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1960s

The Joan Process dress

January 23, 2012

Hi! I am new to the site (though I was on the old Sew Retro site) and this is my first post. I sew clothes for me and my friends between working and uni and I am at least not quite as bad at it as I used to be!

I pretty much learned to sew so that I could make clothes that made me look like Joan from Mad Men (not a particularly original idea!). Although I have been sewing for over a year, this is my first real attempt at making a Joan dress.

I used Woman W400 as the pattern (though it got modified in most areas! I changed the neckline and sleeves, and omitted some skirt darts and the zip as my double knit was stretchy enough to not need them. The wide band round the bottom is a happy result of an accidental chopping too much off the bottom moment! (why did they always draw pattern envelope where the skirt appears 7 inches shorter than the pattern makes it?)

I drove myself slightly mad with this dress, as I seam ripped every single seam at least once, and the darts were a terribly nipply disaster for a long time! But now I love it! It is incredibly comfortable and I can wear it for anything! It does give a “I am Joan, mess with me at your peril” sense of empowerment too!

  1. Beautiful. Who doesn’t want a “Joanie” dress? And I am so impressed this is your first go at making a dress. You did a fantastic job. I hope it inspires you to make many more.

    1. Thanks honey, I have made one proper dress before, but it was much more straight-forward than this one! I do feel quite inspired, I had been in a bit of a rut and this has made me feel a lot better!

    1. Thanks! It did all come together beautifully (in the end!) And I’m really glad I didn’t have to tangle with a zip-although the double knit sewed like a dream so it would probably have been fine!

  2. Oh I’m so excited to see this dress – I’ve got that exact pattern and have been wandering what it would look like made up. Your version is absolutely gorgeous and you look wonderful in it! You’ve definitely inspired me to try the pattern, thanks. x

  3. This dress is perfect for you. The color is amazing and the fitting in the bust area is really good. I also like the sleeve length you chose, it’s very complimenting.

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