I was going to be a good girl and wait till next month to buy this pattern when an email from Pattern Review popped into my inbox. Would I like a copy of the Joan Dress pattern to blog about? Are you guys reading my mind because I've currently staring at it with longing in my web browser. Yes, yes, please hook me up. So Deepika emailed me a digital copy and I banged the dress out in a week. What can I say, this baby was easy to put together, including that sassy collar.
Sew Over It project I didn't make any major changes to the pattern. This garment only has fitting adjustments and the sleeves/hem were lengthened a tad. Am I the only one that puts unhemmed muslins on and suddenly decides the final garment needs to be the same length? It's like once my brain has seen the garment at that length there's no going back to the drafted hem allowance. On this dress that meant adding 5/8" of length to the sleeves and 2" of length to the skirt. Oh and I did make one more change, I reduced the kick pleat high by about 5". It literally started right under my backside and while I do like extra walking room, no one needs to see the much of the back of my legs.
Fitting notes - This pattern has a lot of darts in it which usually makes fitting easier for me. For example my wide upper back adjustment creates a shoulder dart. In this case the pattern already has a dart there, so I only need to make the dart bigger when adding the extra width. For the most part I plugged in all my standard fitting adjustments and the dress fit great. There were two areas where I had to make extra adjustments, the bodice length and the sleeve width. The bodice length must be on the short side because I actually have a short torso and usually have to reduce the length of bodices. On this dress I lengthened it a 1/4" and probably should have gone for a full 1/2". Something I only really noticed when trying to keep a belt on that seam while taking pictures. As for the arms, those of you which sender ones will probably be fine with the sleeve width. But if you carry a bit of fluff on your upper arms like I do you might need to split the sleeve open to add extra width for bending your arms. On my dress I added a 1/2" along the whole sleeve width. I have this problem with some designers and not others, so it's more of a "second tier" adjustment for me. You'll see all the alterations listed in the regular place in the review if you're interested.
Warning non-sewing tangent ahead:
Gillian's better pictures project has given me a bit of a kick in the butt when it comes to my photo routine. This year it's felt like I've been going to the same 3 places and doing all my standard poses. Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially if you have to knock some blog photos out in a limited amount of time. Still I was in the mood to do something different this week and had a bit of fun choosing a new location in my favorite park. (The one that houses the white door patio and the rock wall. ) Over on this side of the park there is another lovely historic building which would be a great backdrop if it wasn't in full sun all morning. Drat. But this Sunday I noticed the walking path next to it had a fair amount of tree cover. Only problem, all that sunlight in the background messes with the camera's foreground brightness setting and I was coming out all dark. Nooo what's a girl who doesn't really know anything about photography to do? Answer - Mess around with random camera settings and accidentally stumble on a solution. I shoot with a Canon Rebel T5i and here's the settings that were used. After setting the camera to Creative Audio mode I hit the camera button so I can see the "backdrop" in my view finder. Then I hit the Q button to get the additional option menus.
I change Flash firing to "Off", Background to "Max blurred", Ambience based shots to "Brighter" and finally Effect to "Medium." All other settings were left at their default locations. This brightened up the foreground so that you could actually see me against the backlit background. Now if you're someone who does know someone who does know something about photography and has a better way to do this then fill me in. I would love to know.
(P.S. I thought some of you might like a photo of the dress without the hat and gloves to get an idea of how it would look in a more modern wardrobe.)
The Joan Dress from Sew Over It. PR offers all the Sew Over it Patterns as digital downloads and if you're a PR member, which I am, you can get a nice little 10% discount. I often go that route when it comes to UK based patterns so that the "Paying for shipping money" can become "buying fabric money."
I sewed a 12/14 combo but easily could have sewn a straight 12. I found the lower half to be plenty roomy.
All fabrics were rather old purchases that have been lurking in my stash.
Gray/metallic silver/lycra wool suiting, originally from Emmaonesock.com
Poly acetate lining, origially from GorgeousFabrics.com
1. Lengthened bodice 1/4".
2. Dropped front dart 1" and increased back dart intake by 1".
3. Added standard 1/2" wide upper back adjustment.
4. Dropped armholes 1/2".
5. Made 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment to the bodice shoulder and the sleeve cap
6. Split the sleeve down the middle and widened it by 1/2"
7. Lengthened skirt by 2".
8. Increased back skirt dart by 1" to match the bodice.
9. Cut down kick pleat length by 5".
- The lycra and metallic content of the fabric made pressing a bit of a challenge especially in the collar area.
I got around this by spritzing the collar with water, then folding it over and holding it with small binder clips. The collar was left to dry overnight and then removed the clips. Essentially I wet set that sucker.
- Instead of hemming the skirt and lining as one I kept them separate. This was more of a personal preference in construction issue. Doing it the way described in the directions will give you a prettier finish on the kick pleat.
- The metallic fibers in the wool really seem to show A Lot of drag lines. Other than the bodice length I do think the fit of this garment is correct and most of the lines are just from posing. I did put a non-stretch lining in a stretch woven shell which could be a source of some of the problems. Need to add some stretch linings to the stash in the future.
"You look like you should be in a black and white movie. Swinging your curves around the pool hall...or maybe courthouse."
My Final Thoughts
I'm grandfather clausing this pattern into my FESA list since it wasn't released when the list was drafted. Otherwise I would have put this on the top of the Fall sewing list. Something about Fall weather just makes me want to sew sexy wiggle dresses. Meow!
Pattern Review provided me this pattern free of charge for a blog post. Which means you got to see it this month instead of in November because I was making this baby no matter what.