Hot! The “Don’t Call Me Mommie Dearest” Outfit

Mommie-dearest-promo The Facts
Fabric: Dotted Swiss from JoAnn’s for $13.75 (2 1/2 yards) & Eyelet from Joann’s for $8.00 (1 1/2 yards)
Pattern: Simplicity 1297 for ~$1 from eBay
Notions: Vintage zipper for $0.05
Year: c. 1944
Time to complete: About 4 hours
First worn: April 2010
Wear again? Yes, worn on Easter and today at work. Definitely a keeper.

Most people who know me very well would guess that it was a lifelong dream of mine to dress up in matching dresses with my daughter. Truth is, I really don’t have that much of a desire to do that — in fact, I find it a bit creepy. I can’t help but think of Joan Crawford and her daughter Christina posing in front of their fireplace in their matching Dirndls (incidentally also from 1944). Anyone who has read or seen Mommie Dearest knows that certainly isn’t a mother-daughter dynamic that should be replicated. 

That said, leftover fabric from my own Easter dress beckoned to me when it came time to make Penelope’s dress. The pattern I used for my dress is actually part of a mother-daughter pattern set from Simplicity. Here’s the child’s version. I didn’t use that pattern because I had no intention to create a replica dress. Instead I just used my old Simplicity 3854 standby.

My own dress was a breeze to complete. The pattern pieces to the dress are minimal — one front, one back, the sides, straps and the band (I omitted the bows and the skirt band). There were no darts or gathers and no facing to do since the band and the straps fold over on themselves. 

I wasn’t diligent in trying the dress on while constructing it and didn’t realize the bodice was too big until I was almost done (I just needed to insert the zipper). So I had to take in the sides and adjust the band. The next time I make this dress, I’ll just be sure to make larger seam allowances.

The bolero was also incredibly easy. Although the pattern called for lining, I wanted to go for a semi see-through look with the eyelet. 

I played with using the bows and the second band but just couldn’t get into the buttons and bows cutesyness of it all. Perhaps if I was using a different, less feminine fabric, the bows and band would add to the look.



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.


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  1. Very sweet. Incidentally, I saw your fabric at Jo-Ann’s today when I was returning some thread.

  2. You look beautiful. And I have to say I don’t think I would go for matching outfits with my little girl very soon, but the two of you look very pretty together!

  3. I love it! Oh congrats on another darling dress!
    – Dottie

  4. Both dresses are so cute. How lucky your daughter is to have a mother who sews for her.

  5. What a pretty outfit! Cute photo too – your little girl is adorable!

  6. Love the dress! Your accessories (belt and bracelet) look fab with the bolero! really a great outfilt! Your daughter’s dress is SO ADORABLE!

  7. You two are just too sweet! And I love the hat too. Again I am incredibly jealous that you made this in just 4 hours. My schedule is more like 4 weeks these days and I have no excuse for it. I just get in a tight spot and then avoid the sewing room like it was college math all over again. But buying fabric…that is another story. Darned easy and too tempting–$50 yesterday. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

  8. Do you know how hard it is to find a bolero pattern these days? I am pretty handy at modifying patterns and i just need a basic idea of shape so that I can make one to go with my wedding dress!
    Love the outfit. =)

  9. My kids sometimes will call me mommie dearest and I say…noooooo. Don’t call me that. Seriously though-how do you find so much time to sew? You are amazing!

  10. That looks so fab and your hair always looks amazing too! your daughter is a darling, you look loveky together, mayching just enough to be charming without being OTT!

  11. You pulled it off! I agree on the creepy factor with matching moms-and-daughters, but somehow I am totally into knitting a sweater to match my husband’s for my boy. I think it’s partially the fact that it makes Seth roll his eyes repeatedly that makes me want to do it. Boy’s not here yet, so I’m procrastinating a little to see how big he’ll be before I decide how big to make the sweater.
    The true creepy factor these days, though, isn’t so much about the cute vintage-inspired dresses like yours and P’s, but more about moms wearing skinny jeans and trying to look 13 (or 18 or whatever) and 8-year-olds wearing the same thing… and trying to look 13 or 18 or whatever. Think it’s my own personal issues that make me fiercely want grown-ups to be grown-ups so kids can be kids!