Hot! The “Eat Local” Dress

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image from The Facts

Fabric: Fruit print Cotton from 1972 – $0.25 for 10 yards, thrifted
Patterns: Simplicity 3864, free from pattern swap!
Year: c. 1962
Notions: Invisible zipper, red piping – $.05
Time to complete: 3 1/2 hours
First worn: March 2011
Wear again? Yes! But I'm going to shorten it a bit first.

Total Cost: ~$0.30

With the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Mission, the Castro, Chinatown and Lombard Street (to name a few), San Francisco is not suffering in the landmarks department. However, with all of these sights, my inspiration comes from the treasure which I probably love the most about the City — it's Farmers markets and our ability to easily eat locally, organically and well.

During the week, there are at least a dozen markets taking place throughout the city. The biggest, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, has been our Saturday tradition for years. While it used to be our exclusive market, we now mix it up with our local (and walkable) market in our own neighborhood. My husband, the chef in our family, buys the bulk of his produce at the markets. I, on the other hand, eat at the farmers markets. In addition to selling produce and ingredients to take home, the markets offer prepared food from local vendors and restaurants. Nothing extraordinarily different from other markets across the country and globe — however, living in California has its perks. The diversity of produce makes our markets pretty amazing throughout the entire year.

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Now, onto my dress.

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In keeping with my Spring Palette, the fabric is full of bold, bright and edible-worthy primary colors. In case you can't tell from the first photograph, the red and yellow elements are cherries and strawberries. And, quite perfectly, they're surrounded by a table-cloth worthy blue gingham. The fabric was thrifted and for about a quarter, I got ten yards! And, even better the selvedge was copyrighted with a date: 1972! I absolutely love being able to pinpoint my fabric to a year. 

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I received the pattern at The Sew Weekly Swap/Meet from last weekend. I don't remember who brought this pattern to the swap, but thank you! As I said in The Facts section, I'm going to shorten the dress a couple inches. I didn't factor in that I wouldn't be wearing a petticoat and, as a result, is much longer than it should be. Once I get the hem length down I can see many versions of this dress in my future. 

The dress was easy to construct. I didn't start it until around 8:00am (the morning of the market) and finished it at about 11:30. I could have saved 30-45 minutes if I didn't pipe the collar, sleeves and waistline. I'm glad I added that detail since I think it makes the dress pop.

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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. great! loved the colors and the photos look awesome!
    thank you for the inspiration

  2. I’m glad you didn’t go for the obvious local colour :-) I remember you showing this fabric so it is nice to see what it has become. You are spot on about the piping.

  3. Really adorable dress, and the piping definitely adds the perfect touch. Love it!

  4. What a great challenge this week! Love your interpretation. Your dress and the backdrop are fabulous. Well done!

  5. Totally agree with Jen, spot on with the piping. It just gives it a total finished look!
    I love your photos! You look so cute and cheeky!

  6. Wow! 10 yards for a quarter! I really must come to San Fran! :-) The dress looks amazing…I adore the colors and the piping! Fantastic!

  7. Love the colors of the dress, the piping and the setting! I wished we had thrift shops for fabrics here and lovely markets like yours! And you are so blessed to have a husband who cooks for you:)

  8. Such a beautiful dress! You look lovely in it.

  9. Wonderful dress and I love you inspiration. With extra fabric I could see you making a matching dress for your little girl:)
    Farmer’s Markets are the best. We have one of the oldest markets in the country here in Carrboro, NC. On Wednesdays starting in the spring my girlfriends and I go to market together. We have the best time chatting with all the farmers and running in to all our friends (Carrboro is a small town:). Than we have coffee and sample some of the treats we found.
    Have a wonderful week.

  10. I love your dress, and what great inspiration. Your dress is so “happy”, and the red piping sets it off perfectly.

  11. Geez you look good Mena! Lovin everything about your creation this week. oh.. and heads up – I’ve taken some inspiration from one of your dresses for mine this week. It sort of happened without me realising lol! I’m sure you (and everyone else) will notice it straight away!

  12. Patricia Austin

    What an awesome Dress! I love the colors too! And . . . I also love the Ferry Market! I was visiting back in October for a wedding and fell in love with your city! Whoot Whoot! Going to the Ferry Market was a delight!!! Now . . . What shall I make this week???

  13. That fabric is so cute! And the piping really tops it off. 10 yards for a quarter – oh my!
    Really wanted to participate in this week’s challenge – and even had an idea – but it seems time is against me. I will live vicariously through everyone’s submissions :)

  14. I love it! The piping detail really adds an extra pop. You look great, Mena. :)

  15. It’s so fabulous! Such an easy dress to wear everyday too! I love the piping detail and the belt is just fabulous with the all over look. So bold and fun! Love it!

