Hot! It was meant to be, Betty.




  • Fabric: Vintage (and I mean vintage) silky rayon maybe?
  • Pattern:  Retro Butterrick 5707 ‘1958’
  • Time: For Madmen Era (late 50’s-early 60’s)
  • Cost: $4.00
  • Wear Again: Yes, but very carefully





While perusing the local Senior Center Thrift Store for fabrics, I came across this small delicate bundle marked four dollars. Four dollars!–that’s a lot, since most pieces (carefully measured and rolled by volunteers) range from one to three dollars. I almost passed it by, but it called to me. It was silky smooth, and even though the bundle looked small, the little brown tag said four yards. Well, I thought it looked like it might be vintage, so I bought it. I washed and dried it, pressed it, and stashed it away, while I knocked out the Paddy’s Day look. I probably spent more time thinking about the look I would make, than actually making it. I have so many ’50-’60 patterns that it was hard to decide whicht to try. I finally decided on Butterick 5707. It has this interesting bodice/sleeve piece that is cut on the bias.

Our school district builds in a Snow Day every year, in case we need it, but if we don’t then we still have to take it. This last Friday was that day. It was a miserable rainy day, and perfect for indoor sewing. I laid out the fabric. What?–it’s only 36 inches wide? Wow, this must be pretty old because most apparel fabric today is 46-48 inches wide. After a little googling, I found out that indeed, in the 1960’s most textile industries switched to the wider width. That would make this fabric over 50 years old! Hence, my title: “It was meant to be, Betty”. I laid out the pattern, pinning liberally because the fabric was so slippery. I also cut each piece right after pinning. “Oh, Crap!” I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough for the skirt. I was determined to make it work. I folded and refolded the fabric and was able to cut a shorter skirt. It would only just come to my knee with the tiniest of hems. I forged ahead, sewing happily, then “Oh No! this fabric has little holes here and there.” Why hadn’t I noticed earlier? I think it was because the fabric was wanting to become something reflective of it’s time and place. The holes might be repairable with a little of that liquid stitch stuff, but I’ve never used it before. Any suggestions? The print is so busy, that it’s hard to notice the little holes, so maybe I’ll just leave it alone.

A bit about the story: Betty has gone through a lot in seasons one through four. I think she will continue to make some changes in her life in season five. In the photos, I hoped to capture Betty moving on, making some life-changing decisions. I see her contemplative, and courageous. Here she stands, leaving everything behind. She’s waiting for a bus or a taxi to take her away. She smokes a cigarette to calm her nerves and boost her confidence. (Whoa, did I really say that?)


My hubby and I had fun with the play cigarette and Betty’s little overnight suitcase. He tried really hard to take some decent shots. Most turned out blurry and not very flattering, but he managed to capture the feeling I was going for.

Where we left off. Mad Men Season 4 recap.

Mad Men and Crazy Women!













Barbara is a resident of Northern California. She loves to sew and has pledged not to buy retail clothes for the year of 2012. That means she has to make her own, or buy it at a thrift store. I hope she doesn't spend too much on fabric. When she shops for fabric her eyes light up as she imagines the possibilities! She's like a kid in a candy store.


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  1. Cute!! I took a picture sitting on one of my vintage suitcases, too! About the holes, I would just leave them unless they’re someplace really noticeable. The print is fairly busy so they should stay mostly hidden.

  2. Barbara, this is great, I love the photos and the story of how you got the fabric. This was a fun challenge, I love all the different pieces people are submitting.

  3. Yay! You used that pretty fabric! Very nice dress, mom. One you can wear any time!

  4. I love that fabric and wish I could reach in and touch it!!! I love the dress, too, and you (and your hub) styled it just right. The coat and suitcase are major magic!

  5. This is just lovely. I spent $20A (which is about $21US) yesterday on 4 metres of pinky/red rayon polka dot fabric at a Salvation Army store yesterday – it is narrow width too. I think you did well! Good on your husband for doing your photos

  6. Lovely fabric, pretty dress and great styling! This was a pattern I considered using too but for Joan kekeke, its great to see your interpretation:)

  7. Aw look at your daughter up there supporting you. That is so cool, yay Leah!! Barbara you look adorable, minus the cigarette LOL. You and your hubby make a great team. TEAM BARBARA!!!!

  8. I really like the collar details and the dress is very demure. I love your first pic, and may I also say, beautiful legs! :)

  9. Very pretty! I really like the collar and the “meant-to-be” fabric. Very cute photos too!

  10. You are a doll, Barbara. Love the props and your sentiment for Betty. Your dress is just darling and your styling is perfect. So sorry the fabric surprised you with its defects…I trust you’ll find a way to repair it.