My Peggy Olsen inspired ‘Reneta’

I love Mad Men, I still watch it on a continuous loop, usually when I’m sewing. The wardrobe has been an endless source of fascination and inspiration. It’s easy to be drawn towards a specific characters sense of style, there’s Joan’s bombshell wiggle dresses, Betty’s classic understated chic, but for me though it’s all about Peggy. There’s many Peggy dresses I would love in my wardrobe but I’ve been particularly obsessed with the cowl necked Damson number for years.

At SewBrum in October I set myself a mission to find the perfect fabric for my own version. Possibilities arose in Barry’s but they were either too purple or too red. There was nothing on the Rag market (I think the reason I bought so little fabric at was because I was so intent on finding ‘the one’) I prepared myself for disappointment but struck gold at Guthrie and Ghani, hiding under the cutting table was the holy grail, one of their Luxury Jerseys (A blend of Silk and Model) the colour was spot on, it draped beautifully and was so soft, it really lived up to its name.

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I used the cowl version of the Sewaholic Renfrew  which I planned to morph into the Colette Moneta skirt. I was initially going to be good and make a muslin but in the end decided to live dangerously and dive straight in (my justification was that I knew both patterns fitted, it was just a matter of how to fudge them together)

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Renfrew in red Moneta in green

The cowl on the Renfrew is quite deep, I wanted to get as close to my inspiration as possible so I raised the neckline by 2 inches and shortened the cowl accordingly. There’s a big difference between the two patterns, particularly around the shoulders and armscye. The best course of action was to keep things simple so I used the Renfew until the bottom of the armscye (sleeves and cuffs included) then measured the length of the Moneta bodice and drafted that onto the bottom half. The skirt was all Moneta.

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It came together without a hitch, there’s quite a bit of weight to the fabric and I was worried it may pull the skirt down as it did on my last Monetas. Just in case I shortened the elastic in the waist seam to keep it snug. When I tried it on it fitted but I felt something was lacking. I’d contemplated attaching a waistband during construction but decided there was far too much chance of making a mess and ruining the whole thing. Instead I made a tube of fabric, gathered it at the side and l hand stitched it to the waist at three inch intervals to allow for stretch.

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(This is the third outfit taken on my windy day photo shoot!)

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 (I’ve just noticed that I hadn’t pressed the hem after sewing!)

It actually turned out better than I’d imagined, the gathered waistband really balances out the drape of the cowl. The fabric feels lovely to wear, very cosy and perfect for the colder weather. Unfortunately I don’t have a cardigan that works with it (I could really do with a black one but it would be so boring to knit) it does need something to break up the large expanse of boob though! I’ll definitely make another but not until the Autumn as my head is full of Spring sewing, I expect yours is too!

Helen x

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Two Liberty Jersey Monetas

A quick catch up post with these two Colette Monetas. They were the first things I made after finishing my Coat and were the perfect palate cleansing instant sewification I needed. Both fabrics were bargain Liberty seconds from eBay. The blue is quite fine and very stretchy but has a lot of weight to it, the grey is slightly thicker but with a similar weight.

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I made both of them up the same as my last Moneta, cutting a large. I had to take the skirt off the blue one and shorten the bodice as the weight of the skirt was pulling it down a fair bit. I took an inch off the grey too for the same reason. I sewed them up mainly on my overlocker and just twin needled the hem and neckline on my regular machine. It’s been nearly two months since I finished these and they have been well worn. They’re perfect secret pyjamas for pottering around the house, paired with leggings and a cardie. I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and they must have been washed a dozen times before but they look just as good as when I first made them. It just shows that although Liberty jersey is expensive it really does stand up to repeated wearing and washing. I still have one more piece in my stash, a heavier weight grey/blue/black print, there’s a couple of possible patterns but I don’t want to commit until I’m sure of a match.

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I’m still enjoying sewing without a plan. The dress I’m working on at the moment is a copy of one Peggy wore on Mad Men which I’ve been wanting to make for a couple of years. There’s been a bit of frankenpatterning and tweaking going on but I’ve got high hopes for it. If I can get it finished this weekend I’ll be happy. Then it’s just a matter of looking through my stash and seeing where inspiration takes me for my next project!