Sunday 18 March 2012

Contenders for the Mad Men Dress Challenge!

Hmm so I may have been doing a bit too much research and planning and not enough sewing for this challenge! I think it's highly unlikely that I'm going to make the end of March deadline for this but I'm still ploughing on and think I finally have my plan! Kinda...

When I first heard about the challenge my immediate thoughts were drawn to the outfits of Betty as my tastes veer towards her feminine full skirted look and it is a shape which suits me. I particularly love the dress in the centre image below with the wide fitted waist section and one of may favourite styles of sleeve. However I could make a dress of this style and completely love it, wear it to a wedding or similar occasion and then never wear it! Or at least not wear it as much as I'd hope too because dresses of this style are completely impractical for my day to day life.

I am still tempted to make a summer shirtdress in a nice cotton or rayon in a similar style to the pictures either side above. They have a slightly less full skirt and do not need to be worn with a petticoat to still look nice thus making them much more suited to public transport in the British drizzle. The collar and buttons to waist are a lovely details to enhance any simple dress shape I think.

I love love love this butterfly blouse which Betty wears at the end of season 2. I think that's more to do with the print than the actual blouse though so maybe this image is just suited to some fabric inspiration!

Joanie, Joanie, Joanie. She's just such a fantastic lady I don't want to just dress like her I want to be her! But it's just dressing like her that I must be content with. There are so many brilliant choices within Joan's wardrobe I have spent hours scouring images. One thing I have picked up on is her use of colour which is quite apparent in the series of photos of her in this post. She must wear every colour of the rainbow throughout the course of the show and every single one of them looks utterly amazing with her red hair! I think I can be quite shy of colour in my wardrobe, veering towards safe neutrals or a splash of colour in an outfit of predominantly safe neutrals. For this challenge I'd really like to make a dress of entirely one vivd colour in the style of Joan.

Nearly every dress of Joan's begins with that fantastic shape and structure that makes the most of those womanly curves. She's clearly a woman who knows what suits her and sticks with it which is something to admire.

However it's the little details on each of her dresses (whether that be a matching belt, button back or length of sleeve) which truly make her stylish and her clothing choices never boring. One aspect I have picked up on is the design of the neckline of her dresses. Just look at the variety within this selection of images, a revere collar, a tie to the side, simple pleats and a pleated flounce.

This final image of Joan is one of my absolute favourite outfits. The contrast facing on the pleated flounce around the neckline makes this a real stand out detail. Plus just look at those lovely cuffs, also with contrast facing. They give a really ladylike, glamourous and soft edge to and otherwise very structured dress in a very solid navy. In saying this I don't think I can pick just one of Joan's dresses to replicate but instead would prefer to use all these little details and colours as inspiration for future self drafted projects or even  just as adaptions to patterns I already own to give them that little extra edge.

I also really like Jane's style, as much as I do NOT want to be her in contrast to Joan. This little number has made it onto the short list for two reasons. Firstly because I think it has style yet is very wearable and I think i could get a lot of wear out of a dress like this. Secondly because one of the vintage patterns my Nan gave me is for almost exactly this same dress! I'm not sure about the colour though and instead have a deep purple wool crepe which is much more of a Joan colour to use.

So I thought I was all set with making Jane's dress...until last week I watched the episode in season 2 when Don meets Joy and she emerges from the hotel in the dress above. I love dresses which show off the shoulders in summer and think this is a really flattering shape to boot. I fell in love with it on first sight and my mind was made up. However this change of plan comes with a couple of issues. I don't have a pattern anything like this dress and am not feeling confident enough to draft that neckline for myself plus I don't have any printed cotton which I'd deem suitable for it.

Perhaps I would be off better sticking with the Jane dress as I already have everything I need?

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