Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mad Men Sewing Challenge ~ Completed Dress!

Hi Friends!    I have been busily sewing these past couple weeks trying to get my "Mad Men" sewing look completed. (Mad Men 2nd annual Sewing Challenge from Julia Bobbin's Blog) I am very happy with the way it came out.  The dress seems to suit me more than the 40's skirt and blouse did.
Here is my inspiration dress on the character Betty Draper :

And here is my finished look:

I ended up using McCall's pattern# 6146, circa 1961. 

My fabric as I mentioned in a previous post was approx. 7 yards from a Queen size sheet set:

Purple is one of my favorite colors, and liked the sizing of the rose pattern on the fabric. I was having trouble finding large roses on regular fabric at the fabric store.
I used the same procedure as with the 1940's pattern:   Transferred it to wax paper, then cut out the fabric.
You might notice that the pattern from the 60's looks much more like the ones today do with markings, grainline, seam allowance etc.  (the one from the 40's was blank tissue paper with series of little punched holes in it to demark all the info)

This pattern happened to be a size 12, which was a couple sizes too small for me. When I traced the pattern on to the wax paper, I added about 1/2 inch extra on all the seam areas to size it up. Also, I made sure that the bottom of  the bodice and the skirt waist actually fit my waist (I have found that many of the mid century patterns have teeny tiny little waists!)
Other changes included a little extra scoopiness in the neck area to closer match the inspiration dress,  and I added a pleated overlay to the bodice area for the same reason.

I ended up doing a lot of hand sewing on this dress.  The skirt pretty much was a straight yard or so piece of fabric gathered.  I machine gathered it and hand sewed it in,  mostly because everytime I do a large gathering while sewing,  it doesn't end up coming out as well when I machine sew it in and I have to spend much time picking out the stitches and redoing them.

My kitty sat this one out. Instead I had Calvin, my mini dachshund, helping me.
Calvin assessing the situation - fabric is comfy!

Kisses for the helper
Many thanks to Julia for hosting this awesome "Mad Men" sewing challenge!  I am looking forward to seeing everyone's awesome projects.  I will have to actually find some episodes of Mad Men and watch them now too. 


  1. Could you please tell me where did you buy the fabric? Also, who is designer and is it possible to buy it over Internet? Thanks and best regards

    1. Hi Mis zuzi, so glad you like my dress! I bought the fabric (which was actually a set of sheets) from a local store - Ocean State Job Lot. They are a chain of discount stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. (I was having trouble finding fabric with roses on it at the fabric store) Not sure if you will be able to find the exact fabric, but prob. something similar. I used the pattern mentioned in the post - McCalls #6146 from 1961. I made a slight modification to the front part (the pattern shows a flat front, I made mine gathered to more resemble the Mad Men dress) You can probably find the pattern on the Internet somewhere, there are many wonderful vintage pattern websites. I would also try They have many vintage sewing patterns and fabric. You can also try some flea markets and thrift stores near where you are for vintage or vintage-looking fabric. Good luck!

    2. Thank you Yvonne so much. Best regards