joan

here we are and finished in all it’s splendour is my blummin gorgeous 60s blouse a la Joan Harris (nee Holloway).

Joaniegreen

Having never made a blouse before I wasn’t entirely sure what material to go for. I decided on a trusty poly-cotton which meant the drape would be a bit stiffer than the one shown in the picture but I did want the collar to be a little stiffer, and as I wasn’t sure how this would all play out I thought not splashing the cash on fancy fabric would be the best option.

I went about cutting the pattern, fabric and interfacing out and I was quite happily thinking “less pieces, less work than a dress”. Ah, the young sewing fool inside me.

At the end of the first day I’d made the bodice and the collar. It dawned on my when I finished that I’d absolutely breezed the collar this time, I think I’ve been so caught up in worrying about the set in sleeves that I appear to have somehow mastered collars without thinking about it. Pretty good eh?!

Butterick 2475

Now, I made a little list of goals at the beginning of the year (some have totally fallen by the wayside already) and one of these was to master set in sleeves by the end of 2014. So when I went into this part of making the blouse I did so with a new determination that I would not simply settle for “that’ll do” and I would set these sleeves in over and over until I got them perfect.

Plenty of people gave me advice (thank you everyone for all of your helpful tips and guidance) but I really owe massive thanks to Clare at www.sewdixielou.com for spurring me on when I was halfway through ripping the sleeves out for the second time (and on the verge of having a little cry) who simply said “I never use gathered way hate it. I do it by hand gently easing larger fabric pinning every 1/2″. Then when happy pin in between pins then baste by hand. Remove pins check how it looks then machine”.

Now, this may strike you as odd (but probably goes a long way to explaining more than bit about me) but I never considered for a moment that I should use any other method than gathering.

It’s what everyone had shown me; books, sewing tutorials online, pattern instructions. All gathering. It’s a rule right?

Wrong. I am learning more and more that sewing is about finding what works for you and just because people say you should do it this way, it doesn’t mean you have to do it this way.

In the end I went for a bit of both, I gathered a little and then pinned and pinned. I sewed from the inside of the sleeve ; calmly, slowly, gently and smoothed as I went. Et Voilà! A perfectly set in sleeve!

Butterick 2475

So overjoyed was I that I ran about the house and told Tim he should come and look, at which point he did and we embraced and then I did my little happy dance (literally). Then I proceeded to set the other in, with no problem at all and then made Tim come back every five minutes to look at my beautiful set in sleeves on my fantastic blouse.

Needless to say, it wore a bit thin (for him- certainly not for me) after the 50th time, saying that though he was very chuffed for me.

Next up were buttonholes and buttons, which I forgot to buy.  I finally located some small-ish ones and add them to the cuffs and the front of the blouse with a pop stud opening at the top (which is covered when the collar is done up) and here we are, the finished article.

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

I have refrained from modelling this as I really want to get the skirt made in March so that I can wear both together, just like Joanie.

I really feel like I’ve made sewing skills progress with this blouse.

If you’d like to read more or check out other things I’ve made, please visit my blog www.staceystitch.com 

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I made this dress for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Dress Challenge.

My inspiration was this teal dress that Joan wore in season 5.

I used Butterick 2952 as a base pattern, but I made several alterations and additions.

I added buttons on the front bodice, changed the neckline and drafted a collar to go with the neckline. Then, I drafted new facing pieces for the front and back. For a closer fit, I lengthened the darts on the front and back of the skirt. I also had to take the darts in a bit more at the waist. There is an invisible zip on the left side for closure, instead of a zipper in the back.

For more details and photos, see this post.

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Advance_8617_view_1_1958_vintage

View 1, Advance 8617, from 1958 – I made this dress first. It has gussets in the sleeves.

Here are two sheath dresses I made from a vintage 1958 pattern, Advance 8617. The yellow “tropical dress” has kimono sleeves and the fitting is more relaxed in general, and I think it is better for it. The blue dress has gussets in the sleeves and a more fitted bodice. The original 1958 pattern was much too big and I re-sized it to my size. My weight has shifted slightly since cutting the pattern, so the fit was longer perfect, a good learning experience for the next dress.  (Don’t wait 8 months between cutting and sewing!)  I ended up taking in the bodice side seams a little and lengthening the darts slightly.

Advance 8617_view3_1958_vintage_sewing_pattern

View 3, Advance 8617 from 1958 – my “tropical dress.” I made this dress second. The kimono sleeves give it a more relaxed fit. Notice that the waist falls in the right place in this version.

What I found in the test run with this pattern: This dress is best in a very lightweight cloth with good drape, especially silk, chiffon or rayon.  The pattern is more roomy than expected, leaving space to take it in or let it out later.

The inspiration was Joan’s dress from the accordion scene in Season 3, Episode 3 of Mad Men, see photo below.  But obviously I am not shaped like Joan, and few people are.

Tropical dress – I imagine myself wearing this dress lounging on a warm and breezy veranda sipping hibiscus cooler.  Since I’d be lounging, who needs a belt?!  So I set aside the belt hardware and I did not make the self-fabric belt.  But maybe I will make it later.  What do you think?

Blue dress – I like the shorter sleeves and the more fitted upper body, but the extra time to do the gussets was not really worth it.  Short cap sleeves or very short kimono sleeves might look just as nice and save a lot of time.

To see much more technical detail on alteration and fitting issues, please go to WesternSpinster.com

-Kelina

Advance 8617_view_3_1958_vintage_sewing_pattern

View 3, Advance 8617, from 1958 – my “tropical dress.” I made this dress second. The kimono sleeves give it a more relaxed fit. Nessa has the best expression in this photo! She looks skeptical.

Advance_8617_View_1_1958_vintage

View 1, Advance 8617, from 1958 – I made this dress first. It has gussets in the sleeves and a more fitted bodice. This blue cloth is a more retro look, but the yellow West African print was probably around in 1958.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan_accordion_Season_3_Episode_3_Mad_Men.

Joan’s accordion scene in Season 3, Episode 3 of Mad Men.

Advance_8617_vintage_sewing_pattern_from_1958.

Advance 8617 vintage sewing pattern from 1958. The very stylized illustration make it look like Joan's dress, but the actual dress is a bit different. Also notice that the sleeves in this illustration look much shorter than in the complete dresses. I did not change the sleeves for these dresses.

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