Joan dress: not so little, not so jumpy

Joan dress front view

When I first heard of the Joan Dress, by Sew Over It, the first thing that entered my head was a nursery rhyme I remembered as a child, from the Ladybird book of Nursery Rhymes. It went like this:

Here am I
Little jumping Joan
When nobody’s with me
I’m all alone

Not particular ground-breaking stuff but that poem coupled with this awesomely terrifying illustration has stayed with me ever since!

Little Jumping Joan

Clearly I wasn’t purely channelling Joan from Madmen !

I’ve been after a classic dress for some time and I do believe that this one totally fits the bill whilst still fuelling my lust for vintage.  I used a green wool crepe, underlined with a silk organza and fully lined with a gold lining, all from stash. I don’t usually happen to keep a supply of such luxurious fabrics, moreover it was reserved for another dress which I am still a bit too scared to attempt! But it has been hanging along for too long now and in any case saved me a trip to the shops!

The leaf-buckle belt I made is just the icing on the cake (whilst disguising the fractional misalignment of darts… shhh!):

close up of leaf buckle belt

Now I will let you into a little not-so-secret, secret. Fully underlining a dress (excepting the sleeves), especially if you’ve limited the ease, means you can’t jump, you can barely sit, nor eat, forget picking up anything you’ve just dropped or even attempting to zip up the last couple of inches… oh and sneezing is a no no for sure! Needless to say this is the first time and most probably the last time I will do this, unless of course I have no reason to attempt the latter.

Joan’s first outing was to the Foldline‘s launch party at Sew Over It, Islington where I met the lovely Lisa in person. Such a gorgeous shop and such a talented lady. I explained the issues I had created for myself and Lisa politely explained that silk organza is used in corsetry for just those holdy-in kind of reasons! So I had kind of corsetted my whole body! There were so many yummy snacks on the table and I just daren’t!

Joan Dress profile

There was, however, a method in my madness. I had made a dress in wool crepe once before – Vogue V8280 in fact – and I had only lined the skirt in a thin silk lining. Although the wool crepe fabric was good quality it creased like Billy-o every time I sat down. I also found it a bit too drapey on it’s own to hold any structure for a pencil skirt. And then I had a silk organza lightbulb moment.

I still stand by my reasonings for underlining the skirt. It worked and looks far better than the other one did but I would definitely need more ease in the top half if I were ever to underline a bodice again!

The whole process of underlining wasn’t as daunting as I’d previously thought. In fact I quite enjoyed it. I traced the pattern onto the silk organza pieces using an air erasable pen. The funny thing is, I did the tracing on one evening, forgetting the magic qualities of said pen and put the pieces to one side to be continued the following evening. Well you can guess the rest… doh!

air erasable pen

So after I’d retraced the pieces, I pinned and then basted the pieces to the wool crepe. Strangely satisfying! I also basted the darts which made for easy sewing of–!

underlining with silk organza

Basting done, I cut out the main fabric and sewed all the pieces as per instructions, which incidentally were very clear and concise.

I do so love the little neck-tie detail, making it all things Joanie. The little collar effect at the back of the neck too. I especially like how the wool crepe behaved for this. It was definitely the right fabric for the job. I am also in love with my zipper insertion! Nowadays I don’t even attempt an invisible zipper without my invisible zipper foot. Can you see my zipper? Can you? No? Oh jolly good! Boy does that please my tiny mind!!

Joan Dress back view

You may also notice that I made a pleat at the back rather than a slit. I’m not very ladylike when it comes to an open vent and nine times out of ten I will rip it. Nothing to do with me not being arsed to fathom the instructions at all… honest, guv!! 😉

Well, I’m guessing there may be a couple of comments regarding the shoes. Bought by Mr O of course. Another of his amazing, jealousy-fuelling qualities is that he adores shoe-shopping… for me! And he gets it right all the time. They are from Iron Fist and are the Sugar Hiccup, teal and black with glitter skull. I can’t actually walk in them very far, it may not surprise you to know. But they look darned good and they are a very lucky match for Joan!

Iron Fist shoes

And no, of course I didn’t manage to reach that leaf!

55 Replies to “Joan dress: not so little, not so jumpy”

  1. I think this is my favourite of your makes EVAH!!!! Absolutely beautiful sewing and beautiful you. I’ve underlined a dress in silk organza and can’t recall feeling really restricted, but it was quite fine and I do tend to leave quite a lot of ease. I just love that colour on you and that buckle. Swoon! I bet Lisa was dead impressed.

