Hot! “It is Not a Mumu” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: Vintage Rayon – $14.50  for 3 yards from eBay
Pattern: Advance Pattern 3673 – $5 Alameda Antique Fair
Year: c. 1945
Time to complete:
About 3 hours 
First worn: June 2010

Wear again? Yes. 

This pattern has been on queue as my “next project” since I started sewing last year. I’ve been putting it off because I couldn’t really imagine a scenario in which I didn’t look like a formless blob in it. Last week — the night before work — I didn’t have the energy for zippers or buttons or really anything that required me to be precise. And because I’ve been feeling a bit blah about my body lately, I was in a mumu sort of mood. 

The vintage fabric was from eBay. The seller wrote in the description that “it reminds me of the type of dress fabric my Grandmother wore in the 1950’s.” I couldn’t tell if that was a positive or negative. As I made this dress and tried it on, I couldn’t help thinking of this messed-up joke: Question: “What’s the difference between an Italian grandmother and an elephant?” Answer: “50 pounds and the black dress.” Apologies to all Italian grandmothers out there. Oh, heck, apologies to everyone out there. Believe me, hearing that joke repeating in your head as you sew is quite annoying.

The dress really is a mumu because I skipped the step to create the waistband enclosure. It was late at night and I figured a belt would suffice. And since I made the ties, I can always add them in the future.

Offensive Italian grandmother jokes aside, it actually does remind me of a housedress that an Italian grandmother or mother (like my own Italian grandmother) might have worn in the 1940s or 1950s. 

I don’t really think that’s a bad thing.



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. It looks fab! YOu should be super proud of your self!

  2. I think it looks great! Especially with those shoes – love them.

  3. I think you look great! And it seems like a good hot as hell summer dress. i can see what you mean with the Italian grandmother thing though. i am fortunately/unfortunately the kind of person who likes that look being a premature italian nonna myself! I do love the print and the colors of the fabric. I have never bought fabric on ebay before. i know many have but something scares me about that. Got any tips or pointers about what you look for?

  4. Comfy and pretty, the best combination!

  5. I think it’s super pretty and I love your belt.

  6. Lovely!

  7. Belted, it’s a far cry from a mumu! I think you look lovely! Very pretty dress!

  8. you look great, it’s a gorgeous dress! Italians have the best style IMO, and Italian mamas, nonnas, mafia widows… all my favourites!

  9. Lovely. If all Italian grandmothers would look like that, in a dress like that, I’d want to become Italian when I’m becoming a grandmother ;-) You look stunning!

  10. I like it, and the shoes too!

  11. Yeah, like a hot mama Sophia Loren kind of Italian mama! And she is still one hot mama at 75! You look lovely and cool, but you always look great.

  12. I actually really like this dress, and I think you look great in it!

  13. I like it! You can see my muu muu dress here at I actually found the pattern hiding in the maternity section at Lanetz

  14. It, and you, look adorable.

  15. Everyone deserves a break once in awhile, although I admit, I’m amazed it took you this long. If I had to sew something every week, I would own many many elasticized garments and little else.
    Looks pretty good to me, for a muumuu.

  16. That dress is fabulous, and looks great on you! I want one! Will be looking out for a similar pattern. :)

  17. Lovely! I have my own Nona dress – the Simplicity 2591 in a drab grey (my first dress that I have actually finished) that I seem to wear when I am about to do housework. As I pass by a mirror or see my reflection in the windows as I am out in the garden all I see is my Grandmother. You dress is far far from that. I was inspired to see that there may be hope with the 2591 and may try again with more colourful fabric (an old sheet which has its own story) and hope for the best.

  18. Beautiful! Love the dress, belt and shoes – you look fantastic!