Mad Men Joan Dress

mid century credenza and dress

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.

mad men joan blue and white ruffle dress

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!

1960s mad men dress with cocktail

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.

blue and white mad men joan dress

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.

Hem facing and hand sewn hemjpg

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.

mad men dress back

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18 Responses to Mad Men Joan Dress

  1. Jennifer April 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi Erin! Just a quick note to say your dress looks awesome! It definitely shows that you put some extra love into making it.

    • Seamstress Erin April 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Thanks! I appreciate the compliment. Glad that it shows :)

  2. Jeanette April 3, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Adorable! I love Joan’s clothes the best also. I would love to do the Mad Men challenge next year. The only sad thing about the season premier of Mad Men is that it means The Walking Dead is over. Love your dress. My mom used to hand stitch every hem, because the material hangs better. I have to agree. And since my mom was only 4’9″ that was a lot of hemming. Love reading about your projects.

  3. theperfectnose April 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    This is lovely-I actually like your variation better than the inspiration dress (which is pretty but the colourblocked flappy bits in the collar look like they’re meant to drape over melons rather than breasts XD Yours looks a lot more Modern and the collar particularly, reminds me more of Mod than fiftiesfroufrou. Good stuff.

    • Seamstress Erin April 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      Thanks so much! I certainly don’t have the melons or breasts that Christina Hendricks does, so I think I found a nice solution. I really appreciate your compliments!

  4. Anonymous April 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    I know nothing about sewing/patterns, but am so impressed with your talent. Not only are you beautiful and smart, but extremely talented.

    Aunt Mickie

    • Seamstress Erin April 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

      Thanks Aunt Mickie! Your words are very sweet!

  5. Hannah Elizabeth Smith April 5, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    This is just AMAZING! I love it sooo much. That collar is the cutest thing ever, I prefer yours to Joans original by far :D xxx

  6. gingermakes April 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    This looks great! Well done! It’s a really special dress!

  7. Kessem April 11, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    This is so beautiful! I love the sleeves, I think I may have to use your tutorial next time I make something!! Also, I much prefer your neckline, I think your play on the contrast is beautiful!

    • Seamstress Erin April 11, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      Thanks! I appreciate the compliments and can’t wait to see some flounces on your next creation!!

  8. Cherie (@TheSewingLab) April 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Wow! Fantastic! I like your neckline better. Well done.

  9. Cuckoo Chanel April 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Gorgeous dress!! The sleeve flounces are so cool. All of your hard work really shows.

    • Seamstress Erin April 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Thanks! I appreciate it!

  10. Anonymous April 30, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    I think this may be your best creation yet. Just lovely and looks so good on you.

  11. sarahjaneiom May 3, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    This is soo beautiful. And as well as being a fantastic wiggle dress it is also so reminiscent of a dress in the wearable separates section of Vogue magazine last month!

  12. Nessa May 5, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    Really love that colour in this dress. You look so stylish!


  1. Mad Men Challenge – My Joan Dress - April 4, 2013

    […] a couple rounds of fitting, still aren’t quite perfect over my strong shoulders. Check out my blog post for more details and […]

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