Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Pattern Testing: Sew Over It Joan Dress (and a giveaway!)

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

I have been super excited about sharing this dress with you since I made it a couple of months ago! When Sew Over It got in touch about testing their next pattern I said yes straight away. The Joan Dress (inspired by Mad Men's infamous Joan Holloway and her wiggle dresses) is an absolute stunner. It has some lovely design details like the elbow length sleeves, shoulder darts and neck tie; it nails that balance between vintage and wearable for me. Despite being a slight departure from my usual day to day style I'd had great previous experiences testing for them and just with their patterns in general so I decided it would be a great way to give a new look a whirl! The garment you see today is sewn up from the test version of the pattern so comments I make are based on that rather than the finished product. I feel like it's important to say that I think Sew Over It value and use the feedback that they get from their testers in a great way. I've often seen changes to the finished pattern based on comments I've made and it's a really open process.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

For my dress I chose this bottle green wool blend from the Sew Over It online shop, which was kindly provided for me. It's got a bit of weight to it but isn't super heavy so worked out great for a winter dress with a bit of structure like this. I also think it would make a fab version of their Ultimate Pencil Skirt. I'm absolutely in love with this shade of green, there's something really festive about it! Unfortunately there's not a lot of room for festive eating in this dress so perhaps not a dress for Christmas Day but maybe the perfect outfit for mulled wine and mince pies?! Somebody stop me talking about Christmas already! Alex recommended choosing one of their great selection of rayon prints for a lining and she was right. I'd definitely consider using one of their rayons for lining again; it feels great against the skin and is super lightweight. I chose this monochrome print which I actually used at their summer party last year to make the lampshade which is now hanging in my bedroom! I love how it looks against that intense green and that it adds a bit of a excitement to the inside of the dress. I only used 1.9m of the wool and 1.5m of the lining as both fabrics were quite wide.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

Choosing a good lining is important for this design as it is fully lined and fits closely all over. One of the things I was most impressed about when following the construction instructions for this pattern is the amazing clean finish you get inside. It does involve a fair bit of hand sewing but I enjoy that. The lining is attached at the neckline, cuffs, centre back zip, kick pleat and hem so all your raw edges are concealed within. This means you don't need to finish your seam allowances at all but I did choose to pink just the wool as it was so prone to fraying. I particularly liked the way the lining was attached around the hem, which involved tacking the two raw edges together before folding up the hem as one. Such a lovely professional looking finish!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

I usually cut midway between the size 8 and 10 on Sew Over It patterns but looking at the ease in the finished garment measures and based on the fact that I've lost a bit of weight over the last few months I cut the straight size 8. It fit like an absolute glove when I finished it. Of course over the last month or so my weight has fluctuated ever so slightly again (I blame that stateside holiday!) and now it is verging on a bit too snug! Should have stuck to my usual. I think the ease is just about perfect for a wiggle dress if you go exactly by the measurement chart.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

I'm fairly lucky in that I think my proportions suit the Sew Over It block so fitting their patterns is generally super straightforward for me and in this instance I made no changes at all! It's a longer length than I usually like and is probably longer than intended on me (I'm 5ft3" for reference) but in this style I quite like it! The drafting throughout is really great, those sleeves went in so easily without a bump or pucker! It helped that the wool I was using responded really well to steam and therefore shaped beautifully.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

Pattern testing wise I didn't have many notes at all; I would have been very impressed if I had purchased the pattern as it was. I've already received my copy of the final pattern and could see that feedback had been taken on board again as some extra changes had been made since the testing stage; well thought out 'lengthen/shorten here' lines had been included and an extra notch added at the centre back of the hem to make trimming off the vent on one side of the back skirt piece even easier.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

As usual the instructions were really thorough and included some great tips such as pressing the darts in the lining the opposite direction to how they are pressed in the main fabric to reduce bulk. There's a couple of trickier construction steps where it would be possible to get in a bit of a tangle, particularly when you attach the lining to the vent at the back of the skirt. But if you take it slow and make use of the lovely illustrations it all comes together smoothly. It was a really enjoyable sewing experience; there's notches where you need notches and everything lined up for me first go.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Bottle Green Wool Sew Over It Joan Dress

!GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!
And the good news for you guys is that Sew Over It have kindly provided me with an extra copy of the paper pattern to give away to you! All you need to do to enter is follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin' if you don't already and leave a comment on this post. If you want to tell me about what kind of fabric you'd make Joan in if you won then feel free to include that too as I love to hear about other people's sewing plans! The giveaway is open internationally and please make sure to include your email address in your comment if it is not easily available in your blogger profile. The giveaway is open until midnight on Saturday 26th September and I will announce the winner here on Sunday 27th. Good Luck!
!GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!

