Hot! The “Jump in the Line” Dress


The Facts

Fabric: Rayon, probably not vintage, but looks it, $1 thrifted
Pattern: Simplicity 1168, $5
Year: Late 1950s?
Notions: none
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: January 2012
Wear again? yes!

Total Cost: ~$6


Oh Global Warming, I wish I could quit you. This week’s challenge was supposed to be payback from our Australian and Southern Hemisphere contributors who had to sew a summer dress during the middle of their winter last year. It was supposed to be that. However, we’re all having some serious unseasonably warm weather right now and this sarong dress was actually quite wearable yesterday. In fact, I actually got a bit warm in the sun! Sorry, mates!

Ever since I bought this pattern last year, I was somewhat scared to tackle it. There’s a lot of darts and pleats and with a bust of 30″, I wasn’t quite sure if I could even get it to fit me. I barely had enough fabric, so I had to piece some of the ties together. I used EVERY scrap of fabric I could find. But that print! It’s so wonderful.

Amazingly, even though working with the rayon and all those darts was a bit of a pain, this dress was incredibly easy to put together. It’s a true wrap dress so there was no zipper to insert! Yay!

And now the title of this dress.

I had been having a pretty miserable weekend. Kind of a culmination of a bunch of annoying things in my life right now. Sewing is almost always my happy place and on Saturday night, that was no exception. The dress came together like a dream and it fit and I was content. Then some of those annoying things got a bit more annoying and I just kind of lost it. I was wearing this dress, sitting on the floor of my living room. Crying.

I listen to Pandora, so I never know what exact song is going to play. Well, there I was, sitting on the floor sobbing (in this dress). Add to the pathetic imagery: I was wearing a normal bra, so I sort of looked like Baby in Dirty Dancing when she’s trying on her performance dress and talking to Penny. So in the middle of sobs, Harry Belafonte’s Jump in the Line came on. Like the perfect song for this dress. And I’m sorry, but it’s kind of impossible to stay sad when that song comes on. That’s all I needed to get up the floor and actually dance to the song. By myself, in my living room. Totally not me, but it worked. I went to the mirror and thought “this dress looks pretty awesome” and I’m going to be fine. So there.

The next day, after this shoot, I locked myself out of my house. But that’s another story, entirely.

So for everyone who has bad days, know that you’re certainly not alone!



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. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having some rough stuff going on right now. I hope it all sorts out! Your dress looks fantastic! Gorgeous pics as always! And isn’t this weather just crazy?? I went outside without a jacket yesterday and just as I was about to run back into the house to grab one, I thought ‘wait a minute, I totally don’t need one today!’

  2. Another awesome dress – yellow is such a great colour for you. I hope the week ahead is full of happiness xx

  3. I love the dress and the song. I listen to it when I need to dance like a crazy person in the play room. Hope things improve soon. Until then hugs.

  4. I think those solar flares got us all Mena, you are so inspiring, and I feel like doing this challenge is actually changing my life, for the good. So know that you are fulfilling your mission on this earth! Bless you, beautiful dress, I want one of those dresses so bad! Woops hehe that’s why I’m learning to sew :-)

  5. What a great dress! You look fantastic! I hope the week ahead goes much better for you :-)

  6. I completely empathize with the “Some days it doesn’t pay to get out of bed” feeling. That was all of last week for me! (weirdly, most of my friends too). I hope things get better soon! You look great — what a fun dress and great pattern. Here’s to a wonderful February!

  7. Stunning dress! The colours are amazing. And those shoes are to die for. I know how you feel with the bad days. Sometimes they are just unavoidable! I hope the rest of your week gets better.

  8. Consider this song in my head for the rest of the day (along with the scene from Beatlejuice where Wynona Ryder is levitating). :-D The dress looks AMAZING! I’m on the hunt for this pattern! It’s so flattering and seems perfect for summer! I hope all that is annoying in your world finds resolution!

  9. This dress ia beautiful and I’m really pleased that sewing is your happy place. Sewing is my happy place too:)

  10. Oh, Mena! You have my heart! It stinks when the day goes all pear-shaped and funky. I too had a rough week. Like one of the roughest I’ve had in awhile and sometimes you just gotta dance and turn that frown upside down. Thanks for the reminder.

    And thanks for sharing such a delicious dress as that one. Truly no one could frown too long in such a wonderful wonderful dress!

