Making Mrs. Maisel’s Red Dress


I’m Morgan of MorganDonner.com and today
I’m going to share with you a little video on how I’m going to start making this
really beautiful dress from the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel show! There’s so many
beautiful outfits in it and one of the really striking ones is this red dress
that I think is one of the only dresses in the show that’s actually referenced
by name. It’s “You should wear that red dress!” There’s no pattern for
this dress, so I’m going to need to make my own. I did do some browsing of
historical 1950’s dress patterns and nothing quite hit what I was looking for,
so I’m going to go ahead and have to draft it — nope, drape it — myself. So I went and
got some cheap fabric to be my muslin. Any good like non-stretch fabric should
be just fine. Let’s take off her beautiful necklace here. Now it’s my
beautiful necklace! Now to drape the pattern, we’re going to need four pieces to stand in
as the four quarters of her outfit. Got my four pieces and those are going to go
draped on. I’m gonna start with the back just because in the show that’s the
easier of the pattern pieces. The dress definitely has a back zip. I’m going to
pin these two together and they are going to be my back seam. My back piece
is all pinned together and I want that to go into approximately the center back
of my mannequin here, which doesn’t actually quite line up with the seam
here — we should fix that some day! Just a couple pins to kind of hold
everything in place. I can already tell that I’m probably gonna want to bring in
the back just a little bit. Oh, don’t put pins in your mouth! Try and keep the
grain of the fabric going kind of up and down the body, which means that we now have a little bit of excess here. So we’re just
going to repin that part of the back. Ok! So now the the back is a little bit
tighter to the mannequin. Now here’s where we’re going to start to run into
issues with the fact that it’s longer than it needs to be. This is pretty good,
it helps smooth out some of those wrinkles that we’re trying to appear.
Let’s go ahead and do another one of those. I have a thing to hold my pins — I
wish I had a thing to hold my scissors, I need one of those work aprons! The dress that I’m copying, ‘the red dress’
does have a side seam right here. A really interesting thing about this dress, I
think, is that it does not seem to have an armscye seam. In all the footage
I saw, I didn’t see anything that hinted at there being a seam here. There’s even
a really good close-up shot where there’s a seam that goes from the
shoulder down the top of the arm and there’s pretty clearly no armscye seam
here. Then we’re going to pin our shoulder piece in place, and I can
cut off some of my excess on the side. Now the front is kind of
interesting too. There’s, you know, that slash across the body, like a
pseudo wrap front going on, and also this bodice, where there’s the bodice piece
here and then the shoulder strap, are not one piece! There is definitely a
seam right where that shoulder strap meets the bodice. But the problem is, we
get into kind of an enigma when it comes to under the arm, but we definitely have
two pieces for the shoulder/ sleeve and then the body. I’m going to pretend
I’m cutting just the shoulder strap and I’m not going to worry about — well, I
can’t just *not* worry about the body piece! Ok, I think I’m actually going to go ahead
and take a break, away from worrying about the upper sleeve area, because I think
I really want to get the bodice in place before I do too much worrying about
what’s going on up here. So we’ve got this relatively centered
and the dress definitely hugs the top of her bust and that’s the flat part where
there’s no darts or shaping. Everything else is based off of
that being nice and flat and even. ♪ Forming my darts, forming my darts! ♫ It’s a lot of making it up as I go along.
I think it’s time to start getting out our marking devices. So I’m just going
to kind of start tossing down some lines. That’s our center front, our cut out is kind of here. Now we’re starting to get into enigma/
witchcraft land. I’m not sure what happens beyond this point. That’s
where the dragons are. I don’t know what what’s going on, we’re gonna kind of have
to just start making it up. It goes out somehow to become a sleeve. You’ve
got your your bodice piece coming over here to meet the back, right? And in
theory you’ve got a waist seam somewhere down there. So I’m going to start
cutting away some of my excess here because I’ve just got too much and now I
just need to kind of insert a piece there. So do I have any fabric scraps
that are big enough….? Oh, no, because it needs to be a sleeve too! Ok,
take this big old piece here. Here’s where things start to get very….? I think
this actually might be too short for her sleeve, so I
might have to fix that. I’m just going to kind of add a piece to this.
Pin these together, and we’ll just pretend that the fabric continues! Ok, so this
is super rough but it’s a start! I’m ready to go ahead and start marking out
my finished “pattern pieces”. So I think we’ve got all of our
potential seam parts marked out so we’re going to go ahead and take this guy
off and take a look at it flat. That’s the front bodice piece, here’s the back
the shoulder … okay, I think I’ve got it! So before I forget, lets draw on it to
remember. So we’re going to up here say “shoulder” … this is what I should have done
while it was still on the mannequin. So I think what I’m actually gonna do is go
