Hot! The “Here’s a story, of a lovely lady” dress

The Facts 

Fabric: Sheet and pillowcase from Goodwill thrift store $3.99 + $1.99
Patterns: Simplicity It’s So Easy 3728
Year: 2007
Notions: Just thread
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: Cinco De Mayo! (May 5th 2012)
Wear again? Yes, lots

Total Cost: $5.98 (£3.70)

The challenge: “Family Inspiration: Inspired by an old family photo”.


When Mena first put up the challenges for April/May for contributors, I initially thought about missing the ‘Childhood’ and ‘Family’ weeks.

But then I started thinking more creatively about the topics. As you saw, I did complete a childhood dress, though it came with some torment. I therefore decided that I wouldn’t put myself through that again for this challenge….there was absolutely no way I was going to make something for Family week….no way….

Hmmm, I’ve got absolutely no resolve when it comes to sewing have I?

The problem came when I realised that nowhere did it say in Mena’s instructions that it had to be MY old family photo… instead this is the requisite old family photo that inspired me this week:

Well, it was either going to be Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family…..and for all you 20-somethings who are saying “what? never heard of them”, does this ring a bell? You’ll have seen it spoofed so many times in other shows.

And if you haven’t seen it, the original TV show morphed into the delightful awfulness of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour show (you have to make it through the clip till at least their murdering of Live and Let Die). The Simpsons did a fabulous spoof on the show once, complete with a Fake Lisa to mimic the Brady Bunch’s Fake Jan.

Sooooo, I made myself a much needed maxi dress that Marcia Brady might have worn…

Oh ok, perhaps this is a little loud for Marcia. But doesn’t this meet the ‘Tempest tries to make something conventional’ challenge I set myself last week (and you all shouted “no! don’t do it!”)

Oh ok, again, maybe not. Pah, don’t care.

Can I just point out the reason I look like I’m frowning in most of these pics isn’t because I’m doing my Sewing Rebel Without A Gauze, it’s because me and Mr D didn’t get up early enough to take these pics…’s now summer in Phoenix and the sun is a bleaching white light from about 8am-ish till 6pm-ish. It doesn’t help when we’d decided to shoot at disused cafe with bright white walls….

To get any photos that aren’t horribly over exposed we’ve been getting up earlier and earlier each weekend. Well, this weekend we slept in, so these were taken around 9am, and my eyes can’t take the brightness (don’t worry all you caring mums out there, I do wear sunglasses 99% of the time here in Phoenix). So hence the difficulty smiling this week.

Sometimes we try and use shadows cast by buildings:

And look, there’s Mr D in the reflection in the window! Fame at last :)

OK the dress – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dress.

I love it because I managed to make it out of a sheet and pillowcase for just $5.98 (or even better because as a Brit only in the USA for 2 and a bit years, I still convert everything in my head into pounds, and it’s only £3.70! Bargain!). Btw…….who has sheets and pillowcases in these nightmare-inducing colours/pattern? If this is a kid’s set, I’m assuming it is, how the heck did they get any sleep? Perhaps that’s why it was thrifted.

I also love that there was enough of it for me to nearly match seams up, and be clever with how I cut the pieces. I love the back in particular:

And there’s Mr D in the reflection again.

The pattern, Simplicity It’s So Easy 3728 was lovely to make too and I really enjoyed the square neckline. I don’t think you can still get it though, I got mine, as you can see from the same Goodwill store I got the sheet and pillowcase.

Oooh, did I mention the fabric is like a nice thick t-shirt jersey. This dress is soooooooo comfy. I can see me wearing this most of the summer. I might even make another dress with this pattern… the near future……watch this space……



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


Comments are closed.

  1. You make such fun things. I love seeing what you make each week. I’m glad you thought creatively this week. Plus I grew up on reruns of the Brady Bunch so they are like family right?

    • Absolutely, though actually I’d have rather been part of the Partridge Family, but I suspect that was only because I wanted David Cassidy as my big brother.

  2. For all that I wanted to protest last week, it turns out that I love “conventional Tempest”. Great job on this. I assume that this one you will be wearing to the grocery store?

    • Oh I’ve been wearing this one everywhere….wore it into to school this morning the kids loved it (they are my greatest fans :)) Yes, this is conventional Tempest :)

  3. It’s too too fabulous for words! I love the colors and tie dye and maxi dress combo – it’s perfect for the theme and it looks so comfortable!

    • It’s so fab, I’ve had some serious hits with out-of-the-ordinary fabric from Thrift stores this year….I hope my luck doesn’t run out soon….my one true desire is to score a Batman or Spiderman duvet cover and pillowcase for a dress before the year is out.

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! You look beautiful in this! It matches your personality. I know we’ve never met but it matches what I think your personality would be like. Fun and colorful. Tell Mr. D he looks very professional in his shots. Nice-

  5. Chevron tie die! Brilliant! That looks like the perfect maxi– not too bare on top, sleeves, nice cut– but I never would have guessed from the pattern envelope. I can absolutely relate to the childhood/family issues and I’m so glad we found a way to sew for these challenges anyways.

