Thursday, March 29, 2012

Finished Project: Joan Dress

My Joan dress! (attempting to pose like Joan without consulting the inspiration picture first... blerg!)
Joan: my inspiration
Here's my finished Mad Men Challenge dress, inspired by the lovely Joan. I used a cotton stretch sateen from my stash and New Look 6968.

This project held a lot of firsts for me. To start, it was my first official sewing blog challenge...thing! I was so excited to participate. I've loved seeing everyone's projects progress and am SO EXCITED to see Julia's post rounding up all the entries!

full length shot - thanks, photographer Dad ;)
It was also my first time experimenting with lining. I had some trouble wrapping my head around how it all should work, but got a lot of help from some of you...which basically saved me (read the comments on my "Ides of March" post to check out the helpful tips)! So, a huge THANKS!!

Another first for me was constructing this type of collar, having only ever done a peter pan collar before. I feel okay about the way this turned out. I basically just followed the instructions and didn't alter any of the collar pieces, which I might try doing next time for a slightly different look. Mine didn't turn out exactly like Joan's but that's's called inspiration! I also decided to omit the gold colored brooch/fastener from my plan, even though Joan had one on her dress. I didn't think my dress needed it.
collar shot
My other 'first' was altering the sleeve pattern pieces by extending them by about two inches - not really complicated or anything. I wanted to go for a more '60s look and felt the cap sleeves prescribed by the pattern were just not it.

New Look 6968 with cap sleeves
Speaking of these sleeves...they were kind of the bane of my existence when it came to attaching them to the actual dress. After I'd gotten the bodice attached to the skirt and inserted the zipper, I tried the thing on and went about pining out the areas that were too big. Word to the wise, when you take off an inch or so from the side bodice seam and about half an inch from the shoulder seam, you've made your armholes that much smaller. As I'm sure you smarty pants have all guessed, this makes your sleeves just a little bit too big to "ease" (hah!) into the armhole. I fudged 'em a bit, but managed to get them in there, somehow. The stretch of the fabric helped make up for the sloppy job.

Anyway, next time I sew anything with set-in sleeves, I'm doing it this way.

I struggled with the lapped zipper a little bit, too. But, at this point, I'm not sweating it!

from the back
That's all, folks! Be sure to check out Julia's upcoming post of all the Mad Men Challenge entries. What fun!


  1. This is absolutely gorgeous! Great job!

    1. Thanks, girl! I'm glad I've finally finished it. :)

  2. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
    U look gorgeous! the dress looks very much like Joan's dress, u did a great job!!!!!

  3. You look fabulous -- and you totally captured the Joan dress vibe! Great color on you. Love your leopard heels too -- you outdid MM on that little detail. Congrats!

  4. It looks great! I'm not confident enough yet to sew with a solid fabric, because I'm afriad every little mistake will show - but yours looks really polished! I looks like the perfect dress for channelling either sexy Joan or hot librarian!

  5. Oh this is lovely - you've really captured the essence of dress and it looks fantastic on you.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous, I love it and you look wonderful in it! x

  7. Your dress came out terrific, and it looks great on you. Here's to a job well done.

  8. Great NL pattern choice for the inspiration dress.

  9. I think you would find that on a fitted sleeve and armhole, such as you have made on this dress, the under arm area will sit better, and look smoother, than a sleeve that is sewn in, using the flat method, in your link.
    If you sew something with a dropped shoulder, or something that is wider and less fitted, the crown of the sleeve will be smaller (flatter) and not so many gathers are needed to fit it into the armhole, and the flat method works very well for that type of garment.

    Your dress looks divine ! And you look beautiful in it! Good job with fitting it perfectly to your figure.

  10. Sue, this dress is stunning. great job !

  11. How cute is that!!!! Really, really sweet. You did a extra-great job!

  12. This dress turned out beautifully! You mimicked you inspiration dress incredibly well!

  13. I love this! It looks excellent, so flattering, well done!

  14. Love the dress, love the colour, it really suits you. The sleeves look fine. Great job!

    PS OpenID and Wordpress commenting don't work in your comments. You might want to install disqus so people can comment (and keep track of responses across platforms).

  15. Oh, it's wonderful! How fortunate that you found the right pattern. Very well done. Wasn't this a fun sew along?

  16. What a gorgeous dress. Wow! You did an awesome job on replicating it.

  17. This is so sophisticated and lovely!

  18. Hi I just found your blog today! I really like this dress, we made the same pattern for the mad men challenge!
    Love your Peony too


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