Hot! The “Rose Hips” Top and Skirt

The Facts
Fabric: Top: Upcycled Wool Jersey Dress and Rose Print Cotton Lycra Sateen,
Skirt: Upholstry Wool from stash
Pattern: Top: Simplicity 5939 Skirt: Simplicity Rebecca Taylor V1169
Year: 1965 and 2010
Notions: Interfacing from stash
Time to complete: 6 months including thinking time
First worn: For photos
Wear again? The top -yes. The skirt – after more work on both
Total price: $25

This project has been brewing in my head for months since some time in 2011 when Mena first mentioned we’d be doing – I for one, am glad it got pushed back a few months!

My favourite dress from the show is Joan’s Dress with Roses, worn for that scene when she hosts her husband’s colleagues for dinner and he humiliates her. Sad night – great dress.

I heard from someone who saw the actual costume in person, that the roses were roughly appliqued onto the dress. I can do rough!

So, the top started life as an 80’s Batwing Dress plus size dress from the Australian Label – Maggie T. It caught my eye in the Op shop because it’s made from a lovely wool jersey.

There was not enough fabric to make a dress – so it became a top.


Cut out Roses roughly.

Iron the interfacing on to the reverse of the fabric

Cut out carefully

Zig-zag the edge

Topstitch into position

Attach facings

Sew side seams

Insert sleeves and finish hems

Makes it sound easy right? It took hours – and was all done in stages over weeks or months


Of course this was not easy either due to a monumental stuff up I made.

The skirt, due to my lack of organization, acquired an extra pattern piece from another skirt – fate had it that I measured this piece to see if the skirt was going to be too short (as I suspected) then, much to my surprise I discovered that it was long enough (except it wasn’t).

So I was disapointed to learn upon trying it on – that I had made the whole thing too short. And I had used nearly all my fabric.

I had procrastinated so much I was now down to the wire. I had a hair appointment scheduled for Thursday and was going to get my Hair Dresser to do me an Up-Do (I don’t do hair!).

I got home from the hairdressers and threw on the ruffle and put the zip in.

I think it looks ok for the photos – but the ruffle to be re-done with the gathers more even. I still need to line the skirt (upholstry fabric that is wool is scratchy) and I want to line the ruffle in this fabulous red shot taffetta fabric I have had for years too.

I have to say a big elastic belt covers a multitude of sins. It makes a badly fitting, unhemmed top fit and covers up the unfinished waist of a skirt! The sleeves also need those tuck shop lady flaps removed!

Did I mention I was really over it after being with it all that time? Maybe if I had spent more time on sewing than shopping for 60’s glassware to make the drinks cabinet pretty – this would have been totally finished.

New Season of Mad Men – Bring it on!



Trish lives in Sydney and has way more thrifted patterns and fabric than her fair share. She studied fashion design in her former life and sews while trying to not to burn the dinner.


Comments are closed.

  1. I was thinking how fabulous your hair looked. That is dedication to the cause going to the hairdressers for an up-do…..and it seriously paid off, the photos are lovely. And that frill on the skirt is adorable.

  2. Thanks Tempest! It kinda balances the hips out and covers the athletic calf muscles!

  3. A lot of sewists are huge fans of this dress. I’m sure I’ve seen it around the blogosphere a few times. Great job tackling yours so far and good luck in the altering!

  4. You definitely captured the spirit of Joan from head to toe. Great idea to applique the roses. Your photo shoot was delightful.

  5. Very cool dress, I like how you did your roses and the deco area on the back.

  6. Wow those roses are a great idea. You look fab in black and red!

  7. Thanks Casey, Rose print from Spotty – who would have thought?! I do love my red and black. More coming up!

  8. Way to go Trish, she looks fab and your hair looks smashing. Well done!!

  9. Oh wow! This is really eyecatching and looks superb!

  10. Lovely top, I believe Gertie at her New Blog for Better Sewing made her vrsion of this dress with appliquéd roses too.

    • Thankyou. Yes Gertie’s roses dress is lovely isn’t it? I like that she used a vintage table cloth for her roses. I actually have a whole batch of great placemats with yellow roses printed on them, that I plan to upcycle soon!

  11. Love the roses and batwing top transformation. And wow hair and makeup! But I see your rose glass is empty; you should fix that.