ahead and cut this. These scissors are noisy! I’ve got my pseudo pattern pieces
here but I want to do some alterations. Like for example, I want the sleeve here
to come out to the same length, right, if I sew this, my sleeve is not doing
what it should be doing here! So we’re going to start doing some of our
funny little pattern pieces! I’m going to just extend it a little
bit because once we do a drape of this, if it’s too long, we can just cut it off!
But for right now, let’s do it a little bit extra long and I’m actually going to
give myself some extra sleeve room here, again, if I need to cut this off, easy
peasy! Then this is kind of Mysteryland. I don’t actually know if I need this extra
or not. I’m going to call this … sleeve shoulder? This is such a weird part, I
don’t know what to name it! I’m not gonna name it “back”, it’s not the back! What
should we call it guys? This is the ‘dragon’ piece. There! I can get rid of my fabric pieces for
now. I should probably reclaim my pins. In theory, I shouldn’t need these pieces
anymore. Hello! So I’m going to do some quick
measuring of myself and compare it to my pattern before I fully commit to cutting
it out. ….puts us at a little over 15, that’s one half of my whole garment here,
15 plus 15 is 30, that’s pretty good! The bust might be a little bit small. I’m going to go
ahead and make this just every so slightly bigger. And I am going to X out that seam, that’s not where I want to cut. And I am going to do the same thing here, just slightly bigger. There we go! Oh, I should label
this one! This is the ‘front’. Let’s cut that out! It’s a good idea to mark out your seam
allowance before you cut out your fabric or your pattern! Let me go ahead and do
that now! The width of my measuring tape here is 5/8 so I’m gonna go ahead and
just make it 5/8 I went ahead and finished getting this
cut out — Oh no! Pin this into place, there we go, and now
I need to go find my dragon piece. I just got a delivery! New sewing foot! And so now I get to sew these together. Let me go ahead and pin my dart pieces
together. You know what this actually reminds me of? I
think it’s maybe Ariel’s outfit when she’s on land? That would be a cute cosplay!
Ok, so now our dragon piece, so ‘bust’ and this will eventually match up with here.
Oooo, that seems way too long! This feels like I have already discovered a mess up I
feel like there’s no way that this is supposed to be this long! I’m just gonna
pretend it’s gonna be okay, cause you know what? Maybe it will be okay. Time for some sewing! I’m using green thread today because I don’t want to change it. Since I decided to go ahead and
mark this whole pattern at 5/8ths (of an inch) we want to go ahead and give ourselves a
real easy line to follow. So this right here is the line that I was talking
about where it’s just not quite 5/8 So I wanted to go ahead and make myself a new
line so that I’m not sewing every single seam slightly too big. with my new sewing
guide in place I can go ahead and start sewing up! So, we’ve got our little bodice going on, I’m going to go ahead and iron down all the seam allowances. Alright, so, immediately we’ve got some
points of failure! The back, if I kind of snug everything in tight, while I was looking in the mirror looked okay, and
then like the bust pieces, if I line it up a little bit more with my waist, the
most isn’t too bad, although the dart could come up a little bit higher on me. But this is some shenanigans over here! My little chest cut out is just a little bit
too much. I think my big point of failure here, is how long this is. So I’m going to
toss a couple pins in it now. You remember, when I was drawing out the pattern?! I was like “Ugh’ that looks way too long” but I kind of just kept going. We’re doing better I don’t have a mirror in front of me, but this at least
feels a little closer than what it was when I first put it on. The seam looks mostly down the middle of my arm. The point of my bust of my
darts definitely needs to move over here, honestly this whole section here needs
to move inward on both of my pieces so what I should do to make that happen
it’s just add a little bit in the side seam here, which will then move
everything else inward. *Laughs* You guys don’t need to see this much of my
cleavage so we’re gonna need to pull that in a little bit. What am I gonna do
about bras? I do have several of the somewhat 1950’s style silhouette bras.
Every single one of them, that I have, has the cup of the bra coming up in a
triangle like this. So it actually has a relatively narrow sort of neckline. That doesn’t work! I think I remember seeing some over-wire bras, that would maybe do
the job. Basically, exactly the same way that my tank top is showing, all of the
vintage style bras I have are gonna show! I might be doing lots of browsing for
bras on the internet for the next week trying to find something that works,
because everything I own is either going to give me a very rounded silhouette and
I might just have to accept so that’s what it’s gonna be
and deal with it, or I can try and find something that’s a little bit more
pointed off. We’ll see. Alright, so I think I’m going to with that end video for right now and
this is going to be the first part of my attempt to make that Mrs. Maisel dress, “The
Red Dress” as they called it in the show and I hope that I will come up with some
good solutions for how to proceed especially with the
undergarment problem that we discussed and I’ll see you next time, have a great
day!

