An “Homage To A Mad Old Lady” Dress

by Melody Mae on June 29, 2013 · 13 comments

in 1950s,Dresses,Vintage Sewing

Years ago, when fabric shopping, a kind yet mad woman wrapped me up in a makeshift sari, telling me that I would look make a “beautiful bride” for her son. I laughed the whole thing off, insisting that I was involved, unwrapped myself from the fabric and bought what I needed.

What I hadn’t seen is she’d thrown in a length of the fabric she’d wrapped around me, and told me “not to tell her husband.” I was confused at the time, but once I’d got home and seen the fabric, I promised to make something pretty out of it and fondly remember the crazy woman.

Approximately four years later – I’ve finally used the fabric in a dress!



This dress uses the bodice from Butterick B5880, omitting the neckline notches, and has a pleated dirndl instead of the sarong skirt – and pockets! I can’t live without pockets in my dresses, and these large patch pockets are absolutely ideal for carrying around the essentials on a holiday, as I have found out!

Personally, I adore this dress, it’s comfortable and classy with just the right hint of “vintage”!

  • Fabric:
    Black and silver check voile [stash]
    Black cotton [stash]
  • Pattern:
    Butterick B5880
  • Pattern Alterations:
    Omitted neckline notches, Replaced sarong skirt with pleated dirndl and patch pockets.
  • Notions:Invisible zip
  • Make again?:
    Definitely! The whole dress is so comfortable, hangs beautifully and feels like a dream to wear! The bodice is roomy without being unflattering, which is so nice.
  • Total price: £0!

You can read a little bit more about my thoughts on the dress and a little bit into the construction over here at Bourbon and Bras, if you so wish!

Thank you for reading, and have a lovely weekend!

Melody ♪

This post was written by...

– who has written 2 posts on

21-year-old sewing enthusiast from South England. Likes knickers, bourbon and shiny things. Seemingly afraid of colour. Approach with caution. Or cake.

Melody Mae's posts / Melody Mae's website

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Noelle June 29, 2013 at 5:33 am

What an amazing story! And you look ridiculously cute. I think I will have to start following your blog :)


Melody Mae July 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Thank you so much! She was certainly interesting, although I haven’t seen her in there since – maybe she was just simply a mad old woman handing out fabric?! We shall never know!

And I’m so sorry that the link didn’t work – I had a scheduling problem, it seems! Thank you for being interested enough to follow ♥


LilliansEnsembles June 29, 2013 at 6:30 am

Great Job, well done. Love the dress.


Melody Mae July 4, 2013 at 6:56 am

Thank you so much!


mariebayarea June 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

That’s a great story. Fabulous dress!


Melody Mae July 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I always find that having a story behind a dress is a good way to connect well with an item – and I’d say this has worked, I’m going to wear it to death!

Thank you ♥


EmSewCrazy June 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm

What a fabulous dress! The color and style suit you so well. Great story on the fabric too!


Melody Mae July 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

Thank you! I’ve always been wary of higher necklines, since I’m small-busted yet fat, and it’s never looked right until now – and it’s turned out to be a favourite pattern for me, with two more dresses using it in motion!


Bea June 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Yey for free fabric from crazy ladies!! Love your dress and overall styling. Red and black, such a classic combo. You look amazing!


Melody Mae July 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

I won’t lie, I love free stuff more than most things in the world – and free fabric? Yes please!

Thank you so much! I have a strange colour-OCD where I will become quite irate if my hair isn’t matched to something else I’m wearing!


Stacey Stitch July 1, 2013 at 3:30 am

Love this (and your hair too!) :)


Melody Mae July 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Thank you! And my hair thanks you too!


zachary July 30, 2013 at 12:12 am

Aw, this was an extremely nice post. In idea I have to put in writing this way additionally — taking time and also actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… My spouse and i procrastinate a lot and by absolutely no means seem to get something carried out.


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