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.