Friday, 16 March 2012

School's Out

 Semi-Mad Men inspired dress: I picked Joan because of her shape and I like her style. I do have to admit at this point that I have only watched one episode of Mad men that that was about 3 years ago! Anyway, I like blue, it suits me and it's easy to wear, so inspiration No.1 on the left. The neck line on the right is just darn sexy, so inspiration No.2. Although this is not my design or pattern - it's Vogue 1121 - it fit the bill perfectly for a classic, navy dress. Made in wool crepe, it will carry me through spring, early summer, autumn and even a mild winter.

If you have been following the progress of this garment you will know about my reticence about the gym slip look, but I can now reveal that the gym slip has been kept behind a year in school whereas this dress is ready to go out to the big bad world of work with martinis afterwards.

I lengthened the dress by 7" in the end and is hemmed just below the knee - this is the only design alteration I made. The back has two kick pleats that allow for easily running up stairs and playing hockey.

From the side, the sway back adjustment worked a treat, but you can see I'm still not happy being photographed from this angle.

From the back, I still have a waist and the lapped zipped (that you can't see here) is discrete and in keeping with the 1960s styling.

Here's a close up of those details that aren't easy to see in the above images.

 The unusual neckline has an insert that is actually sewn to the lining and is caught at the side seams of the neck. This was tricky to sew and I ended up hand stitching the sides in place.

When I attached the lining and the side neckline was reduced by 1.5mm (5/8") on either side and my bra strap shows - so either new bra or sew little ribbons on the inside to hold the strap out of the way.
Back kick pleats allow for easy of movement and sitting without hearing the sounds of stitching ripping.
The lapped zip in the centre back- if you look closely you can see that I can almost sew a straight line.

My attempt at a Joan pout and pose  - must keep practising that.

You can check out the stages of this dress here-
1. The start and initial worries
2. Sway back (big bum) adjustment
3. Lapped zipper

Finally, couldn't resist........

Thanks for reading. Ruth


  1. You and the dress look perfect together!

  2. Gorgeous dress! You have a fabulous shape, and it shows in this. Martinis sound much more fun than the hockey to me, though!

  3. You should be starring on the show. Hot! Hot! Hot!

  4. You look awesome Ruth !!! Have a good weekend..

  5. it looks great on - I can't believe that you lengthened it by 7" - you are either very tall, or the original pattern was very short.

  6. Hot-cha cha! Great dress and remember- no high sticking!

  7. Wow! It looks fantastic!

  8. You look gorgeous!! I like the pose with the lose tie :)

  9. Wonderful dress. Looks really good on you. Thanks for publishing about it.

  10. You look great in this dress :)
    You can see that you're in great shape :)
    Keep it up :)
    Greetings from Polish :)

  11. Oh you are all so kind! Thank you so much for the lovely comments. I wore this the other day at a visit to Stormont to meet our politicians - it really made an impression but I should have brought the hockey stick too LOL.

  12. Somehow my comment got lost, but that's not important. Important is, that you really look great in that dress!

  13. Wonderful dress! Well done and so flattering! I have loved this dress challenge, haven't you?

  14. Hello! Great work on the Vogue 1121! My name is Valery and I work at the McCall Pattern Company in NYC. We would love to post your photos on our Vogue Facebook page, with your permission, of course! In turn, we will post link to your blog! Let me know at your convenience. Have a great weekend!


  15. You can reach me via my email address at! VP

  16. I'm starting this one today - thanks for your great summary. Plus, your personality shines thru. Maybe you will inspire me to sew my back zipper in an almost straight line, too!

    1. Good luck Teresa. You might want to check out this post, about how to hold and hide the bra straps while wearing this dress.