Mad Men Mod: Megan

Did you see Julia Bobbin’s Man Men Challenge?  I’m still catching up on my blog reading.  She’s calling on the sewing fans of Mad Men to get together and finally make the dress you’ve had your eye on since it first rolled on screen.  Check out her post if you want to join, the deadline for sewing is March 30.

I’ve been re-watching past seasons of Mad Men lately, keeping my eyes peeled for interesting or overlooked garments to discuss and maybe recreate.  Except I knew all along which dress I wanted to re-create.  I posted about Megan’s pink dress over a year ago, and I’m still in love:

Mad Men Season 4 Episode 10

I mean- what’s not to love? I think this dress made me notice Megan for the first time, even though she’s all through season 4 when you watch out for her.  Always there, just in the background and then bam she hits you with this dress. (Notice- no lumpy era-correct bra…)

Sure- it’s very pink.  She and I have similar coloring and I’m in the right age range so I figure I can safely follow her lead through the land of cotton candy.  Probably.  If not, we’ll all have a good laugh and then never speak of it again.  The clean lines, anchored by a darker pink and brightened with the white seem to cut the sweetness of the main color.  How do I make those color bands happen?

Borrowed from an excellent blog "I Am Fashion"No, really, how?  I suppose it must be an inset of some sort, but it’s remarkably clean and neat and not bulky.  Would you use wide bias bands around the neck, or carefully cut and shaped straight of grain bands (like facings)?  I might try both to see what works best.  For a while, I suspected her dress was made from some kind of crazy 1960′s border print, thoughtfully cut.  But then there’s the neckline…

The other question is the type of fabric, and whether I can find or dye the correct colors.  I would guess this is some kind of crepe, maybe wool or polyester, but I doubt I’ll easily find either.  Would a nice quality cotton sateen or stretch sateen work well for this dress?  What else should I look out for?

I’ll probably use Vogue 9668 with an altered neckline and shorter skirt.  I know the pattern well and haven’t sewn her for several years, I should dig her out to play one more time.

So- I like this dress for me, what do you think?  Is the pink too strong?

Are you joining the Mad (wo)Men Sewing Challenge?

(I spent some quality time working on the Bow Tie Tee patterns today.  If you’ve sewn my Blank Canvas Tee in 50 or 55 size, would you mind emailing me to let me know how it went?  I haven’t heard a peep about the fit or anything to do with them, even though many many copies have been downloaded…I’ll send you a Bow Tie Tee pattern for your help!)


42 comments

  1. It’s gorgeous! I reckon those neck bands are facing style insets, maybe both faced in turn in a lighterweight fabric hence the lack of bulk. I love the watermelony coraliness of the deeper pink, which is a little off shade for the main pink – I reckon a lighter version of it would be almost apricoty compared with the actual dress. It’s nice, not too matchy matchy.

    • MrsC, you’re a genius… It all sounds good, but when I try to think it through I get stuck.. I actually fell asleep last night thinking about how to do that..

      I am going to go for slightly “off key” pinks if I can, your point about the pinks is duly noted…

  2. Maybe they are applique? Just a thought. I love the pink, and ‘calmed down’ with the other colours I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. X

  3. Oh I love it–those colors will look great on you, and I think the dress will suit you even better than her. I love that you’re using that pattern, too–it’s been in my stash for years and I’ve so been meaning to try it at some point. I agree that I suspect those are facing-style insets, and I agree with you that unless you magically find a line of coordinating fabrics in those colors, you’ll probably need to do a little dying… I’ve only dyed yarn, but I suspect that it would work well for the darker bands to be the same hue as the body of the dress, just in a darker shade.

    And now I’m vaguely embarrassed that I’m doing the obvious thing and making a Joan dress… but NOT embarrassed enough to not do it anyway.

    • It’s a good, reliable pattern… Nothing outre about it.

      Good thing I LOVE dyeing fabric!! White is easy enough to find, I might have a little struggle with the candy pink, and then I can overdye the candy pink with some fushia goodness to see what happens… Since the base color will be the paler pink, the resulting fushia should have a sort of “family resemblance” to the candy pink… We’ll see anyway…

      Your Joan dress is way awesome. I’m looking forward to watching your progress. :)

  4. It’s on like Donkey Kong. And I’m so in! I’m still looking for my inspiration piece – but I do love yours. It certainly looks like wool, doesn’t it? And I’m guessing shaped facings – too smooth to be bias? I could be wrong. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it turns out for you! And if you don’t like the result… what dress were you talking about again?

  5. You’ll look great in pink. I think everyone needs a bit of bubblegum pink in their wardrobe. I’m not sure about whether or not their are bias, but I imagine everything is attached to a stiffer underlining.

