Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MadMeh Dress

This dress is my second entry in JuliaBobbin's MadMen Challenge (the first being my Liberty SewCieTea dress).


And incase you're wondering, the above title is not a typo, it's how I feel about the dress. I'm really not a fan of the word 'meh' but it really does encompass how I was feeling about this dress after taking the photos in this post. I wore the dress to work on Monday and I'm feeling a little happier about it now though. I think it might just be after the amazing success of my last dress this one is just a bit of a let-down in comparison.

The pattern is this vintage Butterick 3543, that I picked up for the princely sum of 50c in an op shop a while back. As I mentioned in my last post about this dress, I didn't make too many changes to the pattern; just the removal of a foot of length, and some minor changes to the length of the bust darts (which in hindsight didn't really work out).

The fabric is a lovely soft and drapey wool suiting that I got at The Fabric Store in Feb (and as of yesterday they still have in the Melbourne store), which I fully lined so that I don't risk the wool being scratchy against my skin.

I went with view A (the white dress on the pattern envelope), adding the collar to the dress, which I think is pretty cute. I then added some petersham ribbon and some buttons from buttonmania

Either myself or the previous owner of this pattern lost the pocket pattern piece, so I was intending on drafting up a new one, however as I was working on this dress at Social Sewing and Helen (I think) had a copy of the Laurel pattern, so I did a sneaky and traced that off to use as a basis of my pocket (and by I traced it off, I mean Claire traced it off for me because she's nice like that).

After lots of trial and error with the placement of the pocket I settled on a position, changed the bottom corners of the pocket to be square to fit better with my dress, and added some more of the ribbon trim across the top of the pocket. It's not the biggest of pockets, but it fits my phone, (or in the case of these photographs my keys) which is what I wanted it for.

I'm happy with the fit through the back, because of the loose fit and the shaping from the darts I didn't need to worry about a sway back adjustment.

Also this is the first dress that I've made with sleeves, which is a mini-accomplishment. After wearing it all day I can say that the sleeves don't restrict my movement at all, which is good, however I need to be careful about raising my arms too high, as the whole dress comes with them and it all gets a bit indecent!

I've included the below photo so you could see the lining. Interestingly the lining is a very brown-y grey, because that's the colour that matched the best. It was surprising as until we held the fabric up against the lining fabrics I wouldn't have thought there was much brown in the grey.

For the zip, as is my go-to method these days, I used a regular dress zip and hand picked it into the centre back seam. I really do like hand piking zips; it doesn't take very long and you have so much more control. I think overall it takes the same as most machine stitched zips as I usually end up unpicking at least a little bit of the topstitching.

Isn't a hand picked zip just beautiful??!

And the Mad Men part... well this dress isn't a direct copy of any of the dresses in the show, but is a general 'inspired by' dress; I could imagine somebody wearing this dress in one of the later seasons of the show. Do you agree? If so, which character do you think might wear it?


  1. Total Megan dress! This is really well finished! I love the details and the Jiffy shape. Well done, Rach!

  2. I don't think that the dress is meh in fact I think it looks lovely!

  3. Perhaps because this is not your usual style it doesn't feel quite right? I agree with the other commenters though, I like it! It fits you really well and the details are lovely. Maybe some bright tights would make it go from Meh to Yeah! :)

  4. I love it!!!! wow!! It looks perfect on you too!

  5. I think it looks great!!
    I thought "Peggy Olsen" as soon as I saw the dress.
    Great collars!

  6. I think it's cute!! I love the collar and the front details. I can see how your Liberty dress could be a tough act to follow though. I bet if you give this one a little more time, it will grow on you.

  7. I agree with Jennifer! Maybe this dress is just 'Meh' because it's coming after the awesomeness that was the sewcietie dress. I actually LOVE this dress! The colour is fab and the asymmetrical button detail reminds me of the eastern influenced styles of the 60s. I seriously love it! My vote? Slicked back hair, dramatic but clean winged eyes, killer black heels, and a trench. BAM. Get a cocktail girl. x

  8. I think it fits you, but the look on your face in the first picture is great acting!

  9. Dress looks fantastic - and oh sew Melbourne ;)p Nice work on the pattern, looks so much better with your great choice of fabric & details. You look fabulous in it - everyday fabulous, and I do like the sound of Reana Louise's vamped accessories! Maybe some comfy boots & bright headwear for everyday? And love the pocket.

  10. It's gorgeous! I love the asymmetric buttons and it looks beautifully sewn!

  11. I don't think it's meh at all. The pattern is very different.

  12. I'm going to be honest here, its what I do. I like it, it looks good, but your liberty dress looks great. I really like the details and the buttons look great. I think I prefer you with waist definition :)

  13. I know you're a little bit meh about the dress, but in my humble opinion - it's awesome!!!

    I love the button detailing down the side and the hand picked zipper is beautiful. I think it would look great with a little cropped cardi (if you are wanting some waist definition) but as a shift dress, which is what it is, it's a beautiful version of one. The great thing about a dress like this is that all the pretty details stand out, so i say, well done :)

  14. Saw this post on my phone a few days ago, and agreed with you. But I think ANYTHING coming off the back of the killer combo of gran's liberty and your sewing skills was always going to feel a little... deflated? Coming back now for a second look, I'm really liking it. It's perfect for work, a little mod, smashing with black tights and I love the length and how the single pocket balances out the neck detail too. So are you like it more like me now you've had the chance to think about it? Great photos, too btw.

  15. I think it's a very fun dress! I love the diagonal buttons.

  16. I love this! I would love to have this for work - cute, unique, but still interesting and sharp. Maybe it'll grow on you. If not, I'm sure you'll have many more solid wins down the road!


Comments make me smile :)

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