How to sew a dress inspired by a very specific dress
February 22, 2018 2:35 AM   Subscribe

I've always been in love with this maxi dress from Mad Men. More images are at this link. Any suggestions on how to take a stab at sewing something like this? I have a very pretty geometric print fabric that would look great in this design. It looks simple enough, or maybe appearances are deceiving, but either way my searches for dress patterns that resemble this one haven't been successful. (Sewing ability: Quite basic but I'd make an extra effort to learn and complete this one )
posted by watrlily to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Whoops, here is the correct second link with more pictures
posted by watrlily at 2:39 AM on February 22, 2018

That dress is stunning. I am 100% not an expert but I would describe that as a round yoke dress with a split neck.

A quick search pulls up this pattern - the blue maxi dress version may be close to what you're looking for.
posted by indienial at 3:04 AM on February 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ooh, that's a really great dress. Simplicity 2692 has some options for dresses with that kind of round neckline, that also have the fitted bodice style. Not the split neck, though. I would think that if you need to adapt a pattern to get all those features, it's probably easier to add in the split neckline than to rework the bodice of a dress that doesn't have a defined waist.

It's been about a million years since I've done any pattern alteration, but I do recall that a good thing to do is to try out your ideas with a copy in muslin before using the actual fabric you want to use for your dress. When you get a muslin version that fits, you can deconstruct it to use in cutting your final pieces. In the dress in your picture, the split neck is different than the pattern I link to, and also it look like the front and bottom parts of the bodice are pieced separately with the lined fabric. I would definitely work that out with a muslin copy rather than try to freehand it.

Good luck!
posted by Sublimity at 4:16 AM on February 22, 2018

The Mad Men dress looks to be made of silk, by the drape and weight of it. Be aware that replicating the very fine gathering around the waist is going to be a bit difficult and much more bulky in almost any other fabric. Having said that, it's beautiful and I hope you do end up going for it.
posted by DSime at 7:55 AM on February 22, 2018

What I do in this circumstance is
1. Search the vintage pattern wiki
2. Make note of good patterns
3. Search Etsy to buy the pattern

You don't usually get exact. Sometimes you get "close enough". Sometimes you get "I like this better". Sometimes you get "easily adapted to suit the need". Sadly the search function does not allow you to limit decades or limit pattern manufacturers, but you can stack terms in the search box.

Simplicity split neck sleeveless high waist maxi| Vogue gown without slit neck | Split front maxi (no empire waist) | Vogue deep V high waist maxi | Vogue slit neck halter
posted by crush at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

New Look 6864 has mix and match pieces that are really close:

This Vogue pattern has a lot of similar elements, the pleated skirt might be better if your fabric is more on the stiff side

This page has photos of the original dress, looking at that full length photo I think the vertical and horizontal striped parts might be printed on the fabric rather than separate pieces. (If you skipped making the stripes it would probably make it a lot easier to sew.)
posted by Poogle at 9:32 AM on February 22, 2018

There are a great many Pucci patterns in the wiki, but they will be rather expensive, if you can find a seller.
posted by crush at 9:37 AM on February 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, I was thinking Pucci or inspired by Pucci.
I had a dress like that, but in black. Unfortunately I have no idea where it is. I do know it was really simple. Is there a dress-maker in your town? Maybe they could help you with the cut.
posted by mumimor at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2018

Loving all of your suggestions and links. Thanks mefites :)
posted by watrlily at 4:53 PM on February 22, 2018

I just stumbled across this dress after reading this question earlier today. No split neck, but the pattern and colors reminded me a lot of the dress! Eshakti link
posted by purple_bird at 8:16 PM on February 22, 2018

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