35 thoughts on “Making Mrs. Maisel’s Red Dress

  1. I love how real you are😂 I’ve never draped something and had it fit how it’s supposed to with the first mock-up. I’m excited to see how it turns out!😊

  2. Easier said then done with the pins, since my 2 yo daughter has started to watch me sew I've had to work really hard to break the habit… a tip for draping that I learned from school is to draw a grainline 1" away from the side of your salvage before starting to drape. 🙂

  3. The sleeve might be a kimono cap sleeve? They sometimes had a small gusset at the armpit for movement, but not always.

  4. I really liked watching you drape. I feel like most people say they draped a pattern but don’t explain how. So Being able to watch you figure it out too made the frustrating parts feel more universal.

  5. I just found your channel and have been marathoning all your videos. I love them! And you!! You are so funny!!! Also lots of exclamation points. Haha

  6. Oh my gosh wait did you post on Reddit?

    I think I commented on the sleeve patterning and whether there was a seam or not! I didn't know you have a YouTube channel. Subscribed!

  7. omg your dragonland comment made me giggle so hard I had to pause the video to recover! This is an awesome video

  8. Is it not maybe a idea to save some up and invest that in a mannequin that's totally adjustable to your body shape? Mind you, I have totally NO, sewing or anything else in this compartment , experience… but somehow I remember that this type of mannequins exist? If I am wrong… please ignore me and put me in a corner to be ashamed of myself 😶😲😂😉
    But what I wanted to say, I have mad respect for everybody who is skilled in this department!
    Really impressed and therefore my respect 👌 Wow… 😎👍

  9. Hi! A quick tip to save money! Unless you’re doing something totally one-sided or unusual (where you need two or more patterns for the sides that differ), you only need to drape one side: from the center front to center back. This way the extra fabric isn’t in the way and you save on fabric. (Sorry for being all professional and nagging!)

  10. Hey Morgan! I just made a video about dressing like Mrs Maisel and I included your red dress playlist in my video as a resource! You are so crafty!! I’m very impressed. 😊

  11. I watched this all the way thru to the final video.  I have sewn for 40 years & I am so glad to see that someone as great @ drafting patterns as you are – still struggles.  Really liked the part about no outfit is complete without dog hair!!   Definitely feel the same way!!

  12. I'm obsessed with your vids atm!! What is it the arm area called?! Arm sigh? Arm sign?! It's driving me crazy. You and Angela Clayton say it and for some reason I just can't figure it out!! X

  13. For anyone new to draping and nervous about it:

    My grandmother taught me (an extremely anxious human with intense OCD since the day I was born) how to drape using fabric scraps and a doll when I was a kid. Use scraps and practice on the doll. This doesn't waste a ton of fabric in case you make a mistake and it helps you get a feel for what you should be doing. You can get a confident feel for the order/process before moving on to the human garment. And if you mess up, you have some experience already on how to fix little mistakes without sacrificing the whole garment.

  14. My Lady Morgan, I currently hold in my hand Butterick number B6212; which has (believe it or not), the exact (EXACT!!) neckline as The Red Dress, and the cute extended slope cap sleeve as well! I feel that a true fan would be able to pass it thru the computer and into your happy little hand. I do apologize for my shortcomings.

  15. Hi Morgan, I realise this is far too late but the shoulder and arm construction remind me a lot of the Simplicity 1800 . I hope this helps anyone who attempts to make this dress.

  16. 'Don't put pins in your mouth'… uhm, I don't think I have a single pin, that has not at some point spent time between my lips xD how else am I supposed to sew?!

  17. for something similar to Mrs. Maisel check out Miss Phryne Fisher her murder mysteries are hilarious and the costumes are amazing

  18. On the bra problem: in the 50ies corsages or long bras were worn, made of more or less elastic material, often without or removable shoulder straps. It looked like this: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/c1/24/a7/c124a7333f6d455ae5b6f120e75d2336–vintage-girdle-retro-lingerie.jpg

  19. Actually, I looked for patterns on Etsy and found a commercial pattern that looks like the pattern that was probably used as reference for the mrs. Maisel dress

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