The ‘Wish They Show Mad Men Here’ Dress
Confession No. 1: I have to admit. I have not watched a single episode of Mad Men but yet I am taking up this challenge. I have read and seen the Mad Men ‘explosion’ from the web and sewing community and have seen uncountable screenshots from the series, and I must say I am really interested to watch it but alas the local cable in Malaysia does not show it yet!
Confession No. 2: I didn’t start out this pattern with a view to join this challenge, the akin-to-60’s style of this pattern just ‘coincidentally’ allows me to fit into this week’s challenge! yay! Don’t you love it when these things happen?
I must say that I really like the styles from this show, and my dress inspiration is from the following pictures:-
Image source: www.tomandlorenzo.com
I realized that the collar with tie details are popular in the 60’s, certainly my kind of style!
Coincidentally (again!), I have a similar black houndstooth fabric that mimics one of the inspiration pieces.
Fabric: Black houndstooth cotton fabric at RM18.80/USD6 per yard, 2 yards of 60 inch width required.
Pattern: New Look 6968. I noticed that this is the ‘go-to’ pattern for Mad Men styles.
Notions: Invisible Zipper, Interfacing for the faux welt pockets
Time to complete: Didn’t count but as I sewed sporadically over 2 weeks.
First worn: Last Monday to work
Wear again? Of course!
Total Cost (excluding pattern): Approximately RM43/USD14
Pattern Notes and Thoughts:
I found the instructions for this pattern a little odd. They asked to underline the bodice but not the skirt portion and later to use facings to finish the collar. Both methods call for cuting out lining pieces anyway but fully lining as opposed to underlining+facings produces a cleaner and seamless finish, so I did the former.
Since I also installed an invisible zipper (I got a nifty zipper foot finally!) so I had to change the way I approached the construction of the dress. I still consulted the instructions for collar, the collar is tricky if you didn’t clearly mark the dots on the collar pieces in the first place; otherwise you should be fine. The tie bow collar detail was what drew me to this pattern at first. I must say it’s very cleverly designed and so cute! If you noticed, I tied the bow a little differently from the model’s, I flipped it downwards, I think it looks better this way.
The bodice called for a side dart in addition to the general vertical darts on the bottom of the bodice. I am not sure if the side darts are so relevant because initially it produced so much ease for the bodice. So I ended up moving up the vertical darts and narrowing them to remove the excess ease. I think this pattern is meant for a bustier woman, much like the characters in Mad Men (alas, not for me!). I also took in the excess that formed along the armsye, pivoting it into my bust dart, which also meant altering the sleeve cap to fit the change. With all these changes I must say I am pretty happy with the fit.
This is a great sheath dress pattern, I wished that they had instructions and pattern piece for a real welt pocket though instead of just slapping us with a faux one just for decorational purposes. Nevertheless, the faux version is still a great detail to have on the dress. :)
I cut a size 12 as I am usually 10 on top and 12 on the bottom. With all the abovementioned alterations, I think I needed a size 10 for for the top and a size 14 from waist down (this is non-stretch fabric, as I sewed a 1cm allowance instead of the specified 1.5cm from waist down). Note the envelope says, ‘Close-fitting Dress’!
I couldn’t resist to post a picture of my best new sewing gadget, an inexpensive invisible zipper foot (RM2.80/USD1 bought from local craft store). I have used invisible zippers before but sewed them with a normal zipper foot and wondering before why the results are not exactly ‘invisible’. I even lamented to a seamstress friend that ‘perhaps invisible zippers produced in Malaysia are different from the USA ones, that the former ones are not exactly “invisible”‘. Hehe! How silly of me, I never thought of getting an invisible zipper foot until someone suggested it in my blog (thank you!). The result is so professional with one. Now I really need to think of what I should do with my normal zipper stash as I love invisible zippers now. I used Colette’s invisible zipper tutorial and referred to the Colette Sewing Handbook on how to sew the lining to the zipper with a sewing machine. The only hand sewing I had to do was to slip stitch the lining at the armscye and attach the buttons on the welt pockets.
I know that this week’s challenge will be very popular with fellow SW contributors, judging from what I saw from the online sewing community so far. I can’t wait to see others’ contributions!