Thursday, March 7, 2013

At Last: Mad Men Dress Success!


Last year, JuliaBobbin issued a Mad Men dress challenge and I was dubiously inspired by Peggy's sensible plaid dresses. My attempts to create a Peggy dress were thwarted by poor fabric choice, but later I managed to recreate the classic Joan sheath dress silhouette, albeit in a very un-Joan print fabric. Well, almost a year later, I've finally gone and put everything together and made the consummate work-appropriate sheath dress for the Joan-look in Peggy-fabric. As I said earlier in the week, this is Vogue 8319, but with lots of fitting to get the look I wanted, i.e. radiating ladylike professional confidence, instead of shapeless-sack-that-happens-to-be-made-out-of-plaid-suiting.

With thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch for helping me with the back fit in my dream. 

Between the back vent and the stretchy fabric, I can actually take large, comfortable strides!
Let's go for another teaching children means influencing the future of tomorrow pose, or some other equally idealistic inspirational phrase. 

I originally cut the fabric out last fall, but never got around to sewing it for two very silly reasons: 1) I was afraid of potential bubbliness where the princess seams end on the skirt, and 2) I didn't want to deal with inserting a zipper, since at the time I'd made a whole spate of knit dresses and was out of practice. Well, the princess seam ends are still a bit bubbly, but not enough to bother me. Wonder of wonders, though -- I hadn't realized that my mystery-blend plaid was actually stretchy! A very stable stretchy, but stretchy nonetheless. Which means, miraculously, that despite its being a close-fitting sheath dress, it passes the Mena Test! W00t w00t!

Okay, so the seam end bubbliness isn't perfect, but dang near close enough. 

A look at the insides, bound within an inch of its life. It would've
been nice if I had matching bias tape, but I didn't feel like going
out and buying more when I had so much in my stash already. 
Summary:
Fabric: 1.5 yards of a mystery-blend grayish-brown stretchy plaid with quite a stiff hand and a stubborn refusal to press properly, from SAS in Tucson four years ago! The pattern calls for lining, but since I wanted to maintain the stretch factor of my fashion fabric, I didn't bother with lining. The fabric is pretty heavy, too, so I didn't want anymore bulk.
Notions: Bias tape for the neckline and armholes, seam binding, and a tiny eye for securing the back vent (thanks to Amy for the idea!)
Techniques used: Plaid-matching?
Hours: Ten, with a good three hours spent fussing over the fit.
Will you make it again? While I love how a good sheath dress looks, I'm not enamored of how tight they feel when there's no give to the fabric, so unless I find another stretchy woven, I probably won't be making another one.
Total cost: $5. Mystery fabric = no idea of content, but cheap.
Final thoughts: I'm pleased as punch about how nice this dress looks, and especially excited about the lack of a zipper! I think this will become my go-to dress for events where I need to look professional, i.e. parent-teacher meetings and open house and the like. Of course, that also depends on whether I retain the ability to shimmy this over my shoulders, but then I guess I can always go in and add a zipper if necessary. In the meantime, I'll just revel in the fact that Mr. Cation loved this dress. According to him, I've never made anything so professional-looking...I guess my previous incarnation of Vogue 8319 didn't quite pass muster in that department (gee, I wonder why? Although, incidentally, I did wear that version of Vogue 8319 to school for Spirit Week on Superhero day).

Apparently, smiling too hard is also unprofessional, so I'm practicing maintaining teacher composure?

I still have another 1.5 yards of this fabric, so I think I'm going to try to squeeze some cropped skinny trousers out of the remainder of it. IMO, stretchy fabric just asks to be made into fitted clothing so that one can pretend to be all professional while smiling secretly at the comfort of fabric that doesn't constrict.

45 comments:

  1. This looks fierce! Absolutely awesome work and the inside seam finishing is totes professional :) This is one lovely frock to be proud of!

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  2. The fit is impeccable. Ooh I'm dying for a clean dress like that!

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  3. Dannnnnng this looks like something Dr. Saroyan from Bones would wear! As in, very well fitted but very professional: http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120131012649/bones/images/6/6d/Cam_saroyan.jpg

    She seriously has a buttload of really pretty dresses.

