Monday, 26 March 2012

Mad Men Dress Challenge - The Big Reveal!

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

57 comments:

  1. Oooo very nice! and in my favourite colour too! I agree it looks better without the belt - a v flattering dress. Great job! x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oooh Jane look at that va-va-VOOM! What a lovely make!! It's modest but raunchy - how'd you do that?! Brilliant. I love the darts down the front and the covered buttons. The colour really makes your blond barnet pop as well - very Bardot! I love it with and without the belt but it gives two very different looks so double bonus :) I'll be putting my pics up this week - so exciting! I too had a massive smile while making mine and a lot of fun doing the pics :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gorgeous! What a lovely colour, you look fabulous

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cool look! Really suits you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jane, you are a minx in this dress! I absolutely love the colour and style on you. And almost more importantly, it's so similar to Joan's dress - I adore your top photo where you are posing like her. So spot on! I also hate wearing my hair up by the way, so I know what you mean about feeling uncomfortable, but it really does suit you up!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ding dong Miss Moneypenny!
    Px

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow this looks amazing! Well done on making such a fabulous dress! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jane, I do believe this is one of my favorites. This dress makes your waist look super skinny. You are rock'in the 50's for sure. Even though you aren't happy with the fabric, it looks really nice. I love the color and can't wait to see the polka dots version.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Holy guacamole!!! Smokin hot dress Jane! I do declare that cut and colour was dreamt up especially for you. I'm starting to get quite depressed now that I didn't have the time to take part in this inspired challenge... Still time maybe??!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wowee! That is fabulous! But how strange about the belt - you would think it would add a finishing touch but it seems to interrupt the flow too much, even in the same fabric. Those darts are da bomb! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Smokin hot! Your Mad Men dress turned out gorgeously! I really like it belted, personally. I'm excited to see your spring polka dog version. I just posted my Betty dress last night. I can't wait to see all the Mad Men creations onJulia's blog April 1!

    ReplyDelete
  12. That looks great on you. I agree it looks much better without the belt, its nice to see the waist details. I can wait to see your polka dot version.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 'Take a letter for me, will you? Actually, scrap that. Mix me a martini, then come and sit on my lap.' Woah, Jane, ultra Mad Men!!!! I love the waist darts. That's not a real fag, is it? Is it a crayon or something? Love the devotion to accurate styling. You're right, this looks like a whole heap of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, thank you! No it's not a real fag, as a non smoker I had to rack my brains for a substitute - it's a white pencil !

      Delete
  14. You are made for dresses like this one! So gorgeous on you! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow! Great job - so flattering and your handiwork looks so professional. Really impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The contour darts are fabulous! I love the whole look of the dress, from the color to the covered buttons, it's a spectacular piece!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Fantastic! And you've got to love the chalk pencil doubling up as a cigarette. My, how times have changed!

    That belt kit is going straight onto my list of next purchases. Do you need a tool for it or is it good to go?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think one of those plier tools for putting on snaps is pretty necessary. And actual pliers for crimping on the buckle. The rest of it is straight forward. X

      Delete
  18. Gorgeous colour. I prefer it with the belt (my mum had belts like that!) and hair down. The contour darts are a nice feature: must look out for the pattern but I'm afraid that once I finish my MM dress, the cupboard will be bursting so no excuse to make dresses for a while.....

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ummmm. Vava voom. I like it with AND without the belt. Seriously great dress. Perfect balance of modest and sexy which makes it AMAZING!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jane this is AMAZING!!! You look fabulous & I adore the style & styling. What a sultry updo! It's also an incredible colour, whatever you say about the quality of the fabric!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ooo!! It's gorgeous, and I do like your brooch! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Va Va VOOM! This dress is AMAZING! It's absolutely perfect and you nailed the fit! I just love it on you! Can't wait to see your other versions!