  11. Hope your days ahead are as sunny as this beautiful yellow dress.

  12. Beautiful dress. Yellow is such a happy colour.

  13. Nobody puts baby in a corner!! The dress looks great and thank you for giving us all a happy pace to contribute.

  14. Mena, I’m so sorry to hear that things are tough right now. It seems we all have such times, eh?

    I wanted to offer one fact that I hope will help you feel a little better–apparently the crazy (and dry!) warm weather we’re having this winter is attributable to a La Nina/El Nino cycle that’s typical in California every so often. I’m not saying we don’t have global warming, but I stopped freaking out about it quite as much when I found out this is a La Nina year.

  15. Sucha stunning dress with a retro vibe! And that fabric- divine :D I hope things are looking up!

  16. (((mena))) hope things sort themselves out soon. If it helps, sewweekly has made me smile when I’ve been down many many times. Your dress is lovely x

  17. Knowing others have weeks like that is encouraging to me. I thank God (and you) for the Sew Weekly. It’s helping me in so many ways.

  18. Yep just wanted to pop in and say I hope things turn up for you soon, sounds like it has been a rough year! I don’t normally comment but love to read and see the dresses :)

  19. I wanted to add my voice to everyone else. We love you Mena and we’re all here for you! Also, you look beautiful as always in this dress. The Midwest is officially jealous of your weather.

  20. And your photos are lovely, too!

  21. There must of been something in the water that day or the planets were askew looking on the bright side is this gorgeous dress. Love it!

  22. A living-room dance party, a trip to the beach, and a beautiful yellow dress sound like perfect pick-me-ups. Here’s to a better week.

  23. I’m so sorry you’ve been having a hard time lately :(
    But man, that dress!! It makes me happy to see it! Perfect and adorable!
    And I can’t believe you found that pattern for $5!!! Woohoo!

  24. You are my hero… Sewing stuff like this once a week and keeping up with the Sew Weekly behind the scenes? AND writing such a strong-yet-vulnerable-and-uplifting post? Well done indeed. I have times like that too.

    Did you have to climb up the side of the house to get in a window wearing your sarong dress? Please, please say yes. ;)

    • Thanks, Steph! Keeping Sew Weekly going is the constant that actually keeps me quite sane!

      And no, I didn’t have to climb through the window. I tried, but it was impossible. But I did get in so that’s all that matter.

  25. That is a fabulous dress, and I love the shoes!

  26. I agree with everyone above. Lovely to see you looking so happy and beautiful through difficult times. You are truly an inspiration.

  27. Love the dress and fabric you’ve got! You look better with the hair down. Stay happy and cheery, (like the dress :p)!

  28. Sorry to hear you had a bad weekend. You look as lovely as ever, though! The dress is just stunning, as is the color and photo shoot. Why was it warmer today in SF than it was when I visited a couple of Junes ago? Layers of fleece and I was still freezing! Madness.

  29. Gorgeous dress, Mena. So glad it also turned out to be therapeutic. I love how sewing can always get you to a happy place — with a little help from Pandora, of course ;-).

  30. Awwww sorry you had a rotten weekend. It sure is not reflected in this dress. It’s wonderful, and so is the print. And the photos. Your work keeps getting better and better, astounding.

  31. This is a truly beautiful dress and you look wonderful in it. I hope this come week will go better for you. I am seriously jealous of the weather you’re having. It’s freezing in Germany and we don’t even have snow.

  32. I’m sorry you’ve been having such a tough time of it! :( *hugs* The dress, however, is gorgeous (and so are you!). I am just in love with the style and the fabric you used. I dare say you’ll get a lot of wear out of it in the summer (or now… the weather here is being really weird too!). ;)

  33. You look the epitome of summer – hope life is now sailing more smoothly.

  34. That dress is so, so adorable and happy and cheerful and summery! It’s yellow! And has surfers on it! I can’t believe anyone could be sad in it. I hope everything is untangling in your life.

    You have a 30″ bust?!?! How tiny are you?

  35. You look PHENOMENAL! I’ve been following your blog since early last year, and this might be my favorite thing you’ve ever made. Super flattering and really fun.

  36. Absolutely beautiful! What a gorgeous, fun dress!

    Here’s hoping the annoying things go away… or get less annoying, at least.

  37. Mena, I just heart your pretty face so much. The dress is exquisite, and you look positively smashing in it!

  38. I just started following the Sew Weekly and I felt like my first comment should be to tell you I absolutely adore your dress – it’s so gorgeous!!! Thanks for inspiring me and so many others! :)