    • It’s because I’m absurdly competitive, I’m sure I would have taken a couple of weeks out if Mena hadn’t put up that scoreboard….but then I might never have made this fab dress and that would have been a shame. Hurrah for having to think outside the box!

  6. Great dress and cracking pics!
    I cannot fathom who would have bedding like that, because I would dread putting it in the wash – it would just dye everything else the wrong colour every time. Like a bedsheet with Willy Wonka sense of humour.

    • I still can’t believe some would buy this as a bedset….this could however explain why it’s in such good condition – perhaps it was very rarely used. Thank you.

  7. Sneaky, sneaky ;-). I love this dress! And, now I shall have the Brady Bunch theme song stuck in my head for the remainder of the day! Despite my twenty-something-ness, I think I’ve seen every episode. Good choice! I’m glad you decided to participate.

    • I’m such a cheater :) Have you watched any of the Variety Hour clips on youtube…..I can’t believe how wonderfully bad they are. My kids are fed up with me, I’ve been singing the theme tune all week.

  8. That’s fabulous and suits you so well. Hope you do make another one!

    • Thank you so much….I’m trying the same pattern this week….but with a very different fabrics and trying some patchwork, it’s an interesting experiment. Though I will be getting some more jersey and making another muckabout version too.

  9. Oh my, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dress. This is something I’d totally wear – a fact that qualifies the dress as conventional then…? I don’t think I have ever thought that about any other of your creatiosn. Admired them and thought they looked great on you but never thought about booking a flight to Phoenix to steal them from your closet…(You’re safe for now. The prices for flight ticket are horrendous at the moment. I might be able to make it in autumn – beware!)
    And I am so jealous that you found such great jersey fabric and at such a low price!! What an absolutely perfect summer dress.

    • Yeah I reckon this is me almost conventional. It might be a little loud to be totally conventional….so perhaps later this year I’ll try harder at being conventional ;) Thank you so much for the kind words.

  10. I love the dress, and it fits you perfectly! It looks like a perfect “party by the pool” dress. Great fun colors.

  11. Another great make, tempest! Lovely lovely- tie dye and chevrons. I think this is a really great cut for you, too. ( I also struggled with childhood and family challenges, I missed the first one but made this one work I think…)

    Is this conventional tempest? :)

    • I know (shrugs with false modesty) maxi-dress, tie-dye, chevrons….I’m so bang on with fashion trends I scare myself ;) Yeah, I think this is pretty conventional….it might be a bit loud for others but it’s pretty tame for Tempest. I think I might be doing more conventional for the Diamond Jubilee, royal-inspired challenge….I just need to find a corgi to match my twin-set (I’m not fooling anyone am I?)

  12. Tempest! You are spicy! Love this dress on you, love the colors. Love, love, love!

  13. This is a wow! You could wear this to an outdoor rock concert and be easy to find by Mr. D.
    Heheheheheheh. Very creative and your pics are very nice despite the sunny weather.

    • There is so much more truth in this than you can imagine Barbara. I have the world’s worst memory, seriously bad and actually recognised as part of my cyclothymia….and I am forever forgetting where my car is in car parks/parking lots, where my family are at festivals etc. This dress could be a life-saver! :)

  14. So cool Tempest, LOVE the colours and your styling. A great fit too. Mr D in a matching top perhaps?

    • Haha I might just do that – I have some fabric left….it might have to be broad stripes on a bowling shirt though, that could look pretty cool.

  15. The Brady Bunch Variety Hour clip was just… wow. Love the wild colors of the dress and interpretation of the theme!

    • Isn’t it incredible??!! How did that EVER get scheduled? I can’t watch any of the clips on youtube of it without thinking its actually an elaborate hoax or spoof of itself. It explains the Brady Bunch movie’s tone when that came along.

  16. Tie-dye-tastic, girl! You are WEARING that dress…it skims your groovy curves beautifully! Gold star for adopting the Brady’s for this challenge. Their family drama is way more inspiring than any of our own.

    Oh, and I totally understand your beat-the-morning-sun battle for photos. Sleeping in gets easier and easier as the sun rises earlier and earlier. Which is why most of my photographing is going down just as the sun does.

    • Thank you! We did the Bjork/Pink photoshoot at about 6.30pm the week before but you’ll know that the window at the end of the day is much more tricky than the morning ‘golden hours’… eldest Goth Child is an expert at changing the manual settings to cope with the fast-changing light at the end of the day, but me and Mr D get shouted at by her for using automatic without flash if she’s not with us ;)

      • I know!!! Sometimes I ain’t got time to be fussing with those damn manual settings. Those are the days I say eff-it and accept that THERE WILL BE SHADOWS.

  17. Oooo so funk-ay! :D I went through a “hippy” phase in high school and would have died to have this dress. I loved 60s/70s re-runs. Fantastic job!

    • Wait till you see the funky flopping matching sunhat I’m making to go with it….hopefully to be revealed sometime before Me Made May is over. It makes me laugh.

  18. Oh Tempest. I had those sheets along with my David Bowie and Pink Floyd Poster plastered on my bedroom walls.

  19. I love your dress. You are fabulous in all your AZ glory. I can’t be more cogent for I am still hyperventilating from the Bradys’ version of Pinball Wizard… and then like Icarus, I flew too close to sun with other clips.