Hot! The Joan Holloway Inspired Valentine’s Day Dress

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? (after sleeping on it overnight, yes)
Total price: $37?

Pattern used:

I greatly dislike Valentine’s Day, but I love the color red and I’ll do 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. I also changed the vent backs on the skirt and sewed it straight since I again was very close to not finishing this project on time.

I didn’t tweak the sleeves because I didn’t want to sacrifice mobility but if I were to make this again I’d make the short sleeved version or adjust the fit of the sleeves. Despite that this dress definitely has a very Mad Men vibe to it.

I cheated on the back by removing the back vent, but I have no problems walking around in it.

I wouldn’t have done anything with the tropical wool though if it weren’t for this project. The dress is comfortable to wear and after sleeping on it overnight, I definitely like it.



Janice has been sewing her own clothes for the past few years and enjoys sewing from vintage patterns, especially the 40s, 50s and 60s.


Comments are closed.

  1. Glad you woke up and decided you would wear it again, the cut looks perfect, and you look amazing in red. RED HOT!!

  2. Janice, it’s beautiful! you MUST wear it again!

  3. Me likes a lot. Well executed and very flattering.

  4. I like the lines of this dress and that particular shade of red gives a classy, not flashy feel. I like it a lot.

  5. Hey Janice, love the red dress, it looks great on you. Did you see Gertie’s mention of underarm gussets? It looked like a great way to achieve a close fitting sleeve with out giving up mobility. Here’s the link…

  6. It looks lovely on you, very Mad Men indeed!

  7. Ooh, keep on wearing this! I love the brooch & necklace, too.