81 comments:

  1. The dress is lovely as usual. I don't think the size 8 looks tight on you. This dress will be great through the fall season and to holiday parties.

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  2. When this pattern was released last week I wanted to order it so badly along with this teal crepe from the Sew Over It online shop http://shop.sewoverit.co.uk/collections/fabric-garment-joan-dress/products/copy-of-crepe-teal-rio and this lining (also from their shop!) http://shop.sewoverit.co.uk/collections/fabric-type-rayon/products/rayon-a-georgian-garden International shipping cost held me back, but I am still lusting after them! I think the teal crepe is actually the same crepe you worked with in another color way! carolannel.donovan@gmail.com

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  3. Oooo. Your version is gorgeous, what a lovely colour. I'm really drooling over this pattern.

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  4. I follow you on instagram!
    I have some lightweight patterned wool in yellow and grey that would be great in this dress, although I think Joan's dresses were mainly solids.
    Sheath dresses never fit me in stores, so I'd love to be able to make my own, although I may have to cut different sizes for top and bottom!

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  5. Love the dress and your choice of fabric. I might be biased as it is my favourite colour. ;)

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  6. I love the look of this dress and think it would make a great dress to wear to work over the winter. caroleknox@doctors.org.uk

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  7. Pretty! I would make the same as you, a wool version of this dress.

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  8. Oooo, that is a gorgeous dress on you! Really beautiful shade of green and a very well fitted dress. I've been eyeing this one up for a while, but was wondering about the lining, thanks for the explanation. Do you think the skirt is too fitted to put in-seam pockets into? Just for a key, credit card and phone, I have a terrible habit of leaving bags behind!

    If I were to make it I think I'd take your inspiration and use a wool base too. It seems to be but the kind of dress that calls for something really rich, so I think either this from Fabrics for Sale http://www.fabricsforsale.co.uk/fabrics/wool-fabrics/wool-red-fabric-3b044.html in that gorgeous burgundy (yes, I'm also thinking Christmas, argh!) or, if I was feeling brave, this amazing purple from Guthrie & Ghani http://www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk/shop/fabric/new-winter-fabrics/mcelroy-royal-purple-wool-blend-fabric

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  9. Beautiful! You've got me thinking about my Christmas outfit now... Would definitely use a rayon print for lining, love the contrast! Siobhancooke@btinternet.com

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  10. What a lovely dress! I guess I would make the dress exactly like you. I've been totally into green recently, maybe I would choose a lighter shade. And I absolutely adore the cute linen fabric. My E-mail is amelie.tbg [@] googlemail.com

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  11. Hello,
    Your dress is beautiful and I love the colour you have chosen. I too would use a wool blend to make a lovely autumn/winter version.
    p.s. I follow you on instagram

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  12. It's gorgeous! And the colour is perfect for this type of a dress. If I'd sew it, I'd pick a wool or cotton blend. Tiptopsewing@gmail.com

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  13. This is such a beautiful version of this dress! I absolutely love the colour on you so I'd be tempted to make it up in either a very similar wool or even in a deep red - it needs to be very snuggly I think! I follow you as redwsews on Instagram

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  14. I have no idea what fabric I'd use - maybe something patterned like a herringbone or a tweed.

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  15. This dress is lovely, a really good fit. I am tempted to try it as I think your size must be similar to mine (and height)! I'd like to try it in a rich navy or purple, probably a wool crepe...

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  16. Hi, I already follow you on bloglovin. I've been a big fan of your indie round up posts for a while now (thank you for doing that btw :)). Please count me in for the giveaway. I would love to make one in plaid. I think yours came out just beautifully. (jinxandgunner@gmail.com)

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  17. I love the Joan dress. Have no idea what fabric I'd make it with. Something snuggley

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  18. Awesome neckline. A dress to work or for a romantic dinner. Perfect. It seems to have an excellent fit as well I would love to make it.

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  19. Love the colour you picked for this dress. makes me very tempted to try as Sew Over It patterns actually seem to fit me! I'm big into charcoal at the moment so a fine wool in that colour I think.

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  20. This looks absolutely gorgeous on you! I like that it is so neat inside and I would love to make one for myself.
    I'm so glad this give away is open internationally :)
    Alles Liebe, Freja.
    frejasari /ät/ hotmail / de

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  21. Your dress is really beautiful! I just got my first Sewoverit pattern, the Anderson blouse, and I am looking forward to making it. I would love this dress pattern! I have followed you on Facebook.

