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A Maddening Diversion: The Dress

This March I’m joining Julia Bobbin and a bunch of other talented seamsters. We are all making Mad Med-inspired garments, and this post marks its completion.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to finally show off my Mad Men dress.  Last week I gave you a sneak peek, but here it is in full.  To fancy it up a bit, I threw on my pearls, twisted my hair up, and grabbed some shoes that I hoped would give off a 60s vibe.

My favorite feature is the neckline. This pattern combines pleats with a bow and a keyhole, all in a lovely curved line. I really like the way the squares in the wool break and reform across the pleats and in the bow.

The dress also has kimono sleeves and a simple kick pleat to add movement into the narrow wiggle skirt. I like the look of both features, though the next time I make kimono sleeves, I want to add gussets to get the sleeves to fit more closely. Another feature is the matching belt. The pattern cover art shows the belt with a buckle, and the pattern instructions even walk you though how to make eyelets in the belt itself, but I couldn’t find the kit I needed in time for this challenge.  Instead, I took advantage of the fact that I had cut out enough fabric for two of the little bows used at the neckline (thanks to cutting everything out on the fold and not reading the directions for the bow pieces, which clearly stated “cut one”) and hand stitched the second bow to the belt, Tilly-style.  The bow on the belt kind of disappears into the pattern in a way that the neckline bow doesn’t.  I don’t mind it, but I also don’t particularly like it, so I will be keeping my eye out for an actual belt buckle kit as a future alteration for this dress.

I also entered this dress into this week’s Sew Weekly since the theme was Mad Men.  All of this week’s featured posts seem to be the five 2011 contributors, and, I must say, it’s been wonderful seeing their faces pop up over there again.  I hadn’t realized how much I’ve missed seeing them on the Sew Weekly!  In my own post I admit to only seeing one episode of Mad Men.  (And, to this audience I’ll admit that I didn’t really like it.)  You can read the post in full here.  I will also be showing this dress off over at We Sew Retro.

To keep in the spirit of the dress, I battled a cold, brusk wind to take photos near Foster’s Freeze, a fast-food restaurant that was around in the 1960s (at least in California). I tend to shy away from taking photos in such public places, but I had a surprising amount of fun this time! Laughing even when approached by a strange man who asked my husband if he’d snapped any good photos today.

Happily, I had a jacket to keep me warm while my husband and I played around with the camera.  I know many of you are also sewing along with Julia Bobbin‘s Mad Men Challenge, and I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this dress marks my seventh completed SWAP item. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but April is sure going to be busy!

12 thoughts on “A Maddening Diversion: The Dress

  1. Amy, that fabric and design is perfect for the Mad Men sew along – looks so vintage especially in that location. Well done with the kimono sleeves – if you want to see a great tutorial on kimono sleeves/gussets visit – Sherry from Patterns Scissors Cloth. Ps: I like the belt but for a change what about a slim belt the colour of your shoes – just a thought.

    1. Thanks for the tip on the kimono sleeves. And, I really like your advice about using a slim, brown belt. Breaking up the dress with a solid would be a nice touch.

  2. Oh, Amy, this is so cute! You know, the first thing I noticed was the bow at the waistline! I think it’s cute as can be, although I’m sure a brown belt would be cute, too! Great job!

  3. That’s a really great dress! I love the neckline, too. You always use such pretty fabric.

    Ha ha! You don’t like the show, huh? I stopped watching a year or so ago, but have every intention of catching up on Netflix. 🙂

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