Vintage Sewing

Warming up for Mad Men

September 12, 2009

I picked up this pattern last year from an antique fair. The graphics with their not-so-subtle ‘matronly’ visual cues cracked me up, like the little bow and modesty panel… haha. You might think me foolish for venturing back into the world of Australian Home Journal patterns given the debacle that was my last attempt

Anyhoo, I’ve had a bash at de-matronifying it. Gertie (of duchesse satin Joan frock fame – setting the bar high with her Mad Men comp entry) hosted a wee debate about wearable muslins recently and I reckon this sorta fits into that category. There are a few fitting issues but I might be able to get away with ’em… well, no one in the cocktail bar I wore it to last night pulled me aside, Joan-style, to say “You’re hurting your prospects here, dear. You might want to have that let in a little here, let out a a little there.”

I ditched the modestly panel and hacked the sleeves to a better length, then drafted a cuff that echoes the shape of the blue strip. And lordy, I haven’t worn bows on my clothes since I was four, and I’m not going to revive that now. So, no bow. Buttons instead.

Fit issue #1 – when lengthening the bodice by about 8cm because I’m flippin’ tall, I neglected to lengthen the top pieces. Thus the blue strip, which should be under the bust, ain’t.

Fit issue #2 – that back skirt panel with inverted pleats is a tricky beast. Perhaps some butt-flattening corsetry was intended to be worn under this dress to make everything lie all neat and demure-like. Doesn’t work on me. Horizontal wrinkles point to this fit issue like neon arrow signs. Joan wouldn’t like it. (Then again, if it make people look at her behind, perhaps she would like it.)

As for entry into the Mad Men competition, at a stretch it could be something Mr Sterling’s second trophy wife would wear, but let’s just call it a warm-up. I haven’t sewed in over a month so I needed to get back into gear. But I have plans for the next frock… oh yes…

  1. I think it's a great wearable muslin! I love the buttons; I'm not really a bow gal either.

    I think the 'band' is just low enough to get away with it. I'm 5'11", so I have to lengthen bodices all the time. I've been too chicken to try a pattern needing an adjustment of an underbust piece, but now may be the time to get over it and go!

  2. This is adorable. I would not have noticed this pattern as presented, but your version is great. You absolutely _own_ this look.


  3. Despite your current fit issues, I'd say this is a VERY wearable muslin! I'd love to go dancing in a dress like that! What a super cute look. You picked a great fabric for it.

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