    1. You are too darned kind, Karen. Thank you so much. You were defo an inspiring force when it came to the underlining. I just need to allow more breathing room! xxx

  2. WOWZERS! *wolf whistles* lady tou have got it going on in this dress it’s beautiful! Such a gorgeous make and I love all the work that’s gone into it. Did you know most of Marilyn’s dresses were fully underlined. Including the pink one from how to marry a millionaire, which was underlined in billiard table fabric! Now that’s some serious structure. Also love ya shoes. Mr O is clearly a ruddy good egg 🙂 xxx

    1. Lol!! Thank you sooo much MD. And no, I didn’t know that. Lining with green baize?! Wowee. Now that would certainly hold one in… and keep the cold out for sure!! I’m off to investigate xxx

  3. GORGEOUS! It’s lovely Janene and you look smoking hot in it lady! I love the new colour on you – a bit of a departure but it totally works. This dress will definitely turn some heads! xx

    1. Thank you lovely. I must have a little thing about that colour as it matches my Ooobop logo! I bought 2 lots of black fabric today, just to set the balance right!! 😉

    1. Haha… I pretty much did work in that kind of environment in the 80s though fashion was a bit dodgy then! I may need some other shoes to do the sashaying bit. I walk in them much like I’ve got a bad back!

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! I love the structure the underlining gave it. I took a course with the couture teacher Susan Khalje and she underlines everything with organza.

  5. Having had the pleasure of seeing (and I believe fondling) this dress in person, I can confirm to anyone reading that yes, it is just as beautiful in real life! You’re a most talented fox, Janene…so inspiring!xx

  6. Brilliant dress, but my favourite part is the belt, really finishes it off beautifully! I love a pleated vent instead of a split, really adds a bit of vintage glamour. Lovely 🙂

  7. It’s a gorgeous dress, perfectly executed and those shoes…finding exactly the same color is not a small feat!
    I had similar issues with organza when I made my vogue 8648 dress. I even underlined the sleeves! A pity the Craftsy course I took didn’t tell you that!

  8. Mr O loves buying you shoes?! What?! And he has great taste! You lucky thing!
    In all seriousness though this is a stunning dress, it fits you beautifully and despite the practical problems the structure looks amazing. I love the process of creating something like this!

    1. Oh yes. I’m sure his dream job would be shoe shopping for women! He used to love clothes shopping for me too, back in the day!! 😉 Thank you so much lovely. It was indeed a lovely thing to work on. Really felt like I was doing things properly for a change! x

  9. Wow! This is stunning. The colour looks amazing on you and I love this belt and the pleat rather than the vent at the back of the skirt. Great idea – I’m always worried about tearing vents too. And those shoes!

  10. Wow! This is stunning. The colour looks amazing on you and I love this belt and the pleat rather than the vent at the back of the skirt. Great idea – I’m always worried about tearing vents too. And those shoes!

  11. What a lovely dress – I spotted immediately it is the same turquoise-green that you have used for your logo. It is so nice to see you in this colour – you look radiant.

    On the underlining – I have been using silk organza frequently as it is often specified on the old Vogue Paris Original patterns (and similar). You need to add just a smidgin of ease (like with a lining). It does add stability to everything so if you are already creating a skin tight outfit it will rule out the slight stretch you get from the fabric. I think a little bit more ease overall would have made the dress more comfortable to wear – in my view it is not the underlining that is to blame. And I agree the belt and buckle are stunning. What gorgeous work you do.

    1. Thank you Kate. I think you are absolutely right. It hasn’t put me off as I really did enjoy the whole process but I have learned that in this instance I can’t get away with my usual skimping on ease! 🙂

  12. This collar makes me always to stop and stare. And those shoes put a brilliant contemporary twist on the whole look. The color is such a treat. Having done myself fully lined sheath dress (wool crepe but with some stretch), I remember controlling my breezing as well. Truly beautiful.

  13. This dress looks amazing, but all of your dresses do! Classy all the way! I love the shoes too–could they be more perfect? I have a Christmas dress on my to-make list and I’m nervous because I have to line it. This is something that I haven’t done too much with great results.

  14. Your dress is simply amazing and as for your belt the buckle really sets off the dress, the whole outfit is amazing! Then we come to the pic of little jumping Joan, whom I’d so totally forgotten about until right now. So, thank you for a pint sized reminder of my childhood too…!

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