Joanie is by far my favourite Mad Men character so I stuck with basing my garment on her style. I still wanted to make something I would get some wear out of as a lot of my sewing projects err on the side of evening or special occasion wear. I went back through my pins and settled on her coral pink pussy bow blouse in the top picture.
I used the La Sylphide Blouse pattern from Papercut Patterns; I thought design wise straight out of the envelope it was pretty perfect to imitate Joan's look. Sleeve length, neckline and fit, spot on! This was my first time using a Papercut Pattern and I'm very pleased to report they are a big hit with me! The packaging is gorgeous and the pattern pieces are printed on a couple of robust brown paper sheets, meaning you have to be a lot less gentle with them than the usual tissue versions. You also get to make up the instructions into a lovely little booklet which I thought was great as it's a good size to keep next to your machine and very satisfying to keep turning the pages as you move through.
I cut a size XS based on my measurements and am pretty happy with the fit. It skims the waist and has a nice amount of ease elsewhere to help it sit and hang well. I've always liked the idea of the peplum look but when I've tried any peplum tops on in the high street found it to be a very unflattering style on me! I guess it was therefore a bit silly of my to choose a peplum top to sew up but there's something about this which works for me. I think it's a combination of the bow and loose three quarter length sleeves balancing the amount of fabric around the hips and just plain good drafting!
I used some type of imitation sand-washed silk I bought for about £2 a metre in Walthamstow market a while back. The fabric is very lightweight and drapey but didn't cause too many problems as the slightly sand-washed texture stops it from slipping and sliding about to much against itself or the machine. Even though I love the coral pink of Joan's blouse it's a colour that doesn't suit me in that solid a block close to my face. This soft green is much more my colour and I stuck to a solid rather than a print as Joan very rarely does prints or patterns.
Sewing wise this was definitely my most challenging make to date. I didn't really think about it when I set out but there's quite a lot of fiddly aspects to making this blouse; and quite a few of the techniques I had never tried before! To start with there are darts and sleeves to set in which are both things to be careful with but I've done at least a few times before. Then there there's the neck tie which I was sort of dreading but actually really enjoyed putting together. I am very proud of my lovely even topstitching around the back of the neckline!
There's also a button placket to deal with down the centre front. I don't know why I didn't pick up on this until I basically got to this step but I've never sewn a button hole before. Let alone a row of them on a stabilised placket. I usually avoid patterns involving buttons like the plague; my brain must have just decided to ignore that this was a feature on this one until it could ignore no more! Anyway, I cheated. I did fully intend on doing it properly and sat down with some scraps of my fabric to practice machine buttonholes. Then I realised I have no idea where the manual for my machine is. I can't recall ever seeing it or using it even. And I don't have the faintest idea how to make my machine make them. I have what I think is a buttonhole foot and a quick bit of googling tells me my machine has the capability to do them but I don't know how. I really do intend to learn how to do them, and am requesting a new manual from Janome so I can but for this I just faked it by sewing the buttons on the front and using press studs behind to fasten. I'm still chuffed with my neat plackets!
The one technique that I wasn't fretting about was the rolled hem after I'd had such success with my new rolled hem foot on my Dip Hemmed Scout Tee. Guess which technique involved the most time and swearing! My fabric just did NOT want to roll. It was rolling too much, rolling too little; my hem was all kinds of uneven and wobbly when I got round. I've re worked it but am still not 100% happy. Think I'm going to need to spend a bit more time on that. I used french seams throughout with the exception of the armhole seams which I bound so it seems a shame to ruin such a neat inside finish with an awful hem.
I really like that the cuffs are interfaced by the way. It seems to help keep a bit of shape and body in the sleeves however you hold your arms.
I can't wait to see everyone else's Mad Men inspired makes in Julia's round up post! Here's one final attempt at a Joan pose to amuse you all on a Sunday evening: