Mad Men Inspiration

The final season on Mad Men is almost upon us, the UK air date is tomorrow and I’m equally excited and sad, it’s bittersweet to know it won’t be gracing our screens after these final few episodes play out.

To say Mad Men has been a great influence on the patterns I pick and fabrics I choose would be an understatement.  I have always loved vintage fashions but being a (now retired) burlesque performer meant that I was more inclined to dress 50s/rockabilly than anything else. After a while it lost its appeal, dressing up in that way for a second job meant that it felt more like putting a uniform on than wearing 50s fashions for fun.

So when I discovered Mad Men, and devoured the first three seasons in a matter of weeks, I found something I loved much more than the Jessica Rabbit style 50s attire that a lot of burlesque performers wear the late 50s/early 60s look that I adore; classy enough for work, sassy enough for a night out.

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise when I say Joan is my absolute favourite style wise; whenever I look at a pattern I often think WWJD? I like the use of block bold colours that they use in her wardrobe with little feminine touches along the way to soften the structured almost armour like shapes of her clothing.

So where to start when you’re thinking about creating a Mad Man inspired outfit? Gathering images is the best way to start. I set up a pinterest board a while ago where I collect Mad Men stills or Mad Men inspired images which I like the look of.

Mad Men Pinterest

I then source vintage patterns from Etsy, Ebay and various other online places checking them against the images to see if they can be adapted and styled into an outfit from the stills, or I find patterns that are of a similar ilk to the show’s costuming and I find material that fits in with the period and put something together that even if it wasn’t actually on the show it certainly could be.

Some of the Mad Men inspired garments I have made are listed in my previous posts, but here are a few snapshots:

Simplicity 4675 simplicity 4980

This is my most recent and my own take on Joanie’s green blouse:


So put your feet up, tune into Sky Atlantic and enjoy the feast for your eyes that is the final season of Mad Men, and remember, even thought it may be finishing your sewing adventures are not! I can’t wait to see what gorgeous garments there are to drool over.

12 thoughts on “Mad Men Inspiration

  1. Love this! The green shirt is great and I love the dress with the ruffle! I was going to make a similar one last week but haven’t had the time yet. You did so great.

  2. I love all of these! Joan is also my favorite– we have very similar figures and height, so her style (on and off the show) is so inspiring. By the way, have you used any of the Vintage Vogue patterns? I have a lot of them and love them, also the Butterick Retro line.

    1. I have got some but I havent used them yet, I’ve heard that some of the fit isn’t great on some so although they’re on my list I’m in no rush! how have you found them sizing wise?

      1. I think they’re really not different than any other patterns– in other words, good measuring (of you and the pattern) is key. I find I can’t rely on standardization of sizing in patterns any more than in RTW. In general, I usually find that using a pattern one size bigger than I normally wear is a safe choice. Of course, the vintage styles tend to need more precise fitting than modern styles. Fortunately, many of the vintage ones come in multiple sizes!

        All that said, there are lots of contemporary patterns that can be styled as vintage– which you’re already doing!! I love all these looks, especially the green blouse!

      2. Thank you, I love it too, totally planning on making a few more of them, they’re great for work, especially in winter when it’s a little colder.

        Thanks for the info re the patterns, I’ve only really ever sewn from vintage ones so trying repro vintage ones is a little scary to me. And ease?! What is that about, if I hadn’t read a warning on a blog where someone had made Gertie’s capri pants up I would have made them far too big!

  3. I love the cranberry/crimson dress (the first of the ones you made in this post) with the brooch. Would you share the pattern? (pretty please)

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