Hot! The “Sew Rejuvenated” Dress

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Fabric: Thrifted Acrylic/Wool blend (I believe), $8
Pattern: Simplicity 2013, $1.25 from Alameda Antique Fair
Year: 1957
Notions: vintage zipper, $.05
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: August 2011
Wear again? Yes!!

Total Cost: ~$9.25

After my disappointment with last week's creation, I knew I had to kick my sewing up a notch this week. That meant no practical separates. That meant something that requires a petticoat. That meant something from the 1950s (it is a crowd pleaser, you know). So for this week's creation I pulled out Simplicity 2013 and made a very impractical (for daily life, that is) full-skirted dress in a glorious plaid!

Construction of this dress was a non-event. The only annoying thing is that it requires not one, by two zippers. One at the side and one at the neck. I thought I could skip the neck zipper and instead use snaps, but that didn't work quite well. So, I'm going to have to go back and actually insert a zipper. Or, at least, try the snaps again in a better configuration.

I have to say that the 10 day break I took from sewing did wonders for my sewing enthusiasm. I was quite refreshed when sewing this dress and all those feelings about loving to sew came rushing back to my heart and hands. Yay breaks!

The photo shoot plans originally called for me to take these shots at Berkeley. However, when we got over the bridge I realized I forgot my camera. Not all was lost, though. Since we were in the East Bay, we headed to the GBACG Costumers Bazaar where I did a little shopping and received the nicest compliments about my ensemble.

Shopping at the bazaar was so pleasant since the folks there weren't just vendors, they were costumers and members. The prices were super reasonable, but more importantly, they were being sold by people who either made or shopped for the items personally. Not only was there knowledge being shared, but a general appreciation for the goods. 

Even though I've been on the GBACG mailing list for years (almost 10, I believe!), I've never been a member or attended a costumed event. Maybe one day  – when I get enough nerve to go to something by myself. I did  have the pleasure of meeting Kendra from Démodé at the bazaar. Even though I had read about the bazaar on her blog, I didn't recognize her since I'm used to seeing pictures of her looking like this. If you truly want to be inspired by some serious sewing, check out her blog!

One more thing: I have tons of this fabric which I'll be selling later today. If you like this plaid, be sure to keep an eye out for the post!

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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.


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  1. The dress looks fabulous – it was certainly worth the wait! Love that hat too.

  2. AHHHHHHH!!!! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!! This has everything that I love about the 50’s…plaid dress, petticoats, saddle shoes, cute 50’s hat, the colour red…You look FABULOUS! love, love, love!!!

  3. Ooo, I love this one! That little collar is to die for!

  4. Oh super cute! I lovelovelove it! A classic plaid like this one is so great. (The one I’m using this week is not so classic, but fits into my autumn sewing plan perfectly… You’ll see it soon!)

  5. That is gorgeous, love it all, and your headpiece too!

  6. Just lovely, everything about it is perfect!

  7. This is beautiful! Love that neckline and that fabric is gorgeous!

  8. Wow, the construction on your dress looks very impressive. Nice job with the plaid; it can be so tricky. I wonder if the midriff panel would have worked on the bias.

  9. This is 18 kinds of cute!!

  10. Marvelous!!!

  11. Thanks, Lindsay!

  12. Thanks, Debi! I need to give my saddle shoes more of their time in the spotlight. I usually just wear them for errands and such. They are such awesome shoes! When I was little, I wanted black and white, but my mom said that they would get too dirty too quickly. It’s funny that when I bought mine, that thought was still in my head.

  13. Thanks, Katie! It’s much higher than I usually wear, but I really like it.

  14. Thanks, Ewa. I’m glad that this challenge fits into your sewing plans!

  15. Thanks, Adey! I really like the neckline (though I would have never attempted in the past because I thought it would be too high).

  16. Thanks, Jeanne Marie. I didn’t even think of doing the midriff on the bias — but that would have been a nice contrasting touch!

  17. Thanks, Jeanine!

  18. Oh my goodness, if you ever want to go to a costume event, I’ll totally go with you! I promise I’m not crazy :) I live in the Bay Area and have gone to a few of the regency costume events, but it’s oh so lonely to go by yourself, not knowing anyone there. The whole reason I decided to learn how to sew was so I could make my own costumes!
    And I love the plaid! So adorable!

  19. This dress is SUPER cute — I love the plaid, so perfect for 1950s and for almost-fall. And it was great to meet you! I only recognized you because you were all vintage-d up as you are on your blog! :)

  20. Such a charming, 1950s style! And I love the bows in your hair. : ) Does the five hours include cutting out your pattern and fabric? My record for a women’s dress if 3 hours, but that is a style much more simple than this.
    You always look so beautiful in your vintage outfits!
    Happy sewing!

  21. Oh, Mena! This is so cute! Love to all the details of this dress, everything! And the hat … OMG!

  22. I LOVE the underbust seam – this is adorable :)

  23. Adorable…ready for the holidays! Besides, Mena, red is so flattering on you. This ensemble almost makes me want to sew a plaid dress. Almost! And the underbust seam? Flattering for small-busted gals.

  24. Oh, oh, oh I actually have this pattern! I’m so happy to see it made up, as I could never decide if I wanted to make it or not. It is absolutely so quirkily adorable.

  25. You look steaming hot in red plaid Mena, that 50’s silhouette really suits you. Wonderful as always.

  26. You can tell you’ve been rejuvenated with this AMAZING dress! Great choice in fabric, and style! It’s weird that it has 2 zippers (I think I tried a pattern like that once and it went straight to the charity shop, did not suit me at all) but overall that collar is GORGEOUS!
    A really fun theme this week Mena! xoxo

  27. Plaid isn’t usually a fav of mine, but you look great in this dress. I do have a bit of Buchanan tartan in my stash I may have to pull out. Maybe combine it with some leather or suede. Mmm…