sewing like a mad woman

Behold!  The fruits of my procrastinatory labors.


currently #1 on my shitlist? our camera’s self timer.

This dress was a long time coming.  Once upon a time while perusing sewing blogs on the internet years ago, I saw a brief mention and screencap of one of Peggy’s dresses from Mad Men.  I immediately became obsessed with the idea of the blue dress with the red pleats tucked in and sort of hidden away.  When I gained more confidence with my sewing (and also bought Simplicity 1873) I realized that hey – I could maybe actually make that myself.


This was yet another project where I went to bed one night thinking everything was hunky-dory and then woke up the next morning with my first thought being “oh god I have made a terrible mistake.”  I cut out the fabric for the bodice at 2 AM (dumb) and of course cut out the wrong bodice for the dress view (dumb dumb) I wanted to sew (pretty sure I’ve done this before and I just haven’t learned my lesson). In order to have enough for the skirt, I couldn’t re-cut the bodice so my dreams of a faithful replication of Peggy’s dress were out the window before I even really got started on the project. Womp. This turned out to be okay because the amount of fabric I had left for the skirt was not long enough to make it 1950’s appropriate. Double womp.


quality assurance cat

I cut a circle skirt out of the navy and then sliced out some chunks to make the red pleats.  While we’re on the topic of the circle skirt, I have to say that I had my fair share of screwups with that part too.  Embarrassingly, I went to a state-funded high school specially geared for the maths and sciences.  Obviously the whole science thing worked out with me in medical school, but I frequently feel ashamed that taxpayer dollars funded my education in mathematics, which I apparently squandered to the extent that I do not know enough geometry to plan a circle skirt.  Oops.  Anyway, I eventually got it figured out enough to piece the thing together. I  am not exactly pleased with the spacing and location of the pleats (I wish they were closer to the center), but I don’t think I’d be able to make it better so that’s that. The inside of the skirt is finished with French seams – not because I’m fancy, but because this awful fabric is just determined to fray.


Highly conveniently, I sewed about half this thing before I started following Julia Bobbin and realized she had a Mad Men sewing challenge going on right this second.


Sewing bloopers aside, I still finished this in time to wear it to the premiere party for a show David worked on – Chicagoland!  It’s on CNN starting 6 March at 9p central time. WATCH IT. It’s so good (and I’m not just saying that because I like him).



      1. i am a huge advocate of just diving in with a dress. that’s what my mom had me do when she gave me a sewing machine a few years ago. there were definitely some tears, and bad words, and a lot of wondering why the heck i started, but i think that with sewing throwing yourself into the deep end and then slowly learning how to swim out is the way to go 😛

    1. ahh the avocado!! we took an old green sweatshirt that had a hole in it and cut the fabric from the back. we glued it to the back of the avocado with hot glue. we left some space for the head obviously, but made it snug enough that no elastic was necessary. hope this helped! (:

      1. Hi Ellie!
        Ahh so was there no hard backing to the avocado? as in something to make the shell of it so it was just the sweatshirt material stretched to fit it to cardboard? Currently attempting to make this for an upcoming costume party 🙂 Thanks for the response!

      2. yep, no backing! we kind of procrastinated on making the costume and didn’t feel like rushing through making a big papier-mache shell. the sweatshirt wasn’t stretched tight over the empty avocado, but with the head in it it was pretty snug.

      3. Hey Ellie!
        Just thought I’d show you my avocado costume I ended up wearing on Saturday!

        Thanks so much for your help again, I ended up taking a super cheat method since I didn’t have a hot glue gun and stapled the fabric to the cardboard which worked out quite well 😀

  1. Hi Ellie! You made a fabulous dress! A Peggy dress that is chic and current! And a little flirty I see, LOL! I love a good twirl too! I may have to make this dress too! Something about navy and red that I never tire of.

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