I actually wanted to title this post “A petition to Julia Bobbin”, followed by a plea to change the date of the Mad Men Dress Challenge for next year (I hope there will be next year?) to later in the year. I mean, c’mon, doesn’t your heart just break looking at me modelling my lovely summer dress with heaps of snow in the background?
But anyhoo, this dress is inspired by Betty’s dresses. She is not one of my favourite characters, but fairly early in the series they showed her working away at a sewing machine, and at that moment Betty stole a piece of my heart. How could anyone not love her day dresses, or those breezy, summery party dresses?
Fitted bodice, and a full skirt, in pretty, pretty colours. That is the general style that I desperately wanted to duplicate, because I have never had a dress like that. Since a very early age my mother discouraged me from wearing dresses, she believed that they did not suit me. So I abandoned the notion of dressing pretty and turned into a total tomboy. It is only now that I have the confidence to embrace my body the way it is, and I acquired certain amount of sewing and fitting skill that I want to try to regain some of the girliness that I never had. So here it comes:
Now for the deets: the bodice is the same as the black dress. This time, I boned the front and side seams with plastic boning (in the black dress I put boning only in the side seams). I really enjoy the look and feel of a boned bodice, and again I am so surprised how easy it is to work with plastic boning! The front of the bodice, after drafting and installing straps, became quite short, so I drafted the waist band (a loooong rectangle), to which I added the circle skirt. That circle skirt was cut in the summer, and at that point was not meant to be a dress, just a stash busting experiment. Then it was marinating on a hanger for the next 7 months (to get the stretch out from the bias sections, I think the 7 months did the trick)! I lined the whole thing with cotton batiste, installed the zipper, discovered that I did not have any more hook and eye closures, trimmed the skirt, and added the lace to the bottom. Then I went to install the horsehair braid to the bottom of the skirt, following some well-meaning but wrong advice. The advice was to use thinner horsehair, since I made a narrow hem. Later, when I was flipping through Gertie’s book, I read that the more drama you want, the wider the braid you should use. So tomorrow at work I will be purchasing some 2″ or 3″ horsehair, rather than the measly 1/2″ that I was working with. And I will probably shorten the lace a little bit, it seems to be too long for the proportions of the dress, no?
So that is that. This is a dress that makes me feel like a million bucks. This is the dress that trumps ALL of the sewing messes that I’ve made so far. This is the dress I’ll be wearing in bed when I catch a cold from twirling in 3 centigrade weather. And the dress also wants me to buy me a string of pearls…
Keep your eye out on Julia’s blog and the challenge roundup on April 6th, to see what other participants of the MMDC3 came up with. I expect it to be inspiring, as always!