Channeling Betty Draper

shirtwaist-front

Like so many others, including myself, my sister is a big Mad Men fan. She has been coveting a Betty Draper From Season 2 style shirtdress for ages, so I made one for her.

This style of dress can be made with virtually any lightweight, tightly woven fabric. I sent my sister several links for fabrics that would work well. I was glad she chose this amazing silk taffeta jacquard from B&J fabrics. Shopping at B&J is a lot like shopping at Sak’s or Neiman’s. You know you’re getting the best, and you’re pretty sure you’re paying too much. In this case, the quality of this fabric matches the price. It is gorgeously dimensional, and the very 21st century blurry plaid is a nice modern counterpoint to the 1960′s lines of the dress. It has so much body that you don’t even need a crinoline to make the skirt stick out.

I used a vintage pattern (Advance 8764), recommended by Steph at 3 Hours Past. The pattern was easily available on Etsy in the right size, so I did not see any point in trying to find another Betty Draper-like pattern to compare it with. I added a bias placket because Betty wore a shirtdress with a bias placket on the show and I thought it was fantastic.

The pattern had been used before. I found myself immensely curious about the dress that the previous owner made, where she wore it, what fabric she used, or whether she was sewing her own clothes out of necessity. Maybe she was even making it for her sister! It’s fair to say that I was slightly obsessed with her, but I’m over it by now.

I bought a belt at the thrift shop for a couple of dollars and covered it with matching fabric. I suspect that I made this harder than it should have been. The end result only looks OK from a distance. It does not hold up to close inspection.

back view

back view

Front and belt detail

Front and belt detail

Closeup of fabric.  It is a jacquard weave, as well as a plaid.  Swoon.

Closeup of fabric. It is a jacquard weave, as well as a plaid. Swoon.

Pocket for the phone.  The original pattern did nto include pockets.  What's the point of a big skirt if not to hide stuff in the pockets?

Pocket for the phone. The original pattern did nto include pockets. What’s the point of a big skirt if not to hide stuff in the pockets?

side view

side view

fairly deep hem.  Also, you can see the wrong side of the fabric.

fairly deep hem. Also, you can see the wrong side of the fabric.

Cool turn-back cuff.  I used metal buttons with a flower motif

Cool turn-back cuff. I used metal buttons with a flower motif

Inspiration dress

Inspiration dress

Here's the pattern I used, purchased from Etsy.

Here’s the pattern I used, purchased from Etsy.

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22 Comments

  1. akismet-21b053fec805c8711a1f608da8cdd26a
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, you aren’t kidding — that fabric is swoon worthy. Love it and love the dress. Also the bias placket. That’s one lucky sister!

    Elizabeth
    http://www.sewnblog.com

  2. Posted February 22, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous!!!!!!!!

  3. Posted February 22, 2013 at 3:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    Oh… Hey. Did mom mention we’re sisters? I’d like my version post haste. Thanks. So beautiful!

    • Posted February 22, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink | Reply

      I knew I felt a kinship with you. I’ll start working on it right away.

  4. Posted February 22, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    This is beautiful! Lucky sister:)

  5. Posted February 22, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    This is so crisp and lovely and I am most covetous! It is sashay worthy!

  6. Posted February 22, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a beautiful dress – the fabric looks amazing, plus looks to be a perfect match with the pattern. And as usual I am in awe of your sewing skills…

  7. Posted February 22, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    Now you know that is one fabulous looking dress! I love all of the details you put in it…so when are you making one for yourself?! The school moms would love to see you in this! ;)

    • Posted February 22, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much! However, there is no way I could wear this. I would be a suburban housewife channeling a suburban housewife. That’s a little too meta for me. It was really fun to make, though. My sister, who is not now and never has been a suburban housewife, will look amazing in this dress.

  8. Posted February 22, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a wonderful gift. I hope we get to see a picture of her wearing it.

  9. Posted February 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow. Your amazing fabric matches your amazing sewing skills and your amazing generousity. I think we would all love a picture of the dress on your sister.

  10. Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What amazing fabric. It definitely makes the dress! *love*

  11. Posted February 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    great fabric and style the little covered belt sets it off nicely!

  12. Posted February 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wonderful job, Claudine. Very sumptuous looking!

  13. Posted February 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The fabric geek in me is going wild over this jacquard. It is simply stunning. The colors and plaid patterning are just perfect. And it’s the perfect fabric for this dress, which looks absolutely fabulous. Your sister will be so pleased!

  14. Posted February 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous fabric — I link the wrong side, too. The bias placket is great the way it has those X’s between buttons. A triumphant update of the style.

  15. jennyklyon
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    100% swoonworthy!

  16. gwensews
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That’s just cute as can be, a totally 60s look and definitely a Betty dress.

  17. Shams
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous fabric! A great dress and a very lucky sister. :)

  18. Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful. I love that fabric!!

  19. Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    That is gorgeous! The fabric choice is so incredibly perfect. What a lucky sister!

    Covered belt kits are awesome. The buckles, alas, feel kind of lightweight and chintzy, but so far they’ve held up ok.

  20. Kathryn
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    Everything about this project is a feast for the eyes, Claudine. The fabric is indeed swoon-worthy and what you made with it is perfect. Your sister looks marvelous in it.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] « Channeling Betty Draper [...]

  2. By Pattern Magic Weaving « Rolling in Cloth on April 9, 2013 at 1:05 am

    [...] silk taffetas. One is a gold color plain weave, the other is a plaid jacquard weave, left over from this project. There was not enough of the taffeta for a whole garment for me, so I did not feel bad using a [...]

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