I’ve made my Mad Men Challenge Dress. Phew. I used Gertie’s Wiggle Dress as the pattern with only minor fit changes (changed the hip shape and added 1/2 inch to the front at the shoulder). The pattern uses dolman sleeves with an armpit gusset for fit. I didn’t get the shoulders fit perfectly as mine are much stronger than the pattern intends, but I’ve got some ideas about how to make the fit perfect next time.
My inspiration was a Joan dress in dark blue with white contrast ruffle at neck and elbow. I had a hard time deciding exactly what dress, but it seemed pretty clear that it was going to be a Joan dress. I re-watched Season 4, taking screenshots of every dress that caught my eye and 3/4 of them were on Joan!
I made the dress from a wool suiting. The contrast is synthetic as the bolt of silk in the right weight and color had flaws in it and I didn’t want to truck to another fabric store. I didn’t line it, knowing that I would wear a slip under it, but I almost think I should have underlined the dress so it had a bit more weight to it.
I futzed and futzed with the neckline and just couldn’t get it like the inspiration dress so I decided to make it quite different and to be okay with an “inspired by” dress instead of a “faithful reproduced” dress. I adore the flounces at the elbow and think they are spot on. It’s interesting that the dress looked totally blah until I added the flounce and then magically it became va-va-voom. It really brings out the good kind of figure-hugging curves in the dress.
I did take the time to hand pick the zipper and use hem tape and hand sew the hem. I’ve come to adore a hand-picked zipper. I think this dress fits well into my 2013 goal of sewing perfection. I took the time to construct it well with nice materials and I think it shows. If you want to make sleeve flounces yourself, check out my tutorials for drafting and sewing sleeve flounces and sleeve facings.