    • Yes… You’re probably right… I’ll do some sample sewing once I find the fabrics and see what happens but I’d like this to be a semi-casual wash n wear type dress because I don’t dress up to go to work anymore and I hate making clothes that just sit in the closet… Sigh.

  6. I’m with the others on the shaped insets. Bias could look similar, but I think you’d run the risk of the neckline stretching… Unles sit were appliquéd on, anyway.

    I think it would be lovely in a double-knit or heavy crepe…

    • Hmmmm appliqued bias bands.. interesting…

      Can’t wear much doubleknit or heavy crepe here unfortunately. And it might be bulky? I don’t know. I foresee much sample sewing in the near future…

  7. I think the dress and colours would totally work for you. The dark colour really does tone down the sweetness of the paler pink. But then again, I like pink.

    • It’s not one of my automatic no-brainer go-to colors like red or medium blue or white, but I can wear it… I’m kind of looking forward to having such a PINK dress.. You know, for those PINK dress days…

    • My first reaction was,”Oh, that’s a polyester double knit.” This is my era, and I don’t mean in a retro sort of way. :-) Polyester double knit was VERY big.

      However, looking more closely, I think it may be a smoother fabric. Definitely polyester – see how the center seam doesn’t quite press flat? Polyester fibers were fatter back then. You couldn’t get a really good press without chemicals which were not, to my knowledge, available to home sewers. At least my mom never had them. We did use vinegar sometimes, but I didn’t think it worked much better than plain water and Mom usually didn’t have white vinegar on hand. The cider vinegar we did have would stain your fabric (ask me how I know).

      Looking at the wrinkles/folds at the shoulder in the first picture, I’m guessing a ponte with a smooth-ish face would get you closest to the look. I love this dress; it’s one of the looks that make this era retro-worthy.

      • I’m just going to categorically state that even if the fabric is the perfect colors and angels dropped it in my lap free of charge, there’s really no way I’m wearing polyester doubleknit… ;)

        Very very interesting, I love that kind of insight into vintage fabrics! :)

      • I immediately thought polyester double knit. I inherited a bunch of polyester double knit in similar colours from my Grandmother. Blech. Needless to say I do not own it anymore!

  8. Ooh I love this dress – I want to make it too! I wouldn’t make it in pink, but this is so cute I can’t imagine it in any other colour!
    In fact this sounds like a far better project to do today than sanding the side of the house…
    I wouldn’t use bias bands because you’ll end up with an uneven ripply mess! Straight grain will be fine.
    Glad you had a fun holiday – that suntan will disappear soon! I do love a bit of sun though, it feels good for my happiness levels.

  9. Straight grain facings. If you look at her right shoulder (neckline picture) you’ll see that the shoulder (baby pink) and the other two colors wrinkle exactly the same way. If the other two colors were bias the wrinkles would be different. I love that dress. Great choice!

    • I don’t really like the show.. The characters are moral black holes and the writers don’t place much emphasis on personal redemption… Just misery.

      But yeah, the clothes are nice…

  10. Straight grain facings-I’ve done a similar detail on a couple of tops myself. All it takes is a bit of cautious drafting, cautious cutting and cautious sewing. But it’s not super hard….don’t be intimidated, just dive in! Do some cautious clipping, press all the curved seams right open, and voila! No bulk. And, yes, face the whole thing with one piece of thinner fabric. I was surprised and very pleased by how good the results were for me when I tried it.

    And, yeah. I know I don’t have to tell you this, but you’ll be much happier with the results in a cotton or a wool than in a poly. *actually*…brainwave! Why not try it with a slightly slubby raw silk? Silk dyes so nicely, and when you machine wash raw silk garments gently and hang to dry, they turn out beautifully.

    • Thanks for that… I’ll try a few methods and be sure to report back! I think I found some good sateen today, I just took swatches so I can look at them a little longer to decide… It’s not a *candy* pink, but it’s very nice… A few shades off Megan’s frock..

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  13. This is super mod! It’ll be fun to see you in this style! I almost thought it was doubleknit, too. It has that soft rolled seam look to it. I wonder where they get fabrics for this show… wouldn’t you just like to be in their workroom for a day?

    I agree with others on straight-grain facings. I just did something similar by cutting off a neckline shape and drafting facings that would be cut on. Like others said, with some careful clipping (I also had to understitch one part) it came out very smoothly.

  14. Yes do the pink – why not? I think you can carry it off, unless you get sunburnt again! (Sorry I’m reading and commenting on posts out of order I think!!).

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  18. I’ve been watching all the past seasons episodes, too! I noticed that pink dress…actually, there are a lot of incredible suits and dresses on the minor characters. I still can’t decide what I want to sew for this challenge…I don’t think I”m going to get it done before the Season 5 premier!

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