Hot! “Okay, This is a Mumu” Dress

Mumu2-promo The Facts
Fabric: Cotton from Joann's – 3 yards for $10
Pattern: Butterick 6009 – $4 from Alameda Antique Fair
Year: c. 1952
Time to complete:
About 2 1/2 hours 
First worn: July 2010
Wear again? Yes, with some alterations.

Oh, belted mumu, I should have quit while I was ahead. 

Pushing my luck, I had another go at a belted formless dress this week. This one is Butterick 6009 from around 1952. The fabric is another surprisingly darling Joann's find that was just too sheer for this dress. Thankfully, I do have some fabric left over and have plans for a nice shirt.

The success of this dress is dependent on a bunch of "ifs." If I make it a little bit shorter. If I line it or wear a better slip. If I wear a bra that gives me a whole lot of support. If I'm sure that the pockets aren't sticking out and make my hips look even larger. If I wore a more suitable belt. If I wore a petticoat as intended.

I've been a little burned out on sewing these past couple weeks so I chose just to wear it "as-is." Hence the leggings and the awkward length. I think the dress is salvageable with a big hemming job and more structured foundation garments. That is, if I want it to have more a vintage and put-together look.

If I want it to look like some ill-fitting dress I got from Forever 21 that gives me mumu-sized grandma breasts, I think it's a pretty successful garment.



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. oh i bought that fabric too with plans for a 40s style dress (butterick reissue B5209, the sleeved version) but it’s sooooo sheer and self-lining was above my level at the time. it’s in the UFO box. could you insert some bust-to-waist darts to shape it?

  2. I love reading your blog. I think you are brave. I love how you smile and wear the dress no matter how you feel about it, posting your favorites and not-so-favorites. And, I understand what you are saying about the dress, but you never look as bad as you think. :)

  3. Well, I think it looks great, especially with the leggings. I see nothing wrong with it as long as it is comfortable.
    I have a very similar dress and my biggest problem is also with wearing a bra. I would really have to wear a strapless bra because of the shoulder ties and I don’t find those comfortable and the one I have is way too constructed to be cool in the summer. But my fabric is so light it feels scandalous without something.

  4. Since it is so sheer I say cut it very short, call it a nightie. Lose the belt and some sexy undies and ta da!

  5. ADD sexy undies I meant–dang it!

  6. Yeah, make it into a nightgown! Don’t feel too bad. I can barely sew one thing a month. I don’t know how you do it!

  7. “mumu-sized grandma breasts” Now I know the term for a couple of shirtwaist dresses I bought!! Thanks.
    The dress doesnt look bad but I understand where you are coming from. I second the idea of some darts to tame the bodice into submission.

  8. I love this fabric! The term you used is my new favorite!!! (mumu sized grandma breasts) It makes or breaks a dress for me. I’m going through a similar situation with a dress I made that needs some serious overhauling. Goodluck, and thank you for posting something that isn’t perfect. It’s nice to see that everyone struggles with fit and shape. =D

  9. It doesn’t look that bad, but if you don’t love it as a dress I second the nightgown idea!
    The pattern’s so cute, the fabric seems perfect for the style, and yet somehow it doesn’t all work the way you want it, so disappointing. I suppose that’s how it goes with sewing, you win some, you lose some…

  10. A corselet might help for a foundation garment-and kinda vintage isn’t it? Or go with the nightgown idea and call it vintage “trousseau” garment instead!

  11. Ack! How have I been missing your blog updates?! Yikes… Apologies for not stopping by sooner and commenting on all your sewing. :p
    Anyway, I love the fabric of this dress! But I agree with you that another length might help things a bit. I admit, I’ve been a bit wary but drawn to this sort of style that seemed popular in the 50s (and my beloved Claire McCardell was a proponent of this style, one she dubbed the “monastic dress”). Sort of like a moth to flame, I guess. ;)
    ♥ Casey
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