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    1. ha! I watch that show all the time and think the same thing. I wish they would post where they get her clothes (and Angela's too).

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    2. I think a lot of those character's clothes are really expensive designer stuff - I can't tell you how many times a costume designer shops at the most expensive places. And then on top of that, they are definitely altered to fit the actors. I try not to look at price tags when I'm handed something to alter on a show because I usually love it and my head explodes a little at the price.

      ~ Brooke

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  4. Oh I love this. What a fa b job you've make of the seams. It looks stunning and I still can't believe you can fit it without a zip!

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  5. Trousers in this fabric would be a great addition to your collection.
    You look stunning in this dress.
    The fit of this dress is wonderful. Success.

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  6. Wow, Benedict did a wicked job with the fitting...

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  7. Beautiful! It fits so well and looks extremely classy. I take my hat off to Benedict Cumberbatch, he really knows his onions when it comes to fitting backs! x

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  8. How very "business"! I think it looks wonderful on you though!

    ..I do think you need to go into detail about Benedict Cucumber helping you out with your back fit, though!

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  9. This is awesome, and the fit is the bomb! No wonder Mr. Cation loves it, it really shows off your figure. Great job. I may have to have this pattern.

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  10. Very nice, looks great on you. Beautiful job with the inside seams.

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  11. Lovely. I love the inside seams - amazing job!

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  12. great dress! i really love the seaming at the shoulder, adds subtle detail. and nice job on the fitting ;-)

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  13. You are feminine professionalism personified! Your dress is so fabulous on you. I love your blog too!!

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  14. gorgeous! I'm going to look up that pattern right now. And to try and find a similar fabric. I love stretch wovens - best of both worlds.

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  15. this is lovely. you got the fit just right!

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  16. i think the fit is so, so flattering, and you look super-confident and awesome.

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  17. It's a wonderful professional look! Your aversion to zippers amuses me. I hope you won't avoid them forever because you are needlessly afraid of them - you can sew and do it well, thus, you can put in a zipper. =)

    ~ Brooke

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  18. I admire you for taking the time to bind all your seam allowances so beautifully! Your haircut also gives you a very chic look with this dress!

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  19. It looks fantastic!! Very chic.

    Now, how do I get Sherlock to work out my fit issues too...? ;)

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  20. You did a really great job with the fit - totally worth the three hours of fussing!

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  21. Wow, what a great dress! I love the seaming at the shoulder, and the fit is perfect in 360 degrees! Well done!

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  22. You did a FANTASTIC job! Totally reminds me of something Joan would wear. I think Peggy's style was progressing too, so I could definitely see her in this dress.

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  23. Cindy! You look incredible! I absolutely love this dress and love how it looks on you! Way to go, friend!

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  24. This is a professional dress to a T - such fabulous lines and a perfectly tailored fit! And yay for BC helping you fit the dress in a dream - that would be a marvelous dream, really ... :) Wonderful work, my friend!

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  25. This dress looks so professional - both the design and how well it is sewn. Bonus that it is actually comfortable too! Absolutely fantastic.

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  26. Gorgeous! I say it was worth the work cause you look amazing in it. Very professional!

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  27. Fantastic!! I love that you didn't do an exact copycat dress but instead made a gorgeous, wearable dress that exudes the MM vibe your way - love it! :)

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  28. Great dress! Totally Mad Men worthy...the fit is spot on and your work is beautiful!

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  29. Gorgeous. And so sleek!!! Totally love it :)

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  30. The dress is awesome! You did a great job on it!

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  31. You look so professional! Bravo for getting a good fit while also evading the zipper.

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  32. Say, this is professional! You look great! It's a really fun look!

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  33. Watch out Joan and Peggy!! Cindy is in the office!! This dress is BEYOND fabulous! The fit is perfect and I just love the lines!!

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  34. I want to hear more about your sultry fitting session with Mr.Cumberbatch (in your dream of course..)

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  35. Wow. This is incredible. The fit is fantastic, the insides are impressive, and you look like a million bucks. And you get in without a zip??? Amazing.

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  36. OMG you nailed it! This looks incredible on you. Be sure to give yourself the credit you deserve for working so hard at this skill, and achieving so much.

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