Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mad Men Challenge: I'm In! (With a Joan Dress. And a Bow.)

A royal blue figure-hugging V-neck Joan dress with cuffs? And a bow? Oh, yes, please.

Please don't laugh. I know full well I've posted only one finished object this year, but I SWEAR I have been sewing like a madwoman and will soon be assaulting you with a mountain of finished object awesomeness. Including my wide-legged trousers, which now fit PERFECTLY but just need a proper hemming and pressing. And even something made out of polar fleece (but don't get too concerned now--it was for a costume for a comedy sketch video).

But let's get back to the magnificence that is Joan, shall we? I was so excited to read about Julia Bobbin's Mad Men Challenge, because a Joanie dress has been on my epic to-sew list for EONS now. I actually missed the entire last season (I blame my awesome toddler for being way more fun than watching even a really excellent show) but no matter. Also: I used to work on Madison Avenue! (In marketing design, not advertising, but still).

I did spend AGES on What Would Joan Wear? combing through all of her perfectly-fitting and brightly colored curve-adoring dresses, but in the end I kept coming back to this one.

I rewatched the episode on Netflix Instant Watch and took a lot of screen shots, and I'm fairly sure that it's a dickey dress (an item of which I was unaware until I started pattern hunting for one) with a faux-blouse underneath.

Here's the "dickey dress" 1960s pattern I picked up on Etsy (on its way to me now!), McCall's 5737--no bow, and no collar, but it has the right shape and the detachable dickey and cuffs--I can alter the other details to my liking:

Source: via Mikhaela on Pinterest

And although I'm guessing that the original Joan fabric was probably a lightweight wool crepe, I've already picked up fabric, too--a gorgeous soft stretchy but stable blue wool Christian Dior doubleknit, on sale at Paron's for less than $16/yard. I got a bit over 2 yards, which might be a squeeze, but I'll make it happen:

Christian Dior blue wool doubleknit

I'm still working on the blouse fabric--I'm struggling to find a silk charmeuse with an even vaguely similar or 60s-appropriate print. Except this awesome printed silk remnant on the Denver Fabrics site, but they are only selling it as one big 8 1/2 yard piece, and I need like, 1/2 a yard:

I'm also making a modified Ruby Slip to wear under it, in blue silk charmeuse.

Sketch soon!

So: are you in? What dress are you making? SO EXCITING.


  1. Oh my goodness, that is going to be one BEAUTIFUL dress!!!!

  2. This looks amazing! I saw that blue dress while searching for inspiration's definitely eye-catching! Love the shade of blue.

    I'm so excited for this challenge, but am stuck between a Peggy outfit and a Joan dress. Can't decide!

    Looking forward to seeing how yours turns out!

  3. It's going to be a beautiful dress! This challenge is not for me, but I'm looking forward to seeing your dress and others too.

  4. I can't wait for the onslaught of FOs! And I have a blue silk charmeuse (and lace) Ruby slip. It's all the thing :-) PS: It's really lovely to wear.

  5. Just left a comment but I think it got eaten! Gist was that I have made a blue silk charmeuse Ruby and it's great. Will be perfect under this dress.

  6. Ohhh, you finished your pants?! I can't wait to see them!!

    I'm sitting this challenge out (mostly because I don't like being told what to do lol), but I can't wait to see everyone else's finished outfits. It'll be like watching a new episode :) Which btw, MARCH CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH.

  7. OMGOMG! What an exciting project! I can not wait to see how it takes shape!

    And your pants!! Perfect!?!?!? Amazing. Can't wait to see them.

  8. This looks like such a fun project, and looks like you have all the details absolutely sorted and matching the original really well! I kind of wish I was less of a tube shape when I see all these curvy dresses...

  9. I too am a big fan of this dress! I bet your version is going to be lovely.

  10. Just hopped over from Sewaholic...after reading your lucky girl! Love the fabric choices for the dress.

  11. That fabric you found is so perfect. Too bad there's a minimum amount you have to order.

    Heres some other fabrics that might work

  12. Thanks for the encouragement everyone, and thank you Paige for those excellent fabric suggestions!

  13. I wandered in from your Sew Retro post to add some suggestions! I always love hunting for someone else's project, it's like window shopping. My disclaimers are that these are satin charmeuse, and I've never bought from this website (but they had such a good retro feel to the prints!):

  14. Maybe you could work out a group buy for others wanting to make this dress. The Sew Weekly also has a Mad Men challenge coming up as well. I'm tempted if others wanted to join in as well.


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