It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad Christmas!

Myself and Mom, in front of the family Christmas Tree.

Before I post about the fantabulous costume-related gifts the wonderful people in my life got me for Christmas, I will report on That Mad Christmas Dress.

It turned out great!  I made it in a total of about 3 afternoons, with some noodlings on the zipper, the hooks, and an interior tape.  It’s made from a gold brocade with metallic threads woven in, lined in unbleached muslin, and worn over a short quilted petticoat (I didn’t bother with the net this time).

“Mmmm, Sausage Rolls!”

The bodice fit like a glove through the waist, which proved to be pretty uncomfortable after sausage rolls, Scotch eggs, date bread, prime rib, green beans, ambrosia, one crescent roll, ham, potatoes, more green beans, carrots, and entirely too much New York cheesecake, plus a plethora of Christmas candies of various sorts.

I’m happy with this dress, though I did discover a mistake – when I transferred the draped muslin pieces to paper, I added seam allowance, mindlessly, to the center front, where I intended it to be cut on the fold, which added an additional 1″ to the front, causing the shoulders to set further out than intended, and a little extra fabric to puff out near the armpits.  I’ve since cut that darn seam allowance off the pattern and will not have the same problem next time!

The back  – I love the deep “V” of early 60s cocktail dresses.  This photo was taken later-in-the-day.  Can you tell?  The hair came down, the shoes flattened, lol.

I do plan to make additional versions of this dress – one with a straight/pencil skirt, and a different shape to the back and maybe a higher neckline in front.  That’s the glory of simple yet effective mid-century shapes!

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday and will have a great New Years too! Merry Christmas!! Happy Boxing Day!


  • Lauren Stowell

    December 27, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Thank you! Robin, I hope the style comes back too! It should, especially with "Mad Men" being so popular. It's maybe a dangerous thing for the mainstream fashion industry to play with "The 60s," as many people have a different view of how "The 60s" should look – it was a fascinating decade full of such a wide range of fashion, from this sort of cocktail dress to plastic mini skirts to hippies and tie dye. Scary, lol!

  • Agnes

    December 29, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    Trouble with the 60's is you really have 2 distinct fashion groups happening at the same time. You have the style you have made here with form fitting bodices and then you have the loose fitting styles that are often seen as mini-dresses with tights. This style you made is really a hold over of the 1950's style very slightly modified. The Mini skirt and tights, the loose fitting shifts and later the empire waist line are all part of the later 60s. I wish we didn't define American 20th century style by decade as it does not change exactly with each new zero year.

  • Lauren Stowell

    December 29, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    Agnes, you're completely right. This dress really is a hold over from the 50s. We do define periods of dress on the zero-year when it usually takes at least 5 years for the new fashions to make it into mainstream. The Sears Catalog books are a great example of this.

  • Anonymous

    January 9, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    A bit late, but this dress is absolutely beautiful and really suits you! I have a similar pattern sitting waiting to be used and some pretty pink brocade – you've inspired me to dig it out!

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