Ta-Da.... I've finished my Mad Men dress, just as spring has sprung.
I chose this bright blue Joanie dress for the challenge, as I wanted to add a fitted shirt dress to my wardrobe. I took it slowly, adding a few of my own touches, and I'm pretty happy with how close it looks to Joan's original number.
So, down to the nitty gritty. The pattern is vintage McCall's 3779 from 1956 - a fitted wiggle shirt dress with kimono sleeves. I love the style of this pattern, especially the clever contour darts around the waist - they create curves where curves don't exist and nip in any that are a bit out of control! It's the same detail that was used in my Roobeedoo top, which, incidentally was another vintage McCall's, they certainly knew how to cut a flattering pattern in the 1950's.
I didn't make a muslin (tut tut), the only adjustment I made to the paper pattern was to shorten it by three inches - the original length was virtually ankle length on me! When I first sewed it up it looked absolutely fine, but it just didn't have that Joan va-va-voom factor I was looking for. This is where the kimono sleeve shape really comes in handy. Because there's a centre back seam and the underarm seam and side seams are one and the same, I was able to make the following adjustments to the dress without it looking completely butchered: one inch taken from the top arm seams, one inch from the centre back seam to the waist, and an inch off the side/underarm seams, tapering down to half an inch at the waist. I also took another three inches off the length (yes, I'm officially a midget). I've made a copy of these adjustments, but I'm pretty sure my next version will be similar to the original, roomier pattern I sewed up.
|I HATE wearing my hair up - you can see how uncomfortable I look!|
The buttons are self covered and I made my own belt with a covered buckle, using a belt and buckle kit from A Fashionable Stitch (a one inch 'Rita' if you're interested). The dress needed a belt to match the Joan inspiration picture, but I personally think the dress is more flattering without one.
|Hair down and no belt - that's better. Look at how big my hair looks after I've taken my up-do down....|
|....and look how flat it looks one minute later! Yes, I have the world's straightest hair.|
For fabric I used some cheap as chips 'bi-stretch' from Calico Laine. I found it difficult to match the colour, plus I needed something with a bit of stretch and this seemed to tick both boxes. It was fine to work with, and at £3.50 a metre, I made the entire dress for just over a tenner. But… it's pretty cheap and nasty fabric at the end of the day. I think the style of the dress is classy enough to disguise this, but I know it. I do regret not using a wool or double knit, but it's a pretty close match despite this. I'd love to make an Autumnal version in a double knit and there's already a summer polka dot version in the planning stages as we speak!
It was a real pleasure to make this dress and I had a lot of fun trying to recreate Joanie's overall look for the pictures. I've also really enjoyed following everybody else's progress and reading all the research other bloggers have been doing into different character's looks. This has probably been the most enjoyable challenge I've been involved in so far - I've had a big grin on my face during the whole process! So massive thanks must be given to Julia Bobbin for organising such an interesting and fun challenge. Don't forget to check out her blog from 1st April, where she'll be showcasing all the other amazing Mad Men dresses that have been created worldwide. I can't wait to see them all.
Happy Monday! x