It’s official! I’ve signed on for my first online sewing challenge! How appropriate that it’s this one:
Mad Men was one of the reasons I decided to try sewing in the first place. I adore watching each episode, admiring the outfits each week. Gawd, I want to live in Betty Draper’s closet. So bad. But vintage fashion is not easy to find locally. So I began to search online and found many of the styles I was looking for but never in my price range.
Then I stumbled on some beautiful vintage patterns like these:
and realized that if I knew how to sew, I could make the wardrobe that I had been coveting.
A little over a year later and I am finally getting the hang of it. I think I’m ready now, for the “ONE”. The Betty Draper dress I have been in LOVE with since seeing a still shot of it online somewhere. (I still am not sure if it’s actually in any episodes of the show or just from a promo shot or something.) Here she is:
Gorgeous, right? I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. I had no pattern in my stash that would work until the concept of the pattern “hack” was introduced to me by one miss Dolly Clackett. All of her dresses are an inspiration to me and I really do feel like we are sew sisters or kindred spirits or something as we seem to choose a lot of the same fabrics and patterns. I saw her version of the “Annalotte” (a by Hand London Anna and Charlotte hybrid) and knew that was it!
I already own both patterns and have sewed both quite a few times so I’m pretty comfortable with the basic construction. The simple pleated bodice of the Anna dress with the kimono sleeves and the fitted pencil Charlotte skirt are pretty much exact matches for the Betty version. I also happened to have Gertie’s wiggle dress pattern with the drapes to match the ones on the original dress. Add a self-drafted cummerbund and I think I might actually pull this off!
Our 10th wedding anniversary is coming up in the middle of April and I thought this would be the perfect dress to wear out to dinner in the city with my husband. At least that’s the story I used on him at the fabric checkout counter when my fabric order totaled over $150, more that I’d ever spent on fabric for one dress. He pulled this face and I knew there was trouble.
Never take him fabric shopping. I know better, I really do. “But this is the ‘ONE’ ” I explained. “And anyways, they’ve already cut my 2 meters of off-white dupioni silk, white bemberg lining and lime green & coral silk contrast fabric. It’s not like they could put it back on the bolt.”
It didn’t help matters that he got $120 worth of parking tickets that day running me around the city buying fabric and taking me to lunch. But this is the stuff strong marriages are made of, non? Ten years. We handled it.
So anyways, the fabric came home with us and went into a very secluded drawer in my sewing lair to await cutting which finally happened today. I swear I held my breath the whole time like I was dismantling a bomb or something. I am so afraid of making a mistake with this stuff. I am so used to sewing with $10/m quilting cottons, this will be a real stretch for me, but I’m nothing if not an enthusiastic and brave beginner.
And this is a sewing challenge, right? So I’m supposed to challenge myself? I just hope I don’t stress sweat all over this thing. ‘Cause that’s soooooooo not Betty Draper.