McCall’s Joan Dress

by Handmade Jane

in Vintage Sewing

I’m so pleased to have finished my 1950′s dress for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge.

The pattern is vintage McCall’s 3779 from 1956 – a fitted wiggle shirt dress with kimono sleeves. Here’s the original inspiration picture of Joan that I got the idea from.

I took quite a lot off the length and made a few adjustments to the back centre seam and around the kimono sleeves to give it a more fitted look.  The buttons are self covered and I made my own belt with covered buckle. The dress needed a belt to match the Joan inspiration picture but I personally prefer the dress without one.

I love the pattern, it’s so classy and the contour darts are really flattering.  This version is made with quite a cheap bi-stretch fabric which I’m not that happy with, but it’s a good colour match and the stretchiness helps with the wiggle effect!  There’s already a not-quite-so-fitted polka dot version planned for the summer.  More construction details and pictures can be found on my blog, Handmade Jane. x

This post was written by...

– who has written 16 posts on

I've been sewing for two years and am now at the stage where I make most of my own clothes. I love vintage style, vintage fabric and, most importantly, vintage sewing patterns! I'm influenced by most styles from the late 1930's to the early 1960's but if I had to choose the decade that most captures my imagination, it would have to be the 1940's. Looking forward to sharing more of my finished garments with you. x

Handmade Jane's posts / Handmade Jane's website

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat March 26, 2012 at 5:55 am

You look divine! Awesome color for you and the fit is perfect.


Claudia March 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

That dress looks wonderful on you. Awesome job! By the way, although the dress looks great without the belt, I like even better with it. Then again my favorite look from the 50′s are the shirt dresses with matching covered belts, so there ya go.


K-Line March 26, 2012 at 9:21 am

OMG – this is awesome! You are giving Joan a run for her money!


Always Alice March 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

Seriously awesome! That color is my favorite to wear, it really sets off blonde hair too. The belt is aaaaaaamazing! I cannot wait to the polka dot version.


Guest March 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

You should so use the belt! It looks great!


Lizzy March 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Great color , I like a lot the shape of the dress with those darts! great job


Tina March 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm

MAD APPLAUSE! Great job, great dress! Good on ya!


FiftiesFrocks March 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Wow this is amazing. You did a perfect job and a has already been said - you do give Joan a run for her money!


A.J.A. March 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Lovely job! The color is fab on you!


Betty Stitchup March 27, 2012 at 5:40 am

Well done, what a fabulous dress, the colour is gorgeous on you and I LOVE the Joan pose photo! I vote for the belt, it looks great.


Anni March 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

This is gorgeous! I love the colour!


Harriet Bazley March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I definitely agree that the belt is a winner.


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