The “Channeling Joan” Dress
- Fabric: stretchy cotton blend of some sort
- Pattern: Bodice = McCall’s 4335; Skirt = McCall’s 6423
- Year: 1957 & 1962 (respectively)
- Notions: thread, invisible zipper, belt kit (from 1962)
- Time to complete: 5-6 hours?
- First worn: March 10th
- Wear again?: Yes, Mr. Sterling.
- Total price: $15 (pattern 1 was $5, pattern 2 was free, $2 zipper, $5 fabric, free thread, $3 belt kit)
I love late 1950s and early 1960s (pre-mod) fashion and Mid-Century Modern furniture. So obviously Mad Men is a feast for the eyes. Of the three main women characters from the first four seasons (Joan, Betsy, and Peggy) I’m shaped most like Joan (though with an unfortunately larger waist and a thankfully smaller bust). But I do look good in sheath-type dresses, solid colors, and generally the same color palette as Joan. So when this theme was announced, there was no doubt which character I would try to channel.
Of my stash patterns, none was just exactly what I wanted, so I combined two and came up with what I think is a very Joanish dress. She has a number of dresses with interesting necklines, hence the pattern I chose for the bodice. But she doesn’t wear flared skirts, so I substituted a straight skirt.
It was simple to construct, though there were a number of adjustments to make (zippers to move or remove, darts to move, hemlines to raise due to lack of fabric, etc.) to bring it up to Joan’s standards.
This is possibly the most flattering thing I’ve made for myself. My only complaint is that it is easily wrinkled. And that I don’t have teal shoes to match it.
Regarding the photo shoot, we used my husband’s office because there were mini blinds like there are in the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. I borrowed cigarettes from a friend since I don’t smoke, but Michigan has banned smoking in almost all public spaces and workplaces (except for cigar bars) so lighting up in the church office seemed to straddle the line between extra illegal and ironically amusing. I refrained.