Monday, March 31, 2014

Sewing Like a Mad (Wo)Man

As you can see from my side bar, I tossed my hat into the Mad Men ring this year, along with Julia Bobbin and a raft of other sewers around the planet.
My inspiration

I took Megan as my inspiration, partly because I can't imagine being able to carry off a Joan or a Betty. I was looking for something not too full-skirted or narrow-waisted and with minimal design details. Something that resembled a 1960's pattern that just happened to be waiting in my pattern stash.

I ended up doing green, but the bow-belt of Miss Pink

The pattern was intended for a coltish young lass with a 32 1/2 inch bust and a 24 inch waist. Ha! My bust is more like a 36, and I didn't have a 24 inch waist even before birthing a baby. I adjusted the waist just by leaving out the gathers called for in the directions. The bust mysteriously wasn't too small even without making any changes. In fact, I could probably take it in some, though I think the wrinkles you'll notice are at least partly due to the fabric and my period-inspired hip thrust.

I found this pattern at our local antique flea market and had to get it because I liked the squared-off arm scythe. You can't see it too well on the pattern envelope. We tried to get a good arm pit shot but they're remarkable hard to stage elegantly. This is the best we could do:
See how the side bodice is cut flat at the top?

I used a cotton sateen that my friend Jessica kindly gifted to me. It's a green that's actually pretty close to the dress worn by the blond on the pattern envelope. The fabric is a little light-weight for this pattern, plus cotton sateen wrinkles like there's no tomorrow. I swear I ironed this dress mere moments before I finagled The Man into yet another photo shoot.

Whoever owned this pattern in it's previous life must have been very similar to the teen-aged me. The poor thing was hacked to death and the front and back skirt pieces were ragged and two different lengths. My knees are no longer designed for public viewing, so I added 5 inched to the skirt and still took up a super narrow hem.

The bow-belt is from Tilly's tutorial

I had to settle for indoor shots today. We're having a rare and much-needed rainy afternoon. We had to hunt to find a room where there was enough light, so we ended up in my sewing room (a.k.a. the guest bedroom) and the kitchen. Holy cow! I never noticed how much stuff we have on our kitchen counter! It's all shoved to the side in this photo, and I'm trying to use my body to block the dishes in the sink.

A little less wrinkly here. I'm trying to stand up straight.

I was rushing a bit to get this done before April 1. Between that and the not-so-great fabric choice, this dress is a maybe-wearable muslin. Though in a dimly-lighted bar with a cocktail in hand, it just might do.

I didn't have anything that resembled a cigarette to use as a prop, so I hauled out a martini glass. Might need to fill that bad boy up and relax in front of the fire this evening, listening to the storm outside.


  1. I love it! Well done on the color choice, I like the longer length, looks very refined.. with I could make something like this, I'm feeling inspired!

    1. Thank you! This is the second vintage pattern I've tried. It was really fun - hop in and give one a try!

  2. LOL. I used to hack my pattern to death as a teenager too. Your dress is beautiful and I love the color! Loved your last shot too. Great photography skills. :)))

    1. I passed your lovely comment along to The Man, who is my photographer. He says, "Thank you!"