Mad Men Challenge = DONE!

Warning – picture heavy post alert!

Wahoo, I’ve finally finished my dress for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge.


In the end I went for a sleeveless shirt dress in the style of Peggy. I spent plenty of time planning this and trawling the web for images of what I wanted to make. Here are some images I focussed on… betty peach

The peach version and the white and green version screamed out to me “Hey – you have some fabric like this AND a pattern that would work, I must be made!” So of course I obeyed (after all, stash busting is the way forward).

Here I am trying to recreate one of the poses…

Don't worry the wine glass is full of water - these photos were taken too early to start on the wine!

Don’t worry the wine glass is full of water – these photos were taken too early to start on the wine!


Surely I can't be that pale?!

Surely I can’t be that pale?!

I took my time again and I think because of that it was only half as stressful as it might have been. The pattern I used was a rather heavily adapted version of a Butterick Glamour Collection pattern.


I wanted the buttons to end at the waistband so I added a side zip (more about that later).


I wanted to line it so I cut out lining in the shape of the fashion fabric and then altered it so that I could line it like a jacket – I love how neat the inside of the bodice is.


In case you’re wondering about the art in the background, here’s a picture of the whole thing. It’s a beautiful wallhanging by my very talented mum. Check out her website and facebook page if you want to see more.


I also wanted a pleated skirt so, because of the vertical stripes, I just cut out 2 basic rectangles for the skirt back and front.


So back to that side zip – this was the trickiest part of the construction as I wanted an in seam pocket and a side zip. I looked at a few online tutorials and referred back to Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques, they were all slightly helpful, but in the end it was mainly trial and error and it’s very nice to have learnt a new technique (still fitting with my sew for enjoyment resolutions ).


The next tricky part was choosing the buttons and buttonhole direction. I wanted to stay true to vintage designs, so I made horizontal buttonholes, but I couldn’t for the life of me decide on buttons. I had a few options as shown below, but I think the pearl or burgundy ones, although quite fitting, might have made the dress a bit drab and dated now, so in the end I went for these gold and black vintage looking ones and I’m quite pleased with the choice. Plus they go with my Betty-esque black button earrings!


I really like this dress and I’m so pleased with the construction, especially the different stripe directions. However, next time I will take it in around the bust for a more vintage / fitted shape and now I need to make a petticoat to poof my dresses out a bit!


Matching nails - Betty would be proud

Matching nails – Betty would be proud

I hope your Mad Men dresses are coming along nicely. I can’t wait to see them all.

25 thoughts on “Mad Men Challenge = DONE!

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  6. Those buttons are perfect. Great choice! Totally love the dress too… I love how those old patterns we all have from the 80’s and 90’s stashed away in a cupboard somewhere look so weird and dated on the packet, and then with the right fabric, adjustment to length and the odd detail here and there they look completely awesome!

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  8. So great, looks really wearable! As soon as I saw it was for the Mad Men Challenge, I tried to guess who you’re inspiration was…and I correctly guessed Betty Draper, woot! The cut is PURE Betty! She’s probably wearing an identical one right now.

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  10. This is one amazing dress! I am in loooove 😀
    I have never sewn anything with a collar like that before, was it tricky? Any tips?
    I am impressed you have your mad men challenge done, I still need to get mine started but it is on my to do list for this weekend coming, fingers crossed.
    Have you gotten around to watching it yet? xXx

    • Aw shucks, thanks! The collar wasn’t tricky really, it was the only bit that I followed pattern instructions for, but it’s just like doing a peter pan collar, but with a collar stand. I think you just need fabric that irons well and of course I interfaced the collar band and collar. Oo I can’t wait to see yours – any insight in to who you are going to channel? I’m borrowing the DVDs from a friend this week hopefully as lovefilm are just taking too long! xxx

      • Thanks for the tips! I have a few patterns similar to the one you used for this dress but I have been putting off using them. I think I might try to tackle them soon 😀

        As for my mad men dress I have a few ideas but nothing definite yet. I have only just started watching it myself, I am nearly at the end of season 3 and every time I think I have decided which dress I want to recreate I see another even nicer one! 😀 xXx

  11. Soo cute!! I’m loving that fabric. That collar looks perfect too and wow a side zipper AND a pocket? Man you are impressive. Great job!

    Also, THOSE SHOES. Oh my gosh where did you get them? I am absolutely in love right now.

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