Challenges · Me Made May Etc. · MMM 2021

Me Made May: Frocks of Fancy

Let’s face it, dresses are my kryptonite! It is almost impossible to find unique dresses that are also well-made so they are always top of my to-make list. Here we’ll see my MMM/J/SSS dresses that have since been retired. These aren’t even all the dresses I’ve ever made! There are a few that came out so bad they never made it to MMM.

Simplicity 7355 (ca. 1967) was only worn once, to my knowledge, to my college senior banquet. This was peak of the Mad Men years, folks, hence my vintage accessorizing. I assume it never got worn again because I made it out of lining fabric, yuck! I did do some fun reverse french seaming though.

This is the second dress I ever made, an early 1960s cupcake dress, originally much longer, with a low, scooping, buttoned back. That plaid was not a good color choice, or the best fabric choice for anyone with curves, and I never really got the hang of styling it. Never mind that I was being lazy and didn’t apply the piping right.

I made several iterations of this ca. 1969 dress (Simplicity 8788) and I loved the illustration, but hated it in person and being a petite size pattern the fit was always totally off. Yet again trying to use piping to make a non-flattering color work on me (pretty sure this color combo was Calvin Klein inspired). I remember buying the putty-colored linen because it had silver sparkles and was on super sale.

This was a really weird 1970’s dress where I doctored the yoke with buttons and MORE PIPING to be…prairie-ish? Eastern European-ish? Star Trek-ish? Not really sure. I really had no sense of how to buy a fabric that looked good on me AND worked for the pattern, and then I would just trim it like a Christmas tree to try and fix it.

This was one of my favorite dresses EVER, mostly because of the fabric (finally, good fabric!), and the memory of wearing it to the first Sew Weekly meetup in NYC, where I met many wonderful people. It was one of those life-defining moments for me. I feel like the sewing community has grown, over-commodified, and fractured a lot over the years to the point of not really feeling like a community at all anymore. Sadly, the dress was a bit too big, and after I let one of my sisters borrow it, she accidentally donated it. I wish JoAnn’s would reissue this fabric. The pattern was from the Project Runway by Simplicity line – Simplicity 2360.

This one was a 1970’s pattern (hence the cheesy disco pose), which included a hood! It was one of my early attempts with knits The light blue fabric was too thin and drapey and I didn’t apply the piping right in the dark blue one (dear Past Alyssa, stop with the piping!) I really liked those felt 3-d flowers I made for it though – something to remember in future for a ’50s dress or skirt.

McCall’s 6659 lasted one summer. It was a maxi jersey dress with block piecing, but it is pretty shapeless, and that bias-cut top just ended up stretching out weirdly.

MMM ’13

This is one that I always struggled to wear after making it in 2011 – bias and my figure just aren’t friends. I tried to make it work because I loved the fabric. Simplicity 2418.

MMM ’19

I’m surprised my Victory Pattern’s Lola sweatshirt dress wasn’t in more MMMs (I made it in 2015) as it is the only sort-of cold weather item I’ve sewn. It is sitting in my to-donate pile because I’ve always found the short sleeves impractical, and alas, I do not have enough fabric to remake them. I’ve made four of these over the years, but the other three were gifts.

MMM ’20

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