Hot! The “Button Foot is Back” Dress

The Facts 
Fabric: Vintage cotton from Alameda Antique Fair – 4 yards for $2
Pattern: Butterick 9265, $1
Year: c. 1960
Notions: 4 self-buttons – $.25
Time to complete: ~6 hours
First worn: April 2012
Wear again? Yes.

Total Cost: ~$3.25


I’m not sure what constitutes “VIP” fabric for me this week. I have a number of pieces that I never touch due to my desire to “really make something special.” Usually, something “special” means a full-skirted 1950s dress. So when it came to this totally awesome $2 polka dot print, I decided to make something special and puffy and with buttons! The buttons thing is big since I lost my button foot like 6 months ago. I finally broke down and ordered a replacement and now I’m back in the land of buttons.

So is this the most important piece of fabric in my stash? No. But I certainly do like it quite a bit. It’s like the floral 1950s and geometric 1960s are fighting it out.

With Butterick 9256, I had three options for necklines. Because of the whole button thing, I went with view “A.” If I was to make this exact dress again (with the same fabric), I would have make it up in view “C.” The polka dots are a bit too much with the buttoned front. And, I didn’t do the greatest job matching it all up. There’s a lot of stuff going on there that makes the dress look far busier than it should.

But, even with that criticism — I do like how it turned out!

I honestly don’t know how I ever finished this dress. My sewing machine has been so temperamental and I spent most of the day on Sunday threading and rethreading. I went to bed last night not even sure that I’d have something for this week. Sitting out last week forced me to get this done and, miracles of miracles, my machine started behaving and I finished this dress this morning.

I had a cold this weekend (and am still sick) so my photo shoot isn’t too exciting. My dining room and its walls make an appearance again.



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. “It’s like the floral 1950s and geometric 1960s are fighting it out.”
    I have the cutest imagery in my head now. Your dress is so cute! And I love the change of print direction in the bodice! Brilliant!

  2. I think it’s gorgeous! I love how the bodice print is vertical while the skirt print is horizontal.

    As always!!! You and your creation look fabulous.

  3. That dress is perfect! I’m coming to Alameda in a couple days! Excited for sunshine but sad I’m missed the antiques faire

  4. the dress is lovely Mena, really cute fabric, but I’m quite taken with the color of your walls ;) gorgeous!

  5. It’s just gorgeous. I can’t believe you only paid $2 for the fabric! I adore the stripe effect the rows of polka dots and that pattern is a great cut. I had to sit this week out as some fabric I needed to complete my look didnt arrive from the States, and plan B,a georgette blouse with organza cuffs and buttonholes is still unfinished and sitting in bits looking very forlorn indeed! I am determined to finish the city look.

  6. That fabric is a great find (and buy!). The busyness of it is what makes it so striking. Thank you for enduring machine tantrums to share it with us. It’s a beauty.

  7. The fabric and pattern are gorgeous!

  8. Great print, great pattern, great pictures.

  9. You look just beautiful, Mena, and I adore this dress! The fabric and colours are so pretty and I really love your snazzy hat!

    I don’t think the dress is busy at all – I rather like everything that’s going on. It’s fresh and fun! :)

  10. It’s just adorable! Love the fabric and the pattern. The colors in your dress and on your wall make for a very attractive shoot. Cute hat too.

  11. Well I love it and I think you are just darling in whatever you come up with you have made.

  12. That pattern is going on my list of “have to buy someday” patterns. I love the fabric choice too! Altogether a lovely dress. :)

  13. Wow Mena, the fabric is just beautiful and feels so Spring. I really like the photos and you always look solovely in vintage styles. Hope you feel better soon.

  14. I love it! The whole dang thing! You are fantastic.

  15. I love the dress and you look gorgeous in the photos! Hope you feel better soon!

  16. I love it and I like the buttons. so pretty!!! Now I feel the need for a 1950’s full skirt. Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Mena it is beautiful. The fabric looks like it has a nice texture to it. You are an inspiration and always deliver no matter what is going on. I do enjoy getting my weekly e-mail. I am going to start sewing again. I have enough fabric to wrap the world.

    Oh! I am so happy you found the white the antique is a rare find.. it was waiting for you ;)

  18. Super springy and delightful! I hope you feel better soon!!!

  19. Absolutely gorgeous! I disagree that it looks too busy, and you always get such fabulous bargains with fabric.

  20. Love it! I have this pattern and I can’t wait to try it out now. This is beautiful!

  21. What an adorable dress! I love the pouffy skirt, and I think this is the most accurate 1950s silhouette you’ve ever made.

    Happy sewing!


  22. It’s not good when one’s favourite toy isn’t working properly – but you managed to produce a beautiful garment – Bravo!

  23. Love the dress and the styling! That pattern is wonderful!

  24. Love the buttons and the belt. Love the fabric too….it’s so different. Do you only have one sewing machine then? I always imagined you’d have a standby machine as well, don’t know why. I always have this fear that mine will pack in and I’ll have to lose it to a mechanic for a week or two.

  25. I also think it is beautiful.

  26. Such a gorgeous and happy dress Mena. I hope you’re feeling better.

  27. Hope you’re feeling better. Your projects are always so beautiful and cheer me up :o)