1950s | Dresses

Mad Men Inspired Emerald Cocktail Dress

March 27, 2012

Hi everyone – this is my first post on We Sew Retro which was brought on by the excitement of completing my dress for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge and the thrill of seeing so many other amazing contributions to this SAL.

My inspiration came from these 2 Joan pics – I must admit I drool over pretty much everything Joan wears – you’ve gotta love a woman who’s not afraid to show off her curves – and boy, does she rock those curves!  Anyway, I was immediately drawn to the colour and was amazed I managed to find this emerald satin – perfect!  I used Butterick 5603 with the cross over bodice and instead of a border print used a black lace trim along the top of the bodice and edge of the skirt.


I was tempted to make a straight skirt a la Joan, but this turned out to be beyond my scope of expertise and in the end I’m really pleased I stuck with the full skirt.

TROUBLE SPOT – HELP PLEASE – I had a bit of trouble lining the skirt as I had never done this before and most dress patterns don’t include instructions on how to do this.  I did figure it out but got stuck when it came to the bottom of the zipper.  Luckily it’s inside the dress and no-one will see it but if anyone has any tips on what to do here, I’d hugely appreciate it.

For more pattern info and photos please see my review on Pattern Review.

  1. Beautiful job with this dress! I love the color an the neckline on both your and Jonie’s dresses! I’m getting very excited for the big reveal of all the MadMen dresses on Julia’s blog!

  2. This dress is just amazing! In fact to line the skirt you should do the same pattern that for the skirt in shell fabric but shorter so that it does not show.
    Then for the zipped opening you just need to ironed the seam allowance opened on teh lining and then you have to options : you do not sew lining to skirt on zipped level but only on waist or you make a hand sewing to attachd it to insid epart of zipper. Hope it can help you.


  3. Here are two sites which give directions for lining a garment. They both basically say the same, but I always like to read different directions because each one adds a bit more to my sewing education. I’ve added lining to garments that didn’t include them in the patterns, but I’ve never sewn them as one garment (such as is done with underlining). I think it’s a great idea to sew them together. Interestingly, yesterday before reading directions for sewing the lining and fashion fabric together as one, I just made a fully lined sheath dress and had considered sewing the lining to the fashion garment.



  4. I see great tips on here, but rarely constructive criticism. I’m just going to say that while I LOVE this color on you, I find that the lace cheapens what was otherwise a lovely dress, making it remind me of a Halloween costume. Doubtless it looks better irl than in photos, but I can’t shake the Halloween vibe. I would have loved this in solid green.

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