The ‘Better Betty’ Dress
Fabric: Double bedsheet, thrifted, $3 and leftover white cotton for the lining
Pattern: McCall’s 3718, thrifted, $2.99
Notions: hand me down zipper
Time to complete: About 6 hours
First worn: March 2012
Wear again? Yes!
Total Cost: $5.99
Oh Betty Draper! There are few characters on television that I want to shake some sense into, but at the same time marvel at her contradictions and somehow find myself championing her to success. That could actually be said about the whole Mad Men cast, you love them, you hate them… and the show just keeps getting better so I am overjoyed for the season return!
And HELLO again! It’s been too long! After last year’s epic Sew Weekly, I’ve been slowly pottering around the sewing room, making lots of stretchy summer dresses, but nothing too spesh. So the Mad Men theme totally rebooted my drive to try out a new pattern and aim for something dazzling!
It’s a McCalls pattern from the op shop in Bendigo, and from 1955, which could be a smidge too early for the Mad Men era. I decided with the ‘peek a boo’ slit it would be a Peggy type style (she’s a high neckline modest gal) but this fabric just turned it into Betty Draper category. After a bit of pinteresting searches, I noticed blue florals (for both Peggy & Betty) were more dominate in Mad Men’s style guide, so instead of the green and white cotton plaid I’d bought especially for the theme, I searched my stash and found this blue/fawn floral bedsheet. I know, I bought new fabric and still used a bedsheet!! Some things just never change! I’ll have to use the green stuff another time, I just thought it would be too bold and blocky for the era of the Mad Men theme.
As this dress was a little more detailed for me (with the neckline and the bows), I had originally wanted to follow the instructions step by step, but of course I zoomed ahead and missed out the double neckline entirely. It wasn’t til I tried on the bodice I realised how loose and gape-y it was, and *then* I understood what the neckline pieces were for! (I thought they were facing pattern pieces, and ditched them as I decided to line the whole bodice cause the bedsheet was a little sheer) A-ha! I reattached the neck piece to the bodice, taking oodles of time to do so carefully… and I think the clean & flat ‘peek a boo’ looks great! Always read all of the instructions all the way through before sewing! (Will I follow my own advice, I wonder?)
The rest of the dress was great to sew up, the little bows attached easily into the 6 gored skirt pieces, and they come across looking like edges of pockets! They’re also on the back as well, which is sweet. I am wearing a few petticoats to fluff out the shape of the skirt though, there’s stacks of fabric there! There’s a lovely side zipper, so the back sits nice and flat too… all over, it’s a lovely pattern and I’ll be totally sewing it up again! I over exaggerated the sizing for this one though… It’s a 32 and I’ve been feeling I’m a 33 or 34 of late (in the bust, it changes so often!) but really I should have just sewn it up as the pattern pieces suggested, as it’s a *little* loose around the darts. Not that I can tell now looking at these photos!
Husbie and I looked around town for a 1950s/1960s cafe (there are a few with loads of vintage chairs and tables and lino floors), but as it was a Sunday it was so busy! We thought if I had other people in the background (wearing modern clothes), the photos wouldn’t look Mad Men enough! As we drove past the old Town Hall (and now Council building, I think), we both thought it’d look like Betty Draper attending the divorce court, or paying a visit to her lawyers! Unfortunately, I couldn’t frown as much as Betty does (!) in the show so I’ve named this the ‘Better Betty’ Dress in ode to her happier times.
So lovely to be here again, can’t wait to see the radical 1950s and 1960s attire this week! My fave eras for clothing & sewing!