Friday, March 30, 2012

the Joanie remodel

So like everybody else on We Sew Retro, I have been bitten by Mad Men fever this month. I didn't even realize that there was a sew-along going on for Mad Men dresses until this past week, but as soon as I caught on to what was going on, I decided that I had to join in on the fun too. So thank-you Julia Bobbin for the inspiration!

Instead of making a copy of a specific Mad Men dress, I was more inspired by specific fabrics.  One of the $15 estate sale dresses that I picked up a few weeks ago was this mid-century monstrosity.  Although the shape seems like something Betty might wear, the fabric reminded me of a dress that Joan wears in Season 4.  Both fabrics are a mottled mess of turquoise, olive, terracotta brown, and magenta.  It's so wrong, but oh so mid-century modern right!

In its original state, this dress was definitely wearing me more than I was wearing it.  And when I got it home and started looking at it in good light, I realized that all of the magenta and terracotta colored areas of the fabric had discolored to bright purple and blackish-brown on the bodice.  I'm not sure if that was from heat or perspiration or who knows what, but once I realized that, it drove me crazy and I couldn't look at anything else.  Then I discovered that the sewing thread was rotted and the whole dress was splitting at the seams as I was wearing it.  I started wondering why on earth I had bought this silly thing, so I decided that it was safe to put this dress out of its misery and reuse the undamaged skirt fabric for something new and improved. 

1953 - Simplicity 4410So the skirt of the original dress has now been reincarnated into a wrap blouse using this pattern from 1953.  Although the pattern dates from a decade earlier than the show, Joan wears a wrap blouse in Season 1 so I decided to go with it.  Plus it seemed like a very timeless blouse shape, so I might get away with wearing it in my modern wardrobe from time to time too.

1959 - Vogue 4079The skirt is a very basic pencil skirt made with this Vogue pattern from 1959.  I used some vintage estate sale wool from my stash for the skirt, and I picked this fabric because this type of warm brown is a color that Joan wears often on the show, including in the scene with the wrap blouse.  Although it was a snap to put together, I had to re-sew it 3 times before I could get it tight enough, and I'm still not wearing it anywhere as tight as how Joan wears her clothes!  The skirt pattern also had gathers in the front which made the fabric pooch out in an unattractive way, so I sewed darts in the front where the gathers were.  I really love the way this skirt turned out, and I can't wait to make more blouses to wear with it.

So that's pretty much it!  It was a really fun little diversion, and once again I was amazed by how fast vintage dresses are to make after working on older historical costumes the majority of the time.  This stuff is quite addictive. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

vintage shopping

DSC08614Two weeks ago, I ran down to a "going out of business" sale for a Dallas vintage clothing shop.  I could have spent days looking through all their clothes, but I only had an hour or so to spare, so I sped-shopped and came away with with 5 fabulous new vintage dresses... for $60 total!  Woohoo!

This weekend, there was a new Vintage Clothing and Jewelry Show that I was very interested in checking out, so I picked one of my new vintage dressed and headed out for more shopping.  There were a ton of amazing clothes there, but I didn't buy anything this time.  It seemed silly to buy even more dresses when I'm not even sure when I'll get a chance to wear the ones that I just bought.  But I still had a blast at the show and I saw a lot of other ladies wearing fabulous vintage attire, which was a lot of fun.  I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that it comes back again next year!

 And I really enjoyed wearing my new dress. I think it has a very classic shape that doesn't look too terribly "costumey", so I think that this dress this will get a good bit of regular use in my modern wardrobe.  I don't wear dressy outfits very often, but when I do, I LOVE wearing vintage!




Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Okay... I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for a giveaway, and I think I would die of bliss if I won a pair of the new American Duchess shoes... so here I am blogging about it so I can enter the contest.  I plan on buying the ivory version of this shoe when it is released at a later date, but I sure wouldn't mind a pair of the red ones too just for fun.
*le sigh*