1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

An “Homage To A Mad Old Lady” Dress

June 29, 2013

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 ♪

    1. 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 ♥

    1. 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 ♥

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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!

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