Joan Dress (well, kinda…)

Oh, where do the best laid plans go? While pink-eye ravaged my household since last week, I found the time being in short supply here… I had to scale down my grandiose plans for Julia Bobbin’s  Mad Men Dress Challenge and work on Joan dress only, instead of Joan’s and Megan’s, as I was planning to sew earlier.


Since I decided to get in the challenge so close to the deadline, I’ve decided to make the dress out of knit fabric, because I anticipated a lot of fitting issues and I thought knit would be more forgivable. Also, I happened to have some yummy chocolate brown double knit in my stash. I am sure that the dress in knit turned out way better than woven would have, but still there were issues that I should have addressed. Of course I realize all that now, that the dress is finished… Oh well…

I’m wearing the sunglasses not because of the sun, but because I do not want to gross anybody out with this pink-eye…

Essentially, I started with a t-shirt pattern, I simply added 10 inches to the length. I nipped in the waist just slightly, made a small side slit (just in case I have to chase the offspring when I wear the dress), added the collar  and “ties” at the back, and added narrow cuffs at the sleeves and turned them up. And made the belt.


There were many “firsts” with this dress. I drafted the collar and the ties, which was fun. I really wanted to duplicate the look of Joan’s collar, and I think I succeeded somewhat. Considering that I made a collar only once before when I was sewing a pirate shirt for my hubby, I am not displeased with this effort. I also made my own belt. I had no idea how easy and fun it was to make your own belt, including the belt-buckle!


Another “first” was doing a swayback adjustment. The fabric pooling at the back is the reason why I cannot wear any RTW dresses (unless they are wraps or knitted), I was really shocked when I discovered that I needed to take off 4 inches from the back… And now when I look at the pictures I realize I should have taken off more! And since we’re talking about “shoudda’s”, there’s the issue of much needed darts in the bust area, but i thought that I was being crazy wanting to put bust darts in a t-shirt…

Sometimes it surprises me how much I like to cut some corners, but I go waaaaaaaaaaay beyond whatever is needed with another thing. For example, I decided that I did not want to fit the bust, but I absolutely did not want the  machine stitching to be showing on the hem. I just knew it would look awful, and my machine did not like sewing this material at all. So I hand-hemmed it. Misplaced my thimble, poked through my sewing callus on the middle finger, bled all over the place, but the hem is just beyond words… It’s just so beautiful!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I was sewing I did a lot of pondering about this and that. I came to realize that Joan Holloway and I are not so different after all. With a huge small difference: she is the girl that is willing to go all the way and give 100% to make things happen. I am the girl who gives 75%, as illustrated by this dress. So I raise my glass to you Joannie, and to me, hoping that some day soon I can give maybe 85%! At least in the sewing department…


9 thoughts on “Joan Dress (well, kinda…)

  1. Thank you Catja for your kind words! I am thinking I owe it to Joan to make another version, this time no cutting corners. I just love her wardrobe so much!

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