a pencil skirt, I was a little nervous. I have a very pear-shaped body type and I usually gravitate towards more A-line or flared skirts rather than tighter skirts that emphasize my hips. There is also a pretty significant difference between my waist and hip, so I knew I would need to add a little bit of room for my hips while keeping my waist measurement the same. I pulled out my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book (1970 edition), which I would highly recommend to anyone who sews and especially if you love vintage styles (there are lots of them on Ebay). Here's what they had to say about this issue:
A closeup of the diagram:

Here's my alteration on my Betsy pattern. It was a bit of trial and error and I actually ended up taking off some of the volume that I added, but it did succeed in the end!

A closeup of the waistband. I'm always happy to have an excuse to use some of my vintage buttons.

And the back view:

I love how it looks with a cute top and a cardigan, and I've already worn this one several more times since I took the photos for this post. It's really comfortable to wear, especially with the little bit of stretch in the fabric, and the denim matches with pretty much anything, and despite my fears I don't think it highlights my hips at all and is actually rather slimming. I think I'm now fully converted to the pencil skirt camp!

Pattern: Betsy by BlueGingerDoll Patterns, view A
Fabric: Stretch denim from Jo-Ann fabrics
Size:16 with full hip alteration

Now for my Ava jacket. As you can see, it's a loose, kimono-style jacket. I made this one in a yellow linen-rayon blend from Jo-Ann Fabrics and lined it with a very lightweight gray-and white striped cotton.

Let me apologize for the wrinkles in these photos! I ironed my jacket at home but by the time I got to the restaurant where we took the photos it was wrinkly again. That's linen for you.

I decided to try it out with a belt as well. What do you think? Yea or Nay?
Belted back view:
I have to admit that, like the Betsy skirt, this jacket ran contrary to the styles I would normally sew for myself (I tend to be more comfortable with the "fitted on top, loose on bottom" thing). However, just as with the Betsy skirt I ended up really liking it. It's also very comfortable and it has a vintage look that I really love. Just goes to show you that it pays to step out of your comfort zone once in a while, in sewing and in life!

Pattern: Ava by BlueGingerDoll Patterns
Fabric: main: rayon/linen blend from Jo-Ann fabrics,
lining: lightweight shirting cotton from Jo-Ann

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out these lovely ladies on the blog tour and see their fabulous versions of Ava and Betsy!

29th May – Tanya at MrsHughes - ( Betsy)
1st June – Liz at Sewn by Elizabeth - ( Betsy & Ava as well as a little interview with Abby.)
2nd June  – T at uandmii ( Betsy)
3rd June  – Mary at YoungBroke&Fabulous
4th June – Mary at Idle Fancy
5th June – Andrea at foursquarewalls
6th June– Tanya at MrsHughes - (Ava) 

7th June - Melissa at Scavenger hunt 
8th June -  T at uandmii ( Ava)


  1. Good Job! I like the look of the belt too. Not a vintage girl myself, but you certainly have captured the look! BTW, I graduated from high school in '71 but don't have that particular book...hmmmmm.

  2. I just love your chic outfit! So perfectly retro indeed! I think I need an Ava like that! Super lovely. :)

  3. I LOVE this look, Melissa! Both pieces are beautiful, and I say 'heck yeah' to the pencil skirt!! Such a gorgeous silhouette and I really really like the fabrics you have used in each item. The weight of the skirt fabric really lends itself to this particular style and the colour of the jacket is delicious.

    Like you say, quite a retro look over all, and the belt adds a touch of drama.

    Fabulous job on constructing these beauties (and for the styling of the outfits!), I'm heading over to the creative wonder behind the patterns, to have a wee mooch!

    Faded Windmills

  4. Love them both. You done an awesome job and look great!

  5. Hi Mel,
    I love the combo. I think the jacket would go really well on a double knit. I love the look of the loose jacket in the first picture! :)

  6. My two cents - you look awesome in a pencil skirt, and I love the jacket belted! Unbelted is cute too because the volume is a sort of balance for the slim-fitting skirt. Very classy outfit!

  7. These are both gorgeous! And you look truly fantastic in them. The yellow is such a lovely colour, and I think the jacket works really nicely belted. Stunning!

  8. The whole outfit looks fantastic! Very well put together. The mustard Ava is inspired! Thank you for showing about eh grading too a I have the same problem with hips and waist proportions.

  9. I adore it. It's look amazing on you! :)

    1. Derp.... "It's".....It looks amazing on you! :)

  10. What a beautiful outfit! This is certainly the best version of the ava jacket that i have seen yet (or at least the one that would be mostly likely to tempt me to buy the pattern), nice work! I also love that you did the skirt in denim, I think it looks much more wearable that way. So cute!

  11. You look fantastic! I really love both patterns on you, so classic and pretty.

  12. Goodness me you could be Joan from Mad Men's body double with that first photograph! I like the belted look but it is whatever you feel comfortable wearing. The whole outfit looks fabulous.

  13. Nice to meet you and glad I found your blog from our LA Meetup! I love that skirt -- and great tip on the bodice widening!

  14. Wow, this ensemble is so, so smart looking! I have the exact same hesitations and tendencies as you. Also being pear-shaped I, too, gravitate towards fitted up top and loose on the bottom. Good for you for turning that literally upside down! This makes me think that just maybe I could pull it off as well. This will definitely be something for me to keep in mind. Really fabulous job and look - your styling is perfect!