The story of a dress
Food & Fun & Drink | 6 January 2012

The story of a dress

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One of the perks of working out of your home is getting to wear pajamas, although I love getting dressed up for business meetings. Actually I like getting dressed up for just about anything as my friends like to point out. In my fantasy, “going to the office” means entering the richly colored world of Mad Men. And in this world, every woman gets to be Joan P. Harris (nee Holloway).

Joan Holloway Mad Men dress

Let me take a moment to point out that as an avid Mad Men fan I realize that while there are many fashion highs for the female characters, they are often accompanied by career lows. Back to the wardrobe… the Mad Men era is my dream time period for fashion. Also, part of the fantasy is getting to have Christina Hendrick’s amazing body.

Butterick dress patternTo me, there is nothing greater than a fabulous dress and a pair of pumps. As an amateur seamstress (thanks to my BFF who taught me the basics), I love to make skirts and dresses. I found the perfect Joanie-inspired pattern from Butterick. The best part about the pattern is that it’s a “Fast & Easy” pattern – perfect for this somewhat impatient seamstress!

My favorite element of the dress is the collar option which definitely adds the vintage flair or “the Joanie element” as I will call it. The BFF and I set off to Philly’s Fabric Row located on South 4th Street which is chocked full of amazing textiles. Be careful while browsing as the price per yard of fabric in this area of this city is often a bit more expensive than what you might find in Jo-Ann’s.

I had to scan the fabric I ended up using for the dress (check it out below). I guess it’s a wool of some sort… I don’t really know! But it’s gorgeous. The blend of orange, yellow, pink and a bit of lime green makes for a fantastic palette. I didn’t cut the fabric for the longest time because I was nervous about screwing up… and because this was the most expensive fabric I’d ever worked with (about $30/yard).


And voilà! My very own Joan Holloway dress! What do you think? I love it! Now I just need a business meeting to attend…

Are you interested in learning to sew? It’s really not that difficult to get started. Decent sewing machines can cost about $150-200 (I have a Brother machine that I bought from Vogue, Butterick and McCall’s all carry great “easy” patterns that are perfect for beginners.

Spool on South Street offers a 2-session “Learn to Sew” class for only $52! All of the materials are included and you get to use their machines – what have you got to lose?

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