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.
So 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.
The 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.
Welcome to my project blog! I am an artist and seamstress who is obsessed with fashion history. I tend to focus on the Renaissance through the mid-20th century styles, but I sometimes dabble in fantasy costuming and modern sewing as well.