Progress: Mad Men Challenge Dress

Please excuse the horrible photos coming up- there are no windows in my underground hole of a sewing lair sewing studio and the lighting stinks.

And I was in a hurry because I was cooking dinner at the same time.

Progress has been made with my Mad Men Challenge/10 Year Anniversary dress!

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I don’t know about you, but there comes a time during the construction of every dress where it just looks so darn good on my dress form I don’t want to finish it.

The finishing is where my projects tend to go downhill. I am just to inexperienced/impatient a sewer to really take my time and finish things properly. I just want to wear them already (!!) and in my hurry to complete a project and move on the the next one, corners are cut.

So about midway through each project, usually around the time the bodice & skirt get sewn together and it goes on Diana (yes, I named my dress form after Princess Di), I have to remind myself that I am not a perfectly shaped dress form and by the time I piece the rest of the dress together and slap it on, I may feel a little………………let down.

We are at that point now with my Mad Men Challenge dress, and that little talk has now been had. Right now, it looks great. On my actual body after my finishing hack job maybe……not so much.

But I’m trying to leave expectations behind and just be glad that it might be wearable at all. This is a real leap forward for me in terms of sewing difficulty.

On to some photos and thoughts on the project so far. Quickly, ’cause I’ve finished cooking dinner, I’m really hungry and so are my kids.

1. This is my first time working with Dupioni silk and I love it. Will work with it again. When I can afford more. That s*&t is pricey!

2. I planned on using a pattern piece from this dress for the drapes but had to wing it and draft my own as I didn’t realize they were folded and were not going to be long enough. It worked out. SCORE +1

3. I still cannot orchestrate a lining/shell fabric match. Inevitably one is wider than the other and futzing ensues. NEGATIVE -1

4. After making several versions of the Anna bodice, I knew that I needed to lengthen the front piece by 1/2″. I just extended the bottom by this amount and it worked, though I’m sure this is not a “proper” tailoring technique. Regardless, SCORE + 1 AGAIN!

5. I lined the sleeve edges with off-white bias and then folded up and slip-stitched them in place. They look pretty crisp. Sweet. SCORE +1.

6. I serged the back edges of the dress and chewed up some lining fabric in the process. NEGATIVE -1. Thank heavens I didn’t snag the Dupioni (see #1)

7. After a quick fitting, I realized that I will need to shorten the hem by about 4″ to create a more flattering (and not dowdy) hemline.

(If you’re keeping score, I’m up by 1)

Ready for some crap photos now?

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Yes, Diana has her pearls on already.

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That’s it! Hopefully the next post will be me in the finished project, channeling Betty Draper in all her glory. God, I love her.

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6 thoughts on “Progress: Mad Men Challenge Dress

  1. Looking good!! Can’t wait to see you in it!

  2. I remember that stage in my sewing when my finishing skills were not so good and I was anxious to just wear the bloody thing!!! With time, I think my finishing skills have gotten a lot better – to the point that I actually prefer to hand finish a lot of things! I know you will get there too πŸ™‚ Great dress!!! I can’t wait to see the finished project!! Are you going to emulate the waist treatment too???


    • Hi Beccie- I hope you’re right and I can learn to love the finishing and embrace some hand sewing! I am trying my best to capture the full look and add the waist treatment as well. I’ve left it ’till last and am self-drafting two sections that will be hand-sewed on. So I guess I better learn fast! HAHA

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