McCall’s 4994: The Joan Holloway Inspired Anti-Valentine’s Day Dress

Front view.

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Front view, #2.

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I found this Trifari brooch at the thrift store down the street. This is one of my favorite brooches that seems to go with everything.

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Pattern used.

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I’ve been watching a lot of Mad Men lately, which has definitely inspired styling some outfits and a lot of what I’ve been sewing. I finished this last week for the Sew Weekly challenge and only had a chance to post about it now here.

The Facts

Fabric: Tropical wool, $12/yd, 60″
Pattern: McCall’s 4994
Year: 1959
Notions: Invisible zipper, $1
Time to complete: 20+ hours. I made a muslin of the bodice first, but after that maybe 8 hours.
First worn: I haven’t worn this yet.
Wear again? If I can get over the weird sleeves, yes.
Total price: $37

I greatly dislike Valentine’s Day, but anything for Sew Weekly.

I had some five yards of red tropical wool that was languishing in my closet since my failed Lady Grey sew-along, so I decided to make McCall’s 4994 in red. I made a muslin of the bodice first. I lowered the neckline about one inch and adjusted the waist.

The sleeves are my least favorite part about this project. They look strangely bunchy and I didn’t tweak the sleeves because I didn’t want to sacrifice mobility.

I got over all of my insecurities and wore it to work last week. I got some comments that it was “very Jackie O” so I suppose it’s a reluctant success.

Edit: After further perfectionist reflection, I’m going to have to fix those bunchy sleeves. Ugh.

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Pattern review:

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Probably. I didn’t read the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the kimono sleeves.

Fabric used: Tropical wool that I’ve been hoarding for the failed Lady Grey sew along

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The top could stand to be more fitted. The sleeves are really bunchy and actually bother me a lot.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I’ll be making this again at least one more time (maybe more once I perfect the fit). It came together very easily and would do just fine if the sleeves were adjusted.

12 thoughts on “McCall’s 4994: The Joan Holloway Inspired Anti-Valentine’s Day Dress

  1. Great dress! I think the bodice might need a little length removed between the shoulder and the bottom of the armscye, but I’m not sure if it’s just how you’re posing in the photos. When you stand straight is there any poufiness?

    I love this color on you!

  2. Pingback: McCall’s 4994, circa 1959 «

  3. No you’re right, the sleeves are very very bunchy and need some length removed. The muslin I was using was not drapy enough and I didn’t catch this issue during the muslin phase, but it totally needs adjusting. Thank you for your advice! :)

  4. I love this color on you, and the brooch is great, really pretty. I’m sorry about the sleeves, though they look fine in the photos! I hope you perfect this pattern, it’s a great style for you.

  5. It’s OK, the sleeves need a lot of help. I haven’t given up hope yet, I think I’ll be able to adjust the sleeves for this one yet.

  6. I just started reading your blog. and I love the clothes you make!
    The color suites you beautifully.

    Do you have hilp with fitting the dress on you?

  7. Pingback: McCall’s 4994: Adjustments | She's in Fashion

  8. Thank you so much, Anthea! I think I have a lot of learning to do though.

    No, I live alone with my cat and Bean isn’t much of a help. :) I do my fittings by myself with my dressform and lots of pins and patience.

  9. Haha, I know its hard to do the fitting all by yourself. I have done that myself as well. But luckily my boyfriend is willing to help me nowadays.

  10. Pingback: Mad Men Challenge: Are You In? | She's in Fashion

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