The Joan Wiggle Dress (Charm Patterns Patreon) Sweetheart Neck: All Sewn Up

After the success of the slash neck version of this dress, I decided what the heck, lets try out some crushed velvet and crack on. It was, after all, nearly my 15th wedding anniversary and I needed something special to wear on my date out with my wonderful other half.

First off, the fabric I bought was perfect but did have some glitter issues (read: gets absolutely everywhere – especially when pre-washing and cutting), but it was just so perfect and sparkly that I thought it was an opportunity not to be missed.

I hadn’t ever sewn anything in stretch velvet before so that was a bit of a learning curve and there were a few new things I learnt when I was making this version of the dress:

  • Stretch lining the bodice: something I hadn’t done before. I have lined  things, yes, but not with stretch lining. I am super glad that I did as I can now be safe in the knowledge that the neck won’t stretch put of shape over time and the added security of the elastic in the neckline keeps it the dress sitting nicely on my shoulders, rather then slipping off. The tutorial video Gertie provided was absolutely perfect for me learning this. (Anyone else a visual learner? This is one of the many reasons I love the Charm Patterns Patreon).
  • Velvet is so effing slippery: l ditched the pins as much as I could and changed to clips after a very frustrating time trying to get my notches lined up.
  • I did learn from my mistake with the sizing from last time though and I made the necessary adjustment to the pattern prior to cutting my fabric, although I did still have to take a further bit off the hips due to the additional stretch in the fabric.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to wear it out as our son wasn’t well, so we didn’t make it out for our anniversary date after all (don’t worry we scoffed a lovely takeaway) but I did get some pics.

I am so pleased with how it turned out, and our night out has been rearranged so I’ll be in it soon enough but for now it’s in my wardrobe in a cover (did I mentioned the glitter getting everywhere?), and it hasn’t put me off sewing with velvet…in fact next up on my sewing table is something I am planning to match with stretch leopard print velvet…

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The Joan Wiggle Dress (Charm Patterns Patreon) Slash Neck: All Sewn Up

I was over the moon when I first saw what Gertie had created for us for January’s Patreon release. If you have read my blog previously (over the years that Mad Men seasons were still being released -gah – way, way back in time) then you will know

a. how much I love Joan and

b. how obsessed with Mad Men I was (and to a certain extent still am).

The pattern came with two necklines, one the classic Joan office wear with a slash neck based on her iconic silhouette of the wiggle dress that hugs every curve, and the second a daring sweetheart neckline for those who dare to bare a little more.

Now, I have promised myself that as my sewing room/office is now all done and I am finally moved in that I will sew one garment a month at the minimum (more on that in a later blog) so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to jump right in. So off I went and purchased some pretty on the nose fabric for the slash neck top, because I really loved the way that cutting on the stripes made the chevron pattern on the bodice of the dress.

It didn’t take me long to cut and sew the top although the chevrons did need a little bit of unpicking (hello seam ripper, my old friend) after my first attempt, but holding my breath seemed to somehow magically work for the second attempt and I had some fantastic matching I was very happy with.

The top of the dress was incredibly high on my neck, so there was a certain amount of fiddling about to make sure that it sat in the right place. There was mention of this in both the video and the printed instructions so I was prepared.

The skirt was way too curvy on my hips, something I really should have measured for properly when I cut my pieces, I did feel like I should have graded between sizes but I just ignored the little voice. Thankfully I tried the skirt part on before I attached it to the bodice so I adjusted, took the skirt in, made the curve less prominent and re-sewed the skirt to ensure a better fit.

What I didn’t consider and what I feel like I should have done (can you tell who has had their sewing machine packed away for a year due to renovation?) was the weight of the skirt fabric which was heavier than the weight of the bodice fabric. Thankfully it wasn’t so much that there was additional drag or pull on it when it was all finished, but it’s definitely something I’ll think about in the future. Every sew is a learning possibility.

I was super excited to get it on and feel my inner Joanie – did I mentioned I’ve had a replica of her pen necklace for a good few years now? Nope, well, here it is and me in all its glory.

I am so super pleased with how this fantastic dress has turned out. A million thanks to the Charm Patterns crew and to Gertie for such a wonderful pattern to start the year with. I’ve been a subscriber since the Charm Patterns Patreon first started and I have to say this is hands down my a favourite pattern release. It’s always a special one at the beginning of the year and we get a little extra bang for our buck, and what a gloriously special pattern it is. What I love about it the most is the versatility, I will be wearing it to the office on my return in a couple of weeks and I can equally imagine wearing it out to a dinner date with friends.

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