It’s done! I won’t lie, it was touch and go for a while. Attaching the lining to the shell tested my patience to the limit and led to a brief ‘I will never sew again!’ moment. Thankfully sense prevailed and a few tugs-and-pulls later, things came together. So here she is – the finished product!
This pattern really challenged my (still developing) skills. As well as requiring a full lining, the dress also features my first ever kick pleat. So there was plenty here that was new for me. But I’ve always steered clear of choosing patterns on the basis of their level – I figured that sticking to ‘beginner’ or ‘advanced beginner’ patterns would not necessarily move my skills along as fast as I wanted. This strategy comes with its own set of challenges and I would say that the Joan dress was probably on the cusp of what I’m currently able to achieve. That said, I’m only 6ish months into my sewing journey, so I figure that’s not too shabby!
Anyway, let’s talk about the pattern! I decided from the outset that I wanted to invest in quality materials and use those exactly recommended. So I worked with a gorgeous red crepe and black lining fabric. These sewed up like a dream. Plus, I think the red works really well for that ’50s-era look. The pattern’s careful detailing – the tailored look achieved by the darts, plus the fabulous necktie – all enhance the vintage feel.
This is the first pattern that I’ve made from Sew Over It. It featured probably the clearest set of instructions that I’ve yet seen accompany a pattern, aided by a lot of great illustrations and diagrams. I had no problem following along and – for the first time – didn’t need to google/youtube anything for clarification. This makes me particularly happy given that I own 3 other Sew Over It patterns! The pattern also sizes perfectly. I graded out at the hips to accommodate my ample rear but had no problems with the fit at all. So you can be quite confident in the sizing chart given with the pattern.
I adore this dress. It’s got such a classy, but everyday, feel to it. And dressed up with a brooch (one of my Christmas brooches made an appearance!) or with a thin belt, it’s perfect!
So would I recommend this pattern? Absolutely. It’s simple to follow and produces a stunning dress. However, if you haven’t got any experience with lining, I would recommend either trying a simpler pattern first (I worked with Colette Pattern’s Beignet skirt as a preliminary exercise) or just be sure to take your time. But it’s well worth the effort. My Joan dress will next appear for my Valentine’s Day high-tea with my beau – the perfect garment for a day dedicated to love! Watch this space.