  16. I am in awe about almost everything in your post. 30 cents for a dress, 3 1/2 hours to complete(!!?), piping is not easy and it really adds to an already great dress. BTW I think the length is great and you look so cute in it. I love Farmer’s Markets and we have a few down my way but I am sure yours are great being where they are.

  17. I absolutely love it! The piping really does add that something special! Great call!

  18. Thank you for the inspiration- I will apply this to Philadelphia and see what I can come up with! Beautiful pictures~

  19. Yes, I love seeing what the raw materials become! Considering I have so much of this fabric leftover, I’m sure it’s going to have a life as something else. Who knows what it will be? I’m seeing a farmer’s market tote for sure.

  20. Thanks, Helen! I hope everyone has as much fun with this challenge as I did.

  21. Thanks, Veronica! This palette thing has been a really fun constraint.

  22. Thanks, Debi! Yeah, when you’re out here (you have to get out here!), we’ll hit up my shopping spots.

  23. Thanks, Adey! You inspired me to give piping a try. Yes, my husband is quite a cook. That’s his sewing.

  24. Thanks, Rebecca! I think a matching dress for Penelope is in order. I know she’d love it!! I think I may tackle that this week. :) The markets are such a wonderful place to hang out!

  25. Thanks, Debbie! It truly makes me feel happy wearing it!

  26. Thanks, Casey! Can’t wait to see what the inspiration is! I’m very curious since you live in Australia. Can’t wait to see.

  27. Thanks, Patricia! I’m glad you got a chance to visit the market. And in October! You probably got the treat of our two weeks of summer.

  28. You can always combine the inspiration with another challenge in the future! No rules here!

  29. Thanks, Sarah! Piping = Win.

  30. Thanks, Sunni! I’m wearing it again today. :)

  31. Thanks, Sue! Yeah, I’m often amazed that I can find such great bargains for such great fabrics! And this dress was rather easy to put together — I think when I’m crunched for time, I make sure that the pattern will be as straightforward as possible!

  32. Thanks, Michelle!

  33. Thanks, Maureen! You should have a lot of inspiration in Philadelphia!

  34. I love this dress SO MUCH!! What a perfect pattern/fabric combo!

  35. Ooooh, I love fruit prints! The dress is simple and sweet and so perfect for spring!

  36. Hi Mena,
    I absolutely love the dress.. and I love the red belt you added..Just made the dress..
    You amaze me with your fabric finds..It is so exciting.. I found a clearance table at my local wal mart today.. I found several fabrics for $1.00 and $1.25 a yard.. I was tooo excited…[I definitely didnt need any..but can’t resist the find.. so much fun!!]
    I have my challenge for this week, sewed up and all I need is buttons for it. and a picture.. Loved the challenge this many options..thankyou so much.. Having fun in Mississippi.. Judy

  37. I’m so impressed by how quickly you whipped this up! The fabric is so darling; I have a real weak spot for fruit and veggie themed fabric.
    Of course, reading your post is making me want to go to the weekly farmer’s market here… hehe!
    ♥ Casey

  38. OK. This is absolutely none of my business, but have you lost weight? If not, then I guess it’s just that the combination of the cut and the print are very flattering! You look great in this dress!

  39. I’m a blog newbie and totally in awe/inspired by the Sew Weekly project and this great dress you just made! I’ve always been intimidated by vintage patterns because the sizing is so strange. I’m feeling encouraged by your and others’ many successes.

  40. Beautiful! This dress is so cool – the shape, the fabric! I’m swooning over the shoes too!

  41. Thanks, Lauren!

  42. Thanks, Judy! I’m glad that you loved the challenge! Can’t wait to see how Mississippi inspires you.

  43. Thanks, Casey! I think I always will snatch up a fruit print if I see it for sale! I bet Florida farmers markets are great — so much great citrus!

  44. Thanks, R8chel! Yes, I’ve lost weight over the past 6 months — about 35 pounds. I’m not that good of a seamstress to make me look that thin with just the right print. :)

  45. Thanks, Lee! Don’t be intimidated by vintage patterns. I actually find them as easy or easier to sew with. The directions are often a lot less convoluted than modern patterns.

  46. Thanks, Sarah! Those are my Easy Spirits. :)

  47. Mena, this is so lovely! I love how your shoes and belt make the colors pop – what a delightful print! The piping detail is fantastic and really adds a polish to the dress. Fabulous work!!

  48. OMG – Easy Spirits?!? You have blown my mind. I am no going to check out Easy Spirit – comfy and adorable? Yes please.

  49. Thanks, Meg! Great job this week too!

  50. Lindo! Também gosto de tecidos antigos.