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Mad Men Challenge – Complete!

This dress, you guys. I’ve never put so much effort into anything before. But I love how it turned out, so all worth it in the end 🙂

This is the dress I decided to use as inspiration. Anything Joan wears is fabulous, in my opinion, but I do love peter pan collars, and I thought that this dress in particular was very cute.

As you can see, my dress isn’t an exact clone of hers, by any means. Despite owning eleventy-billion vintage sewing patterns, I didn’t have one with princess seams to use, so I settled on this one instead with the darts. The dress pattern I used was Butterick 3015.

I had to make a few modifications to the pattern. First of all, I changed the neckline from square to round, so I could attach a peter pan collar. Secondly, I had to draft my peter pan collar, using the fantastic tutorial provided by Gertie. Then, I had to draft my own facings, because although my dress is fully lined, the pattern specified that the lining and main fabric should be treated as one and basted together, so I couldn’t sandwich my collar between them. For that phase, I used the very helpful tutorial from Colette.

I think it turned out pretty well! Mine isn’t as wide as Joan’s – I thought I’d made it plenty large enough, but turns out I was wrong. Oh well.

(Please excuse my shoes, they are the only vintage ones I own, and I didn’t want to go barefoot!) I also drafted my own sleeve cuffs, which was very simple (just a rectangle, really).

Fitting this dress was a nightmare. Because I was a good girl, and didn’t leave the challenge to the last minute, I started drafting the dress a month ago. I made a muslin, and it actually fit really well (apart from being like 7 inches too long. Seriously, that’s how much I lopped off the bottom of this dress, and then there’s a 2″ hem as well.) Unfortunately, I lost some weight during March/April, so that when I tried the actual dress on, I was swimming in it. I took it in at the sides a little, but didn’t want to mess with it too much or else the darts wouldn’t sit right any more. I had also planned to draft my own self-fabric belt with one of those handy kits (and even ordered the kit), but after testing it out with a belt I already had, I realised it would bunch the fabric up around my waist WAY too much, and so I had to kiss the belt goodbye.

I made the dress from a cotton sateen I got from Fashion Fabrics Club, but it’s a lot heavier than sateens I’ve worked with before, and irritatingly, I can’t seem to press all the wrinkles from it no matter how hard I try. The cuffs and collar are also cotton sateen from the same place. The lining is polyester I bought from Ebay. I bound the hem seam with pale blue bias binding, which I’d never done before (and didn’t particularly enjoy doing) and catchstitched it to the lining. You can just see it peaking out in the photo of me on the dresser.

I apologise for the photos, by the way. I didn’t want to take them on the roof, but I struggled to find somewhere else to take them in our tiny apartment. We have this awesome old elevator, but the lighting was terrible in there and besides, I was terrified someone would call the elevator and I would be whisked away to face some stranger whilst dressed as Joan from Mad Men.

It was a fun challenge, though, which challenge being the operative word, and it definitely pushed me way outside my sewing comfort zone, and motivated me to try new things!

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