Monday, April 22, 2013

MadMen Sewing Challenge #2: The Peggy Dress

A brief review of how this dress came to be:
- I decided to draft this kimono sleeve bodice myself out of necessity. I had zero money to spend on a new pattern but I did have a lot of free time. I explored my vintage pattern stash and discovered a '50s Simplicity dress pattern with a pleated skirt that fit with just a little bit of downgrading as well as a '50's kimono sleeve topper jacket pattern. I used my Colette Peony bodice pattern as a kind of sloper which I traced and drafted muslin #1.

- The next day I reworked the fit and attempted underarm gussets to help alleviate some of the shoulder wrinkling. I wound up with a pretty good muslin #2. If you follow my instagram you may have seen me hyperventilating over the magical alignment of my bodice darts with the skirt pleats and seams. I still cannot believe that a self-drafted bodice just magically aligned with my skirt pattern!
- For my final garment I used a red and green Pendleton cotton. I nixed the underarm gussets because I couldn't figure out how to create a lining (though I didn't end up lining the dress) and because I was generally afraid of a plaid disaster. I rushed on the construction of my mandarin colar and there are a few imperfections, but all in all I adore this dress! It's such a classic '60s style yet it fits more like a '50s housewife dress. 

My Peggy Dress won 4th in a costume contest at The Gypsy!
They made all the finalists dance for a whole song in front of the entire bar. Good thing the twist is an easy dance move! Plus the 3 old-fashioneds helped. 
I loved that lady's teal dress and her hair. I had my hair done up as well, but didn't get a good shot. 
Doesn't that lady's dress remind you of the picture in Roger Sterling's office??
Bib construction:
I went with a side zipper but then couldn't figure out how to fit my head through the mandarin collar. I decided not to cut the bodice front on the fold as I had done with my muslins, that way I could create an opening that could be hidden with the bib. This is the same bodice construction as My Martha Dress.
I made a backing out of a silk/cotton blend with lovely drape, then hand sewed a polyester ribbon on, working my way up from the bottom.
There is a hook and eye closure and a snap. I feel like this was pretty ingenious if I do say so myself! I mean, Peggy's is better but I did what I could.
Bias Tape finish on hemline and sleeves:
Plaid Matching and Dart Matching:
Ya win some ya lose some, am I right? I think I'd like a thin black belt to wear with this in the future. 
The Final Product:
I love the back even more than the front! Is that weird?
Thanks for the excuse to smoke!
Seriously, I don't feel this pretty very often so I'm just gonna post these vanity shots. Sorry if it is self-indulgent but... its my blog! I do what I want!
Twist and Shout!
Ok, NOW I can get to work on some contemporary patterns. Phew!


  1. Great dress! I love the plaid. I have a plan to make a plaid dress as well but haven't gotten to it yet. Too many projects in the queue! You look beautiful in these shots by the way!

    1. Thanks! I've been on a bit of a plaid bender lately, I'm trying NOT to sew with it now :P

  2. So very cute! I love what you've done with your hair.

    1. Thanks! It kind of has a life of it's own, haha

  3. This dress is so cute! I really love it and that was so clever to hide the neck opening with the bib.

    Also I think you look lovely, so post as many pictures as you like!

  4. Wow! That is fantastic! I have some plaids in my stash, but I haven't used them yet... too afraid! After seeing yours, I want to try.

  5. Oh my goodness that dress is amazing! Great work :)

  6. You and your dress are so cute! Great job drafting the bodice pattern!

  7. I love this dress, you did a great job. It's absolutly beautiful!!!

  8. You and the dress look amazing! Fantastic job!

  9. Hi Rachel,

    I've nominated you for a Liebster Award! I love reading your blog and find your projects very inspiring. I hope you'll play along and share some of your favourite up and coming blogs too.

  10. Yay! You can shoot as many pictures as you want, because your dress is fabulous and you look divine! Love everything about this dress, you can be very proud of it!

  11. Nice dress, I love the plaid.
    Now, you have a new reader on your blog Rachel and I love your blog as well. Warm greeting from Velvet Ribbon,