Hot! The “Brocades in Vegas” Dresses

Brocades-promo The Facts
Fabric: Brocade from ~$5.85 for 3 yards (the $1.95 section)
Pattern: Simplicity 6028 – $.05
Year: c. 1965
Notions: none
Time to complete: ~3.5 hours
First worn: September 2010
Wear again? The perfect Vegas or cocktail dress.

Total Cost: ~$5.90

Fabric: Brocade from ~$5.85 for 3 yards (the $1.95 section)
Pattern: Simplicity 6219 – $.05
Year: c. 1965
Notions: Vintage zipper – $.005
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: September 2010
Wear again: The perfect Vegas or cocktail dress.

Total Cost: ~$5.90 

I like to think of these two dresses as sisters — sisters with a raspy smoker’s voice. They’ve seen Vegas, they’ve played and lost and now am happy to be home. As you can see from The Facts above, they’re almost completely identical. Both are brocades from patterns from 1965. They’re made with $1.95 per yard fabric found on and each took about 3 1/2 hours to complete. 

Despite all the sewing I still need to do for Gatsby, my husband and I and another couple decided to spend two nights in Vegas this past weekend. On Monday night (we were leaving Thursday afternoon), I put aside anything from the 1930s and traveled to the future — 1965. There’s nothing like a brocade dress to really feel like 1960s Vegas. 

A side note, completely unrelated to sewing. I’m going to sound like a grandmother right now, but seriously, do young women visiting Vegas have any respectability or class nowadays? Yes, I know the whole “whatever happened in Vegas stays in Vegas” thing is about partying hard and creating a persona possibly different from your real life self, but seriously, I have never seen such trashy outfits in my entire life! No seriously. Picture the skimpiest micro-mini you can possibly find. And now take it off! There were at least a dozen or two dozen women we saw that went out at night in nothing but their bras and panties and stilettos. And these weren’t prostitutes — these were girls having a night out with their BFFs. And here I am walking around like an extra from Mad Men. I’m usually self-conscious about how I look, but I can honestly say that I felt happy and pretty in my brocade burkas. 

Okay, back to these dresses. While they were both fairly easy to put together, the scalloped neckline on #6028 was a bit complicated since I didn’t use any interfacing to help form the scallops. Dress #6219 is basically made from two front pieces and two back pieces with some crazy dart action in the front bodice area. When I constructed it based on the directions, I had these little nipple buds that I haven’t seen since I was eleven. So the dart, was readjusted and placed below my breasts. Totally wrong interms of sewing, I know. However, on me, the darts blended in with the expected waistline.

I don’t have high quality photos of the dresses, but here are a few camera phone snaps to show you the dresses on a human body.



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. I hear you on the “what stays in Vegas” issue, but you look GORGEOUS! So classy. Maybe Montecarlo is ready for you?

  2. I’ve only been to Vegas once, for Viva Las Vegas, and spent a whole week in full dresses/high waisted pants. We stayed at the Orleans, where the weekender was, and you could slowly see the hotel being taken over by the “Rockabillies” as it got closer to Saturday. Saturday night I swear there was not a person staying in the hotel who didn’t wear vintage/repro or look like Elvis. It was amazing :) I have zero interest in the Strip or Vegas aside from VLV!

  3. I love these two dresses! I’ll have to check out the sale section of–those two fabrics are great! I always love your dresses!

  4. Beautiful! I love the scalloped neck on the floral dress. You look so chic in Venice, I mean, Vegas.

  5. Oh the yellow is my favorite but you look great in both. Reading this blog is so much fun and such inspiration. Not only are these two dresses cute but they look sewn exceptionally well. I bet you are noticing an increase in skill as you make each weeks new dress.
    Concerning Vegas, what a sad place that must be. I can’t imagine the problems and heartbreak people must have come across by buying in to the image of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” Everything we do in life effects someone or something in our life and nothing ever stays secret completely. And I am an old grandma so you can take that bit of wisdom from me. LOL

  6. Beautiful, both dresses. And you look stunning in them. I am sure all those women clothed in little to nothing wanted to look sexy and desirable, but I bet most people would think you looked a lot more sexy than all those trashy outfits combined!

  7. I LOVE both dresses. I am starting to develop a girl crush on you….you always look so cute and smiling ;-)

  8. The dresses are fabulous.
    You look darling in them.
    I’m sure you’ll be hearing from Mad Men casting!

  9. I love, LOVE both dresses and you look particularly stunning in the black one. Ever since I found your blog I’ve become obsessed with learning to sew — I don’t think this is the time for me to start, but I so enjoy living vicariously through you.

  10. Not only are the dresses gorgeous, but I love the way you styled them – the headbands are great!

  11. They (you) look great! Show ’em how it’s done!
    On another note, you’ve inspired me and I bought my first dress form on Craigslist yesterday. It’s a vintage “Sally Stitch”. Now to use it…. The woman I bought it from said her grandmother used to use it and it had “good juju.” :-)

  12. OK–that was flipping hilarious write up about young ladies in Vegas! I’d take Mad Men any day over pleather shoes with a see through heel.
    The dresses are so very lovely! And you have the gift of finding good stuff on Thanks for the inspiration to go back and rock

  13. These are beautiful – I’m willing to bet that you were a million times cuter in these dresses than all the underpants wearing, Lady Gaga clones combined!
    Thoroughly inspired to find Simplicity 6028 now…


    You are amazing, young lady! I am a big fan of your blog and share it with others. I’m in radio and even talked about you on the air one morning! I admire your style and talent!

  15. I’ve been following your blog and enjoying all your creations. I must comment and say how adorable you are! Loved you in the brocades. Will be LOLing all day at ‘brocade burka’. You are on a fun journey.

  16. You look stunning! I love the yellow one–neckline is perfect.

  17. Good for you!!! Sometimes I feel like an old school marm when I dress for the day or even the night out. I guess for me, and you and many others it’s about the clothing and not about how much of our bodies are spilling out all over the place. Now, I like to show a little cleavage sometimes, but gheesh! That’s so tame compared to the micro clothing on many women and even girls.
    Your dresses are lovely! I’m glad you took some time for your adult self and went to Vegas. And anyway, what’s more Vegas than Mad Men. It’s reminds me of the original Ocean’s 11 with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and the rest of the rat pack. Delicious fashions!!!

  18. Oh my! You look so glamorous and classy in those dresses! I just love the idea of dressing up (rather than trashy ;) to go out and have a night on the town!
    ♥ Casey
    blog |

  19. Ok, first time at your sewing site tho we did meet super briefly at BlogHer 08. Anyway, just spent 20 minutes clicking on the various pictures and there are so many pretty ones, but these two are just super extra lovely and flattering for your figure.
    Mary, mom to 10

  20. Yes, you should go to Monaco to the casinos there! I still don’t know how you make pretty dresses that look good on you in such a short amount of time!