Hot! The “Sexy Worry Doll” Outfit

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The Facts

Fabric: Mexican-styled embroidered dress from Alameda Antique Fair, $5
Pattern:  Butterick 2533 $1
Year: c. 1963
Notions: one vintage zipper
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: September 2011
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$6

Considering that I just love how this dressed turned out and it fits the theme, I think it's only fair that it deserves its own weekly creation post. 

Check out Oona's post about the theme for which this dress came about.

As far as construction goes, this dress started out as a XL dress which really no structure. I knew I wanted to preserve as much of the embroidered as possible while giving it a 1960s cocktail silhouette.

Here's me holding the original — very NOT 1960s cocktail silhoutte — dress. It's massive.

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Bodice The first thing I did was remove all the stitching from the seams. I detached the yoke from the bodice, removed the sleeves, removed the side-stitching and even took out the hem (it was really a poorly constructed hem.) Once I removed the yoke from the bodice, I had far more front material to work with. The gathers would be removed and the bodice would have darts.

To the left are the pieces I used from this pattern. I split the bodice pieces up to accommodate the yoke. Because the neckline was already hemmed and had the decorative embroidery, I didn't need to use the facings. 

For the armholes, I used bias tape.

The one thing that bothered me about the dress is that the original embroidery was not stabilized in any way. So, because it was stitched on such thin fabric, it puckers quite a bit on the front skirt piece. If I was to make another dress, I would try to find one with less detail or better stabilization.

This dress was TIGHT. After a week of good eating in NY, this was the very last outfit I wore. I think the zipper (yes, there is a zipper) screamed when it saw my side flab coming. But I got all my body into this thing and didn't feel particularly uncomfortable.

I can only hope that this post's title will someday be a search result for "sexy worry doll costume."



See my other dress from this week.


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’s this type of clever clogs thinking that delights me and makes me come to this blog every week day!
    Fabulous! It would have been perfect for Tiki-Oasis’s South of the Border theme this year!
    Genius, lady!

  2. This is beautiful, unique, amazing – you have got the absolute best out of this refashion! I love everything about your dress, and hope you get lots of sexy fun out of it (instead of people telling you their problems then shoving you under their pillow)!!

  3. YAY! Glad you are featuring this dress too! It’s STUNNING! I loved it so much and the new design features the embroidery so much better! And you look HOT! i’m now on the look out for cool embroidered dresses :)

  4. best. name. ever.

  5. This dress fits the these perfectly. And in the photos it looks like a perfect fit.

  6. I have a black dress like the one you started with and you have just inspired me to try and turn it into something amazing. Thank you!

  7. Nice upcycle!! Love the colours

  8. That is definitely sexy. I think it is one of the coolest and most ingenous up cycles I have seen! Loooove it. Es una vestita muy Bonita!

  9. I really need to learn to spot the potential in something. I wouldn’t have thunk it! So vibrant and lively.

  10. This is AWESOME! LOVE!

  11. I think Elsie from Red Velvet posted about a nearly identical dress today:
    I thought that was kinda funny.

  12. What a stunning dress. It looks very happy, and I love how you repurposed all that beautiful embroidery. I’ve never seen a dress like it, and it looks beautiful on you.

  13. Stunning. This dress is totally my style and I would have bought it in an instant had I seen in hanging in a high-street shop!!
    Now….where can I get my hands on an XL Mexican-styled embroidered dres…..

  14. This is seriously the most amazing refashion! When I saw it the first time.. I assumed it was a straight out vintage find. The way that embroidery fits on the pattern you chose is so flattering. Well done!

  15. This is gorgeous! I used to have a couple dresses similar to your original…man…after seeing your after I sure wish I still had them!

  16. Catherine Christ

    You are a genius!!! This is the most beautiful dress i have ever seen! Great work, seriously impressed.

  17. Great refashion Mena! That colour really suits you!

  18. Gorgeous! I’ve always loved the embroidery on pieces like this, but never bought them since I’m kinda anti-mumu. But refashioned into a haute ensemble…Brilliant!

  19. You’ve done such a fantastic job! I NEED this pattern!!

  20. You’ve done such a fantastic job! I NEED this pattern!!

  21. I absolutely love this dress. I almost went to the Alameda Fair at the beginning of the month. With a find like this one, I’m definitely going to the next one.

  22. While I’d never re-construct my only huipil that way (it was a gift from one of my aunts, so I wouldn’t do it for sentimental reasons), this is an amazing reuse of the dress!
    A little part of the(born and raised) Mexican in me cringes; but about 95% of me says “Wow! Nicely done!”

  23. I love your dress! Amazing!