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  22. wow that dress is gorgeous! I love your description of the balance between vintage and wearable. This is definitely something I would wear over during the festive season! I have the perfect fabric in my stach, a navy wool blend with a sparkly border.

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  23. Lovely dress Fiona, the lining is great! Think I'll use something warm and cosy - a wool crepe or lightweight tweed perhaps

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  24. This looks lovely on you, great colour. I spotted this fabric a few days ago when I was looking at what to make my ultimate pencil skirt out of, I think it would work well for that too. I would be tempted to make this out of a red wool for Christmas, just to be jolly. Though I would have to make sure I didn't eat too many mince pies or I might end up looking like Father Christmas! (thewardrobearchitect@gmail.com)

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  25. What a perfect winter dress, I'd have to make this in a wool tweed from my local fabric shop, either teal or pewter.

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  26. Oooooo ive been looking forward to seeing this pattern made up with a good review! It's so pretty *o*
    I'm not sure what I'd make it up in but you've definitely made an awesome case for wool! I've never sewn with wool before so it'd be an exciting challenge!!

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  27. Your Joan is gorgeous and looks really great on you ! It is not the kind of dress I'm used to wear, but it would be fantastic as an elegant little black dress :) Would be great to have a Joan in my new office handmade wardrobe !

    Thanks for this awesome giveway !

    Bisous de Paris !

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  28. I follow you on everything already ^.^
    because it's such a conservative kinda style I would love to make this up in some Nani Iro floral material and give it a really cute vibe and I'ld just use a plain lining because I don't want it being too much pattern...but I'ld probably freeze so I'll make another in some lovely plaid wool first :)

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  29. Love your dress! I would definitely want to make this for a Christmas dress, in a dark grey wool. Or maybe something with a little stretch, so the holiday food won't be a problem ;).

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  30. Oh it is lovely! I've been waiting so long for this to come out. I would make it up in a tartan fabric.

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  31. Gorgeous! You look lovely in it, I've just bought the pattern, on the look out for fabric...

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  32. What a fab dress. I really love that lining fabric, it's so cute! If I were to make this dress, I think I'd make it in a woolen fabric as well. At least that's what I'd do if I'd cut it out right now because the autumn chill is hitting me hard and I want everything in wool and blankets. I follow you on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

    My email: fooniksblog[at]gmail.com

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  33. What a great dress! I would love to make one in royal blue, I love how Joan's wardrobe is full of jewel tones.
    LadyxBec at hotmail dot com

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  34. Saw this on blog login. Stunning I would make up a plain colour too to show off the detail...but a teal shade rather than green for me

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  35. A very flattering style and I too love the green wool fabric. I am trying not to give in! Jennylarking at gmail dot com. Following on Bloglovin

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  36. So elegant in bottle green! If I won the pattern, as a fellow red head, I would honour Joan by making it in vibrant red to reflect the one she wore in the Christmas episode where she did the conga and Rodger said she looked like a Christmas present waiting to be unwrapped. (Probably a total misquote but that was the gist of the comment) If I worked really hard at my works in progress maybe I would even have it made by Christmas!

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  37. I'm loving that look, the neckline is a stunner, and you look fabulous! Please include me in the giveaway draw, I'd love a plaid version.

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  38. I love this dress! I have some purple and grey houndstooth wool-ish fabric which would be perfect!
    Great write up. X
    Aleeeece@gmail.com

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  39. Its gorgeous Fiona, it looks like it fits perfectly! I would make it up in a wool plaid for next winter :)

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  40. Beautiful dress! I would probably make one in a rich purple - my favorite color - with a fun lining of some sort. Wool like yours would make it nice and warm for winter holidays.
    bobbipiles1229 at yahoo dot com

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  41. Looks gorgeous Fiona!! Do you think a cotton sateen version would work? happylat@gmail.com

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  42. That's gorgeous! I found a beautiful midweight crepe, would look perfect.
    ladyangela at hotmail dot ca

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  43. I love the look of the pattern. Heading in summer here in Australia but I would definitely make it up next autumn. (ville.emma@gmail.com)

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  44. Beautiful, love the colour on you. I would definitely wear this style of dress and it would be perfect as for my autumn wardrobe. I follow you on twitter and subscribe by email.
    Iain.ross30 at gmail dot com

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  45. What a lovely dress!
    I could definitely go for the same colour and fabric as you have there, and then there was another green wool fabric that I really liked that would be suitable.
    I follow you on Bloglovin and Instgram.

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  46. It's a lovely pattern which went into my wishlist as soon as I saw it! You look very elegant in your dress.

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  47. Another great make - it looks amazing. I love the neckline of this dress - not quite so sure about a straight skirt for me! It does look like a great winter dress, though.