    ReplyDelete
  23. oooh wow this dress is fabulous!!
    I really cant follow patterns to save my life,Your very talented x

    ReplyDelete
  24. Fabulous frock!! You look ahh..maze..ing in it. Thats a brilliant cut and colour on you x

    ReplyDelete
  25. Your dress is fantastic and the blue really suits you. I love your blog and have awarded you the Versatile Blogger award on my blog here :) http://sorbetsurprise.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/my-first-blog-award.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you!, that's so kind! X

      Delete
  26. I love it!! But I have to put in my two cents and say that I think it looks better with the cute matching belt... now normally I'm not a belt girl, and I admit the dress looks more like your usual style without it.... but I think this dress "likes" having a belt... I can't quite explain it better than that :P

    ReplyDelete
  27. Grrrrrl you are owning the Joanie dress! It doesn't look cheap and nasty at all and I hope you make one billion copies because it looks so fabulous on you. I am tres jealous of this dress!

    ReplyDelete
  28. its so lovely, jane, you should be very pleased with yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Jane your version is so awesome it makes my eyes hurt! Seriously! And how perfect is that blue! You look fabulous with your hair up to, I don't know WHAT you're on about!

    Don't forget to email me a picture! You're a knockout! x

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow! What a beautiful dress, and I love how you accessorized it. Great job recreating the look. That colour looks beautiful on you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh, I love it! The dress looks lovely on you.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Fab dress, Jane! I love it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Simply stunning Jane! It's so close to the original as well and really flattering :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. You look gorgeous. That dress is great for the curvy, or not so curvy, lady. I love the way it cinches in your waist. *Drool* I think I may be partial to the way it looks with the belt just because the belt almost makes it look a bit more complete. But heck, accessories will fall second to the dress. It's a stunner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correction: I think I may be partial to the way it looks with the belt just because the belt makes the outfit look more complete.

      Delete
  35. All I can say is WOW. You really did a fantastic job of recreating Joan's dress. I'm a huge fan of waist darts, and the ones on this dress are gorgeous. Well done!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Don't light up! Great dress, very mad man. I've nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award. Hope you don't object and can pick it up on my site.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I think this looks great and is very close to the original. I am am also loving your moody 'Joan' look in the top photo. Must say, I actually really like it with the belt, but I think I'm a belt kind of girl. Bethx (the linen cat)

    ReplyDelete
  38. You look gorgeous - love the colour of the fabric and it's an excellent fit!

    ReplyDelete
  39. You look fabulous in this fabulous dress. Love the cut. Love the colour. Love how beautifully made it is. Drop dead gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Stunning! Love the colour, the darts, the fabric-covered buttons - everything really. You look great, as usual. Personally I prefer it with the belt, just to throw a spanner in the works ;) xx

    ReplyDelete
  41. Jane you look totally amazing! That colour looks so good on you and the whole finish looks awesome. You deserve a massive G&T! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  42. Oh brilliant, you're a dead ringer! x

    ReplyDelete
  43. Oh Jane. This is just perfect. They definitely knew how to flatter a shape in the 50s. Glad I'm not the only midget who has to chop of ...5 inches in my case! And I so totally know what you mean about the fabric. Doesn't matter if the whole world is marvelling at your creations, one knows that it doesn't feeeeel! Even knowing that, I think I would have gone for the cheap stuff. Haven't seen that colour blue in any quality fabric in a long time. It soooo your colour too! And a polka dot version you say?....now you are talking!!!! xx

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wow! Great looking replica of Joan's dress. Love the color blue and works well for you!

    ReplyDelete
  45. fantastic. It's really a great replica and looks great on you.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Jane, this looks great! The front pleats are totally flattering and the color is great with your skin tone. A total win. I think the belt is an awesome detail--it accentuates your waist and is very flattering. Good call.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I did this one for this year's Joan challenge! I love yours. The fit is super.
    http://rosiewednesday.blogspot.com/2013/04/mad-men-challenge-joan-blue-shirtwaist.html

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...