Mad Men and a Sneak Peak

As the Mad Men Challenge draws to a close, I thought I'd share my first two dresses.  You may recall, I wrote that I was planning to recreate Trudy's darling blue party dress*.  Well, I did... and you can read about it on Sew Weekly but, I was far from pleased with it.  It was my first vintage pattern and I forgot that I would need to make several alterations to account for excess ease and a
lack of the appropriate undergarments (bullet bra, girdle...).  Also, the pleats of the skirt were double-stacked, something I hadn't realized previously, and that combined  with the taffeta gave the skirt an awkward volume.  It felt like a bad prom dress...

Mad Men Challenge - Take 1
So, I decided to follow it up with a completely different look.  One that channeled these dresses:

Betty in floral wiggle dresses.
Images courtesy of Tom + Lorenzo via A Sewing Odyssey
I didn't have any patterns in my stash that resembled these dresses and neither fabric store was having a pattern sale at the time (and when I get an idea in my head, I have to do it now).  However, taking a second look through my stash, focusing more on the line drawings, I realized I could make Simplicity 2550 work. I just needed to change the neckline and eliminate the front pleats.  Good, so, off to the fabric store I went in search of the perfect floral.  Of course, such a floral wasn't to be found but, I did find this bold one begging for me to take it home so, I decided it would make the perfect muslin.

Mad Men Challenge - Take 2
Yes, such a loud dress required white sunglasses!
Long story short (about which you can read here and here), after quite a bit of drafting and re-designing, I ended up with a cute, well-fitting spring sheath.  While it doesn't specifically scream "Mad Men, " I think it channels a little bit of Betty and a little bit of her daughter, Sally (that bright shift she wore to Don's office, you know the one).

Repopulating the dandelions
My last minute change - a back vee
(By the way, high noon - the worst time to take photos!  I do apologize for the scary pale skin!)

Brandon and I love this new pattern so much, we've decided I need to work several into my queue!  Now, I really should be working on that cute alligator dress but, I can't help myself!  I just had to squeeze another in!  For those of you here from Julia's blog, welcome! and please stick around!  My next dress is going to be a little Betty and a little Joan.  Here a small peak:

I'll have this one done today so, look for it soon!

Happy sewing! x

*If anyone else would like to recreate Trudy's dress, Simplicity 1797 would be a much better starting point!


  1. Jennifer, I am sorry that your Trudy dress did not turn out as expected. It still looks lovely from the photos, but I understand that if you don't feel comfortable in it and don't love it that you need to immediately dive into a new project.

    I do love the summer shift that you sewed up. The fit of this dress looks absolutely perfect, and cotton really is an essential for summer dresses. Your next dress looks like it is sure to please as well.

    1. Aww, thanks, Annabelle. At least it photographs well enough :-) (Of course, it did take over 100 photos to get a few that didn't look as ill-fitting...)

      Thanks, I worked quite a bit on the fit, even drafting my own skirt block so, Imm really pleased it came out so well. And I agree - cotton is essential for summer. It was over 80 degrees when we took these photos and I was so grateful I had chosen a natural fabric!

  2. Sorry about the Trudy dress, Jennifer. But thanks for the heads up on the vintage pattern details. I've never used a vintage pattern and the points you mentioned are ones that I would have never considered either.

    The sheath dress is very pretty and looks to fit nicely also. Looking forward to the finished look from the sneak peak.

    1. I'm just calling it a learning experience. I also have enough fabric to recut the bodice so I can salvage it when I decide to come back to it. If you do use a vintage pattern, definitely measure the pieces to check for excessive ease (forgetting the was my biggest misstep - I'm actually holding my shoulders quite awkwardly to make the front lay flat). It's also quite likely that you'll need to lower the darts since bras are shaped differently now. On a better note though, vintage patterns are very clear and seem to pay a higher attention to detail and accuracy so, once you get the sizing down, I expect they're a dream!

      Thanks! I'm really quite proud of my changes on the sheaths. I should have the latest one up this weekend.

  3. I think the Trudy party dress is very pretty and u look nice in it, but i guess it might no be paractical to wear a full skirt every day! I know how u feel... I have made a few full skirted dreses, and I feel out of place sometimes when I wear them... esp since I have been participating in One Pattern One Week challenge, I found them hard to incorporate in to my weekday wardrobe....

    I think if you were going to a party, u would look stunning in that blue frock!!!!

    the second dress is pretty, the slim skirt makes it so much more practical to wear!!!
    gorgeous, and I really like the V back :)

    Great job!!!!! So pretty and inspiring!

    1. Thanks, Neeno! I agree. Full skirts are darling but, they can be a tad much for certain occasions, especially in a formal fabric. Your dresses are lovely though! You should wear them confidently!

      Thanks! I've been wanting to do a back v for some time. I'm glad I finally went for it. It's an easy tweak really and just needs to be stabilized with twill tape.

      You're too kind!

  4. These are both so pretty! The fit on the sheath dress is perfect! Ooh, and I can't wait to see the fuchsia dress!

  5. Jennifer.. it looked so elegant.... I love the colour on you !

  6. I think your Trudy dress makes you look like Charlotte from Sex in the City. Your hair looks similar as well. Gorgeous!

    1. Hi, Sheri! How cute - from the episodes I saw, Charlotte was my favorite, especially style-wise. Thank you!


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