The “Hey, Baby!” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: approx 2 metres of lightweight, semi-sheer synthetic of some sort, on sale for $3/metre; approx 2 metres of navy lining, on sale for $1/metre
Notions: 1cm wide elastic around the waist, ~$0.50; 2 metres of red ribbon, ~$1.80
Pattern: Simplicity 2891
Year: 1959
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: for these photos
Wear again? yes, in another couple of months

Total cost: ~$10.30

Now, I must admit something slightly shocking here. I’ve never watched an episode of Mad Men. Yes, it’s true. *hangs head in shame* I’ve been meaning to watch it for ages but, well, I kind of forget about that thing called a TV. One day soon I’m going to have to play catch-up and get it on DVD to watch, if only because a lot of the sewing blogging world seems to be incredibly enamored of it, so I need to see what it’s all about.

So, never having watched Mad Men, I went diligently searching the interwebs for inspiration. And here’s what I came up with – an amalgamation of various different styles (click on the images to go to the source).


I love the style of this dress. The scooped neckline, the flowing skirt, the little sleeves.


The contrast ribbon around an empire waistline adds such a nice touch, don’t you think? Feminine without being too over-the-top.


One thing I noticed while browsing lots (and lots, and then some more) of Mad Men outfit photos was that there seems to be a lot of blue floral. And, since I didn’t have any red floral in my stash to faithfully recreate that red dress up above, blue floral was the next logical choice.

Three inspiration photos, and I couldn’t decide which to use, so I went with a combination of them all. The neckline, sleeves, and general silhouette of the red dress, with a contrast ribbon like the white dress, and in blue floral like many of the others.

Now, I must admit, this dress took quite a bit longer to make than I was expecting. The fabric is quite sheer, and I decided to try a new trick and fully underline each piece with navy lining before sewing it all together, so the seams wouldn’t show between the layers. This worked quite well, but it did take a while. The one area that didn’t work so well was the hem – stitching up the underlining and dress shell at the same time resulted in a wavier hem than I would have liked. Next time I’ll be a bit more patient and stitch it up by hand. I’m even considering unpicking this hem and re-doing it, just so I don’t scowl at it every time I see it.

There was a bit of debate about which colour ribbon to use at the waist line – red or navy? I bought both (and even did the little hand-stitched carriers at the waist, just like the pattern told me to – I was very proud of myself for that!) so I can switch them out as I feel like it. Or even use a narrow standard belt instead, if I’m that way inclined one day.

(I’m a little bit sad about the photos – I carefully finished this in time for our trip down South last week, and waited until we were staying in the Catlins so I could have photos in an old fashioned cottage and in gorgeous scenery. And Steve just wasn’t in the photo mood, so basic standing-ouside-boringly photos are all we have, without view or cottage. *sigh* Best laid plans, and all that. One of these days I need to invest in tripod and enough bravery to take my own photos…. But at least there’s some flowers in the background, right?)

Yes, I admit it. This dress is rather voluminous. It’s rather odd wearing an empire waistline, when I’m used to waists actually at my natural waist. What can I say? Natural waist things just don’t fit so well these days.

Wanna know why?

Yep, that’s a 14 week baby bump, right there. ;-) (Which makes this my first “proper” maternity dress.)

Author

Kat

Kat stumbled upon The Sew Weekly at the end of 2010. Inspired by Mena's creations and dedication to sewing each week, Kat stitched along with all the weekly themes for 2011. Through The Sew Weekly and the girls who contribute to it, she deepened her passion for vintage styles and started amassing a large collection of vintage patterns. Now she needs an excuse to try using them all.

22 Comments

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  1. Let me be the first to say “Congratulations!!!”

  2. Wow, that’s a dramatic way to end a post if I ever saw one! Congrats! (and I have to say, being able to sew for yourself when you’re pregnant is a freekin’ blessing, because RTW maternity clothes are nasty, cheaply made, ill fitting and EXPENSIVE).

  3. Congratulations! Can’t wait to see what else you create to fit around your little one in the months to come!

  4. Gosh I’m an old silly. That has made me tear up – Congratulations! And I love the dedication of lining with the navy, I’d never have thought of something that clever.

  5. What a lovely surprise with the last photo – congratulations :)

  6. OMG CONGRATULATIONS!! I am so excited for you!

  7. Congratulations Kat! Such greta news!

  8. Hey Baby! Yay so glad the Kat is finally out of the bag. I have been biting my tongue for months keeping your secret. I love how you shared it with us – and that dress is perfect. You will be able to catch up on your TV – during marathon Breast Feeding sessions – yay!

  9. AHHHHH that’s so great! At first I was going to be like, ‘does she know Betty’s preggo in that pic?’ But how perfect!! Congrats!!!

  10. Very cute. I like the added touch of the red ribbon. And CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!

  11. Ack! I’m so excited!

  12. Congratulations! and how fun to have a “maternity” theme woven into all your upcoming themes. :)

  13. Congratulations! It looks like a very comfortable dress for your bump. :)
    That’s a great way to end a post – left me with a huge smile!
    Best wishes to you.

  14. Congrats. I must admit something slightly shocking here too. I’ve never watched an episode of Mad Men either, but now I feel I need to rent season because the cloths are so fabulous.

  15. woo hoo! congratulations Kat. omigosh we’re gonna have a baby Sew Weekly!!!!!
    (super cute first maternity dress Kat. Look forward to seeing your ‘expanding’ wardrobe, over the next few months. hehe.)

  16. This style dress was my go-to maternity dress in 1969. The empire waist line is very helpful–when the baby drops, you know it! I recall a goat at a pet farm particularly liked my tie. Congratulations and thanks for all your posts!

  17. OMG Kat C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S, that is the best news E V E R. How very exciting. Best wishes to you and I’m sure this dress will turn into a babydoll top as you grow hehe Well done xxoo

  18. Awesome announcement! Congratulations indeed.

  19. Very dramatic! Congratulations!

  20. Congrats from me too! What great news! No doubt we’ll see ‘more’ of you in one respect, if ‘less’ of you where creations are concerned!

  21. It’s a pretty dress by the way …