McCall’s Joan Dress

by Handmade Jane on March 26, 2012 · 12 comments

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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