Hot! The “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Loosely knit cotton from Vintage Fashion Expo – $13.75 for 2 3/4 yards
Pattern: Simplicity 1356 from eBay – ~$2
Notions: Vintage red buttons $0.50
Year: c. 1945
Time to complete: About 6 hours
First worn: March 2010
Wear again? Not without making alterations.

Total: $16.25

I have to believe that this dress is my punishment for not keeping to my 1940s dress hiatus. As the title says, I don’t want to talk about it. But I will.

This dress had such promise. I thought the pattern was really cute and I really liked the striped fabric I got at the expo. I had been wanting to do a striped bodice on the bias to get a chevron thing going on and it turned out really well. And then I made the rest of the dress.

There is so much I hate about this dress, let me count the ways:

  • The length is too short because I didn’t have enough fabric
  • The cuffed sleeves are a disaster, both in construction and in concept
  • The stripes are just too much
  • It’s totally unflattering and makes me (and my big arms) look like I’m to start a brawl
  • It had so much potential

What’s especially disappointing about this dress is that I made two dresses last week — one was another failure and I didn’t bother posting about it.

I’m going to chop the cuffed sleeves off of this one and just go sleeveless. I can’t do anything about the length, but with the sleeves gone, I’ll have one less thing to complain about.

UPDATE: I modified the dress and wrote about it here

Did I mentioned I don’t want to talk about it?

Oh, and I didn’t do my hair since I got it colored this morning.



Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. Saddest picture of you ever. You’re not even pretending to be happy about it.

  2. That’s me holding back the tears. :)

  3. Aww, it looks super good on the dressform! But the sleeves are not very flattering with the stripes when on :( Aside from the sleeves though, I think its very cute and salvageable :) Maybe for some extra inches you would get some black eyelet fabric and make a faux petticoat peaking out, and maybe some cap sleeves of the same fabric on top? I’m photoshop or doodle that idea at least…

  4. I also hate when future projects have such potential in my daydreams, but the finished garment disappoints! If the stripes feel like too much, maybe turn it into a skirt to tone it down? The striped fabric itself is very cute with the red belt. Plus, you may be able to gain some length when cutting it down into a skirt… Don’t let the less-than-perfect projects get you down!

  5. Carla said almost exactly what I was going to say. I think a faux petticoat might be very cute and it would be easy to remove if you still just hated it.

  6. I think that if you got rid of the sleeves, it would actually be really nice.

  7. Awww. But you know what? We want to know about your failures as much as your successes. It makes your sewing journey much more real and much more interesting.

  8. I think I would chop off the sleeves and the bottom half and sew on a black or solid color bottom add a belt and poof cute dress. :)

  9. I agree, get rid o the sleeves, I wonder if you can add a black ruffle to the bottom to add length? I’m always taking away length, being the short one, so not too sure how things will look … but maybe you can cut the bodice off and add a black longer skirt, but use the stripes as trim on that?
    Don’t worry though, you’re making terrific stuff!

  10. I agree it would look better sleeveless, it seems like maybe it’s too big for you in the upper bust and you could still adjust that by taking out the sleeves. I think the length is ok, though I totally understand if you don’t think so. I don’t think a ruffle or lacy petticoat would go with those stripes – if you want to add length I think a contrasting band at the bottom would be really cute.

  11. You just don’t like it because it’s different from what you typically wear/make.
    I think you look very nice in sleeves AND that the length is very flattering. You don’t look exceptionally tall (this coming from a short person), so shorter skirts (within reason) give you a little more leg.
    aside from the faulty cuffs….it’s lovely.

  12. Ok, there is no way in heck I would waste matching up those stripes so artfully wwithout giving this dress another chance. Chop off the offending sleeves (they offend me too) add the black to the bottom, also maybe a black belt instead of the red one. This will work out! I also think removing those sleeves will bring the focus back to your face and will lift your up body visually-taller looking is what I am trying to say. Yep, your going to look HOT!

  13. After your title and description I was expecting so much worse. I think it’s nice but it could use some adjustment. Changing the sleeves is the most important. Once you’ve done that you can reassess. The chevron is great and you don’t want to waste all that work. The stripes are very flattering.

  14. I think chopping off the sleeves is a good way to go – those really are a whole lot! Great job on the chevron, and perhaps if the weather permits, a cardigan (belted on top) would tame the stripe a little?

  15. Yep, take off those sleeves. With a wide black belt and matching shoes (I’m seeing cork wedges with black fabric uppers – amp up that 70s/40s vibe) you’ll see a world of difference. Also – a shorter-length necklace. The one that you’ve got on is draping on the chevron, which is lovely.

  16. I think the dress is salvagable. I agree that a black belt would really work better. But yes, those cuffs need to go.
    The length looks perfect to me though; this coming from a fellow shorty. I would not add on to the bottom of the skirt at all.

  17. i like it! trade you?
    i have a dress i made from a 1950’s pattern that just doesn’t fit me right.

  18. You could just wear a cute little cardigan after you chop off the sleeves then maybe add a few inches with a solid fabric or do the eyelet fabric at the bottom that was previously mentioned. Otherwise, it’s totally cute and can be salvaged.

  19. While I don’t like the sleeves, I think the length is good on you. Cutting off the sleeves may improve it tremendously. I love the chevron detail, maybe the skirt in a contrasting color, or black next time. Good luck:)

  20. Awww!! I’m so sorry you don’t like it! When I saw the pic of the dress on the dress form I thought it looked pretty bad, but I think it is actually cute on you!!!! The length is definitely pushing it, but maybe a cute eyelet on the bottom?
    I also had a question, where do you find such amazing belts? They look so good with your dresses!

  21. I like the idea of chopping the sleeves and putting a little black at the hem. You are a really good seamstress and have encouraged me to try making clothes for myself again. All I’ve done is sew for other people and make window treatments. From a woman who has been sewing for 42 years, thanks for the inspiration.

  22. I think this dress is really cute! Love the chevrons and I think the length will be fine once it gets to be summer months. I think it will look great sleeveless too!

  23. Fantastic!! Without the sleeves it’s a whole different look. Great job salvaging.

  24. Don’t feel too bad. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made some horrible ones and then spent even more time trying to fix them. You could take off the sleeves and add a solid color band at the bottom to make it longer- maybe a red one, twice as wide as your belt. I agree the pattern had a lot of potential. Disappointing, but you are helping to teach and inspire a lot of people by sharing your journey.