The “Hey, Baby!” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: approx 2 metres of lightweight, semi-sheer synthetic of some sort, on sale for $3/metre; approx 2 metres of navy lining, on sale for $1/metre
Notions: 1cm wide elastic around the waist, ~$0.50; 2 metres of red ribbon, ~$1.80
Pattern: Simplicity 2891
Year: 1959
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: for these photos
Wear again? yes, in another couple of months

Total cost: ~$10.30

This week’s Sew Weekly challenge is ‘Mad Men’ – to make something inspired by the wardrobe on the Mad Men TV series.

Now, I must admit something slightly shocking here. I’ve never watched an episode of Mad Men. Yes, it’s true. *hangs head in shame* I’ve been meaning to watch it for ages but, well, I kind of forget about that thing called a TV. One day soon I’m going to have to play catch-up and get it on DVD to watch, if only because a lot of the sewing blogging world seems to be incredibly enamored of it, so I need to see what it’s all about.

So, never having watched Mad Men, I went diligently searching the interwebs for inspiration. And here’s what I came up with – an amalgamation of various different styles (click on the images to go to the source).


I love the style of this dress. The scooped neckline, the flowing skirt, the little sleeves.


The contrast ribbon around an empire waistline adds such a nice touch, don’t you think? Feminine without being too over-the-top.


One thing I noticed while browsing lots (and lots, and then some more) of Mad Men outfit photos was that there seems to be a lot of blue floral. And, since I didn’t have any red floral in my stash to faithfully recreate that red dress up above, blue floral was the next logical choice.

Three inspiration photos, and I couldn’t decide which to use, so I went with a combination of them all. The neckline, sleeves, and general silhouette of the red dress, with a contrast ribbon like the white dress, and in blue floral like many of the others.

Now, I must admit, this dress took quite a bit longer to make than I was expecting. The fabric is quite sheer, and I decided to try a new trick and fully underline each piece with navy lining before sewing it all together, so the seams wouldn’t show between the layers. This worked quite well, but it did take a while. The one area that didn’t work so well was the hem – stitching up the underlining and dress shell at the same time resulted in a wavier hem than I would have liked. Next time I’ll be a bit more patient and stitch it up by hand. I’m even considering unpicking this hem and re-doing it, just so I don’t scowl at it every time I see it.

There was a bit of debate about which colour ribbon to use at the waist line – red or navy? I bought both (and even did the little hand-stitched carriers at the waist, just like the pattern told me to – I was very proud of myself for that!) so I can switch them out as I feel like it. Or even use a narrow standard belt instead, if I’m that way inclined one day.

(I’m a little bit sad about the photos – I carefully finished this in time for our trip down South last week, and waited until we were staying in the Catlins so I could have photos in an old fashioned cottage and in gorgeous scenery. And Steve just wasn’t in the photo mood, so basic standing-ouside-boringly photos are all we have, without view or cottage. *sigh* Best laid plans, and all that. One of these days I need to invest in tripod and enough bravery to take my own photos…. But at least there’s some flowers in the background, right?)

Yes, I admit it. This dress is rather voluminous. It feels a bit like wearing a floaty floral sack. It’s rather odd wearing an empire waistline, when I’m used to waists actually at my natural waist. What can I say? Natural waist things just don’t fit so well these days.

Wanna know why?

Yep, that’s a 14 week baby bump, right there. ;-) (Which makes this my first “proper” maternity dress.)

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23 responses to “The “Hey, Baby!” Dress

  1. Squeee! Congratulations!

  2. Ooomygoossshhh! Super Congrats to you both! how exciting!!!

  3. Congratulations, I was wondering why so big until I got to the end of your post LOL. That lace dress Betty wears would be great for you too!

    • Thanks :-) (I’m considering making a dress like that one of Betty’s in a darker colour. It looks so cute on her!)

  4. Yay! Congratulations Kat. How lovely…. oh and the dress is so lovely too!!! Gonna be the best dressed baby in town for sure! :-)

  5. Pingback: Simplicity 2891 « Patterns patterns patterns

  6. Congratulations!! Wonderful news! And good job for working in a Mad Men challenge and maternity wear. :)

    • Heh, thanks. :-) It took me quite a lot of searching for images online to find something I could work with for the challenge!

  7. Awwww how exciting – Congratulations!! :) xx

  8. You know I was reading this and thinking…..that looks a whole bunch like a maternity dress….did she mean to do that? I guess you did!! Congrats Kat:D

  9. “Hey Baby” indeed :-) I am so happy for you (Can you see me jumping up & down and clapping my hands?? ‘Cause I am) Sweeeeeet. See you Sunday

  10. Oh my god I’m do excited for you guys! It’s nearly midnight as I read this, and I want to wake James up to tell him! I have heaps of friends back home that have had babies, or are pregnant, but I’ve been over here (or before that in England) so I’ve never had a friend get preggers and grow before my eyes! So excited!

  11. So happy for you two! Very exciting times. Can you email me your postal addy. cos I have that bundle of groovey 60s etc maternity patterns and I really need to stop buying them now that my shop is shut! xx

  12. ! congratulations! you tell steve anything you want GOES. for like, nine months. that includes cottage photos :)

  13. Claire Gibbons

    Yay! Love the bump :)

  14. Nice! And great dress as well by the way ;)

  15. Pingback: Great Southern Lands (part 4) – the Catlins | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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