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  48. I'm just swooning over this dress. It is just perfect. I actually have some beautiful stretch fabric in a mystery blend in turquoise, that is screaming to be made into a joan dress!
    I follow you on bloglovin.
    retro-wren@hotmail.co.uk is my email.

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  49. I have some black wool crepe that have been lingering and it would be perfect for this, I have been longing for this pattern to be released for a long time now, it's an amazing dress and your look wonderful in that green.
    mail at docksjo dot com

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  50. Love the make! The colour is gorgeous on you and love the lining choice too!

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  51. It's a gorgeous dress, and great seeing it on someone with a less-dramatic-than-Christina-Hendricks-figure! I'd wondered how it would suit someone (like myself) less pear-shape-y... I think it would be fun to make up in a small houndstooth-patterened navy wool. I'd love to win the pattern and give it a go! I follow you on instagram (@rbjaneite)

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  52. Love this dress! It looks fabulous on you. Like you said, the length is slightly longer on you but it really suits you. It looked equally good as a mini on Lisa. I think I would like to make one up in a tartan wool mix.

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  53. So elegant and poised! I love the colour and texture of your fabric. This kind of green used to be my go-to colour for winter, but I think I'd mix things up for once and make it in a rich burgundy. Or maybe even a small-scale print?
    I follow you on Bloglovin :)

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  54. I really like the look of this pattern so I'd love to win a copy - in fact I've got some teal wool in my stash that would be perfect...

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  55. Gorgeous dress! I would love to make a dark red version. I can't wait to try this pattern.

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  56. I've been dying to get this pattern since I saw the class

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  57. Lovely job! I have some black double knit fabric that I think would go well with this dress... very classy look!
    I follow you on all social media outlets! afashionaddict1@gmail.com

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  58. Ooh your dress is just lovely! I think I would use a wool too since it would help give a smooth finish. I have a lovely black wool in my stash that would be awesome! Thanks so much for the giveaway :)

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  59. I just followed you on Instragram! I would love to make this dress up in a jewel tone or a vintage style color-flecked dark wool.

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  60. Love the dress! The colour you chose is one of my favourites at the moment. As I need more winter dresses, I'd go for wool too. Maybe I'd even be brave and make a red Joan.
    Meike (meikeschnitzler@gmail.com)

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  61. This is a really beautiful dress! And the fit is spot on. I used to have a navy wool dress that unfortunately became too big, so I'd love to make a navy version of Joan to replace it. Though with this talk of Christmas a bright red version would be awesome (maybe in a fabric with some stretch, to allow room for pudding ;-) ).
    Sewing_Dutch @ Gmail.com

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  62. great blog! I'm inspired to have a go ..

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  63. Hi fiona

    I'd love to win the pattern, it looks lovely and I think you suit this length very well! I'm shorter than you and often aim for just on the knee in lots of styles. Thanks for the great blog.
    Avril
    avril_corbett@yahoo.co.uk

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  64. Thanks for this giveaway! Your dress looks stunning ;) If I were to make it, I'd use a dark crepe, since this is my faaaavorite fabric

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  65. Beautiful dress, and it suits you so well! I think I'd like to try it in a solid-colored wool with a patterned neckline - really embrace the 60s vibe :)
    brigid.l.randolph(at)gmail(dot)com

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  66. Oh whoa. I love this! I made a wiggle dress from a vintage pattern in a black jacquard last year but a wool one for winter would be fab. I especially love the neck detail!

    (I follow you on Twitter and Instagram…)

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  67. Great dress on you. The colour is gorgeous. I think I would try this in a wool crepe or could you use a ponte?

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  68. What a stunning dress! I would also make a wool dress for winter. I inherited so much fabric that would match great with this pattern. Follow you on bloglovin. Nadja_schaefer@freenet.de

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  69. So pretty! I love the lining and the colour. I'd probably make it in wool as well for winter. Thanks for the giveaway! (following you on bloglovin)

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  70. I would use a burgundy wool blend fabric.

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  71. Lovely dress. Looks like another great pattern from sew over it. I follow you on bloglovin

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  72. What a stunning dress. The colour is amazing. I think I'd make this dress in a stretch cotton. Ideally navy polka dots. I just discovered your blog. It's great.

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  73. Love this pattern, though I think I would need it in so,etching with stretch in order to sit down! I follow you on bloglovin

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  74. Love the color.
    Follow you on bloglovin

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  75. Lovely. I've started following your blog on Bloglovin

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  76. Beautiful dress! It fits you well. I've never sewn shoulder darts before - that's an interesting detail.
    (For giveaway purposes, my email is jbirstler at gmail)

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!