Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! Disregarding the origins of this holiday as something of a corporate conspiracy, it’s nice to have a day that reminds us that love is just about the greatest thing we have to share with one another. So whether you’re celebrating or not, remember to give everything that you have to give. After all, we only have each other during our short time on this planet – so use your time to put joy, laughter, and love out into the world!

For my part, I love you all. Thanks for sharing this day – and my sewing journey – with me.

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My Valentine’s Day filled with tea, cake, and my Joan dress!

The Joan Dress

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.

New Project: The Joan Dress

Hello darlings!

After the success of the Belle Curve dress, I’ve been in a good sewing groove. With a few excellent patterns to choose from, I finally settled on Sew Over It’s fabulous Joan dress – a 1950s mad-men inspired dress.

Joan Dress Pattern

I decided to invest in some good quality fabric for this project so went online and got myself some gorgeous red crepe. I’m already about halfway through the make and it’s sewing up like a total dream. I’ve never worked with crepe and I’ll definitely be working with it again (although hopefully at a more reasonable price than I paid for this batch).

Part of the ease of sewing this up has been the amazing instructions provided with the pattern. Obviously, I’m only a few projects into my sewing passion, but I’ve yet to work with a pattern that is so detailed and clear. Fortunately, I also have a couple more patterns from Sew Over It, which I’ll be working on in a while!

Joan Dress Pattern2

I’ll be back soon with photos of the finished project!

As a side note, I highly recommend paying a visit to your local WHSmith (or wherever, obviously) and picking up a copy of the one-off magazine, Sew Vintage. My fiancé stumbled across it last week and I am so in love. Plus it came with two fantastic vintage repro patterns! Definitely grab a copy if you love vintage-inspired stitching.

Mag Patterns

Laura x