Monday, 31 March 2014

Mad men challenge - the Pensive Betty dress

After much debating over fabrics and discussion on Twitter, here's my entry to Julia Bobbin's Mad Men Challenge.





Pensive? Grumpy? Miserable? You decide.


I posted about my inspiration dress here. I used vintage Simplicity 4766 from 1954. I had originally planned to use the Anna bodice cut off at the bust pleats with a midriff panel added, but when I saw this pattern it looked perfect (and doubles up as a Vintage Pledge item!).



I loved working with this pattern. As it is a single size, there's so much information on the pattern sheets. I traced the bodice pieces to alter with my usual 1/2" FBA (and I did use a ruler this time!). I lengthened the bodice by 3" but I think that was slightly too much. 2.5" would probably have been fine. I made a muslin and other than needing a slight square shoulder adjustment it was perfect. I needed that after my Emery fitting fail!  Oh i also added 2" at the waist. Damn you slender 1950s ladies!

 
The fabric is a quilting cotton (I know, gasp in horror, but it's good quality and softened up really nicely after prewashing). It's Moda from the Vintage Modern collection. Although it's not a rose print, I think the red and pink flowers capture the feel of the original dress pretty well. It's surprisingly hard to find rose print fabric that's not just red.


It came together really easily. There was no mention of interfacing the facings but after consultation with Twitter I did (I guess convenient fusibles weren't around at the time). 

The pattern suggests using seam binding to stabilise the waist seam. After talking to the ladies on Twitter (again!) I decided to add a waist stay. It's just seam binding stitched to the waistline seam allowance and topstitched, fastened with a heavy duty corset hook and eye. I may add this into other dresses as it's really comfortable.




I used a side lapped zip as per the pattern and sewn by machine.


I made the skirt as per the pattern length but when it came to hemming I chopped a huge 5.5" off. Since I am tall I didn't think it would need shortening by that much! Worth checking if you are shorter and have limited fabric available as you could save a lot! I hemmed it to just below the knee as it was the most flattering on me.  The hem was hand catch-stitched - well you need something sto occupy your hands while you want Sewing Bee!


I love this dress and wore it to my sister in law's birthday party this weekend - I got lots of compliments!



Did you make a Mad Men dress?  Show me!

43 comments:

  1. Gorgeous dress Jo and love your hair cut!

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    1. thanks claire! it was time for a change!

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  2. Gorgeous! That colour looks great on you, too.

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  3. Stunning my dear! I've added it to my Pinterest board and it will feature in my next roundup for sure! http://www.pinterest.com/stitchodyssey/vintage-sewing-pattern-pledge/

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    1. aawww, thanks marie! i love combining challenges and working with this pattern was fab!

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  4. I love the fabric - such pretty colors! You did a wonderful job on all the details! It's a lovely dress you can wear with pride. =)

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    1. thanks brooke! it's a great summer dress (and i actually got a sunny day to wear it which was lovely!)

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  5. Lovely frock and lovely hair. That colour is ace on you.

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  6. It's beautiful! That fabric is a perfect match!!

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    1. thanks very much! took my ages to find the fabric - i swear i looked at every red floral available!

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  7. The fabric very nicely nods to the Betty dress you used as your inspiration! I sewed MadMen dresses for the first two years of the SAL, but I've decided not to participate this year. It was a tough call. I really love dresses from this era, but I don't wear them often enough to justify sewing more at the moment. :(

    This is really gorgeous. You did Betty proud.

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    1. aaww thanks so much - such a lovely comment! i do love sewing challenges, there's such a good community feeling!

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  8. Such a great fabric! It's just lovely! I have no dress to show, I'm not into vintage. I think those that can pull it off are really cool, but I don't think I could pull it off without feeling like I'm in costume.

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    1. Thanks Helena! I love a bit of vintage but it's not for everyone (altho it does seem to be for a lot of sewists! )

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  9. I have never watched Mad Men (I know, I must have been living under a rock for a few years) but I love that era and the clothing style. I have managed to acquire the vintage Flair stove used during filming. Your is a wonderful reproduction of the original. And the waist stay is such a great idea!

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    1. Thanks very much. Ooh you have an actual.prop? Did you make something for this? You'd have to pose in front of it for yours!

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  10. Clever match. It's a great dress and so nicely made too. I like the waist stay too.

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    1. thanks so much maria! i'm going to be adding waist stays to a lot of dresses from now on.

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  11. This is gorgeous!!!! Adorable fabric, love the vintage pattern (yes, curse you cinched in 50's waists!) and that zip is perfection - lovely!! ;)

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    1. thanks so much. i am very proud of the zip. is it weird to point it out to non-sewists? i think it might be!

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  12. This is beautiful! And I love your "pensive" posing face! :) The fabric is gorgeous and very like the inspiration dress. Is the waist stay faffy to get into, with a hook and eye at the back?

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    1. thanks helen. it was hard to keep a pensive face with n leaping around the place. there were many non-pensive outtakes! the hook and eye is at the side as it's a side zipper. it's quite a chunky hook so easy enough to feel it is the right way around. but i have seen people put them at the back and then turn the dress around to fasten them. they make it easy to get in and out of a big skirt or a strapless dress tho.

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  13. Ooh lovely - can we see a close up of that lovely neckline??? I love detail shots :)
    Me - I didn't get time to make a Mad Men dress this year, time got away on me. But I am all over the Sew Dolly Clackett one!!

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    1. i'll take one tonight lizzy! can't wait to see your dolly clackett!

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  14. Your new hair and dress are very glamourous :o)

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  15. Your dress is gorgeous! I love the print on the fabric too, really lovely.
    Marianne x

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    1. thanks marianne! i love the print too.

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  16. So gorgeous! It looks much softer and draper than I would expect from a quilting cotton. The print is so perfect and the style really suits you!

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    1. thanks lovely. there are quilting cottons and quilting cottons. i think the "designer" ones (this is by moda) are definitely thicker and less stiff than the cheaper ones i have used from my local shop.

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  17. Ooh lovely fabric! Like Fiona says it does look lovely & drapey. I was talking about waist stays with a friend recently, it looks like a great solution!

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    1. thanks kathryn - it works really well (and stops you eating all the pies when wearing - although it's not tight at all!)

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  18. Wonderful Mad Men inspired frock it is so very cute and the print is perfection! I adore waistline stays I must start implementing them into garments. I too am a TV watching hand sewer!

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    1. thanks melody! i have loved seeing yours too - your pink joan dress is ace!

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  19. Oh this is lovely! I'm looking forward to the big reveal.... I have entered for the first time, my garment was inspired by Bobbie Barrett.

    Have a look over here:

    http://mermaidspurse.org.nz/mad-men-challenge-3/

    Great work! And I love the fabric too! Angela x

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  20. GAH!!!! Fantastic dress!!! My inspiration dress is the same as yours...isn't it just too beautiful! I love it! You really, really nailed the fabric. Well done!

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    1. thanks very much sue! i was just checking out your dress - it's a perfect copy! i really love it1

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