Hot! ‘Meditations in a Sewing Emergency’ Ensemble

The Facts
Fabric: 2 metres of lightweight wool £10, 2 metres mystery lining material £1 and 2 metres of blue cotton sateen £10
Pattern: McCall 3260 and Maudella 1268
Notions: 9 vintage blue buttons (a gift)
Year: jacket pattern is from 1939 and the blouse is from the 1950’s
Time to complete: 16 hours
First worn: March 2012
Wear again? Yes!
Total Cost: £21

I love The Sew Weekly. I love Mad Men. Combine the two? How could I resist? In true Debi style, I gravitated to one of the few non-dress separate ensembles in the show–Betty Draper’s riding outfit. Riding is, I think, one of Betty’s true escapes. A place where she can be herself. Of course, she’s dressed impeccably and I’m so drawn to the English riding style–tweed jackets, formal yet feminine blouses and the utility of all the clothing.

I decided to have a go at creating a Betty-inspired riding jacket and blouse. First I made a bow-tied mandarin collar blouse, similar to Betty’s yellow riding blouse but in her characteristic blue colour. I just adore this pattern. I’ve never sewn with a Maudella pattern before. They are unprinted and the directions are printed on the back of the envelope (with no pictures!) Despite this, I found it one of the best patterns I’ve worked with. In fact, I think I may be developing a Maudella pattern obsession (uh oh! I can just hear the postman coming now!)

I made the blouse from a lovely cotton sateen and had a chance to use some vintage buttons a friend gave me that were the perfect match! I like the bow tied collar much better than I thought I would. It’s the perfect compliment for a tailored jacket! For the jacket, I used McCall 3260. Despite being a pattern from 1939, it’s equally contemporary in 1950 as it is in 2012. I found the fabulous lightweight English wool fabric on sale and snapped it up! The pattern was fairly straightforward and I even made my own version of tailor’s tape, did some padstitching on the collar and interlined the jacket. I tried to match up the subtle plaid wherever I could:

Most of all, I am proud of the collar. I have such a horrible time with double notched collars…especially that little area that lies between them. Getting that flat can often be a nightmare. I interlined the jacket collar and front facing with a medium-weight muslin fabric and then applied just a thin strip of interfacing to the edges (similar to what tailor’s tape would do). This made the collar behave really well:

I lined the jacket with some remnant pieces of a mystery fabric (it’s definitely not traditional weight lining fabric but instead has a medium hand). I really like how the rust colour offsets the subtle tweedy browns of the jacket. The only problem with using a heavier lining fabric is that I needed to add more width so that I had more ease in the lining.

I’m pleased as punch with my jacket and blouse–which is good, since I managed to sew them both at the very last minute. I definitely needed to channel the meditations in a (sewing) emergency to get them done in time for this week. Yup, some things never change ;)

What about you? What is your favourite Mad Men outfit? Are you a Betty, a Joan, or a Peggy style-wise?


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. Huzzah Debi’s back! Your tailoring skills are impeccable! The jacket totally blows me away! Truly fantastic job.

  2. Love that the cast is back together just in time for the Mad Men cast to get back together… I also love this outfit, especially the tweed jacket. It’s so beautiful. I think I’m usually Peggy but sometimes a Joan. Just too much work to have all of that vavoom all the time, but I do have the bust for it!

  3. Beautiful jacket! I just love tweeds.

  4. That’s such a lovely outfit, Debi. The jacket looks like it was a lot of work – much be very satisfying :)

  5. OH, Debi! This is wonderful! Some day, I will muster the courage to make a riding jacket! I think they’re the perfect, timeless pieces of outerwear!


    i absolutely cannot believe this perfectly tailored ensemble was a rush job. that jacket is amazing! those pockets! that lapel! you might just convince ME to step out of the poly print.

  7. Oh, Debi, this is lovely, I love this! Really nice work on the jacket, it’s so polished and awesome. For the record I love Peggy and Joan, but in real life I would like to dress like Helen Bishop but in Winter tones. That is what I would like. And a pony. And a million dollars.

  8. These pieces are just lovely! (I knew they would be!). 16 hours including a tailored jacket!? Truly impressive!

  9. Debi the last minute tailoring on the jacket blows my mind, it’s so impressive. I’d be dead proud of this one. Happy to see you and your skills back here.

  10. Love the collar, looks very tricky but I have always admired you adventurous drive to try new things with your sewing.

  11. You are amazing, Debi!!! That jacket is so beautiful! Both it and your top make a perfect Betty goes riding look!

  12. Och Debbie you’ve outdone yourself. Truly, riding is Betty’s happy place. Great ensemble and I adore those buttons!

  13. This is fantastic, Debi! It looks soo good, you did a wonderful job… I had this ensemble earmarked, too, but in the end I made a dress anyway. I’m pleased to see this, it’s such a nice ensemble.

  14. I don’t know how you pulled off a blouse AND blazer (with lining), but I’m blown away by your skills. Excellent work. Really really.

    P.S. Joan’s my girl for obvious reasons, but I do love Peggy’s conservative cuteness and wish I could pull off those high necklines.

  15. Gah! Beautiful! I can’t believe you made two complicated pieces in one week. You rule. I love the styles of Betty, Joan, and Peggy equally, but I think I probably fall closest to Betty.

  16. A perfect way to end the week – good to see you again. Love the jacket. I have a similar piece of fabric and might have to think along these lines (if there is enough).

  17. That jacket is A-mazing! Such a fabulous job :)

  18. I didn’t expect any less from you Debi. You have such talent in making such complicated garment types. So happy to see you back on here.

  19. I love how true you stayed to your own style! It looks amazing, I can’t even believe you made that jacket, it looks so perfect.

  20. SO BEAUTIFUL! The details on that jacket, the fabric and the blouse color are amazing – way to go lady!

  21. I was wondering if you’d find an interesting take on Mad Men, Debi, and to remember the riding scene! What a great outfit and very you! Well done on matching those tartans, they look WAY too tricky… but those pockets are just the loveliest shape! xoxo

  22. Beautiful work!!! Love the matching plaids on the jacket right down to the pockets, great details! What I love most about this outfit? Very Mad Men but still very Debi!

  23. Woah you made a fully tailored jacket?! Eek! I haven’t seen the riding outfit pictures, what a good choice of something to make up, the bow blouse is lovely!

  24. I adore the outfit! It’s just perfect, Debi – the jacket and blouse are stunning together and are such fabulous wardrobe staples for you!

  25. Gorgeous ensemble and a great pic of you, Debi!