The Muumuu- a tribute to my mother


Mum loved the muumuu. She adored the simplicity and  style of it. Not in a ‘you can hide everything under it’ sort of way but out of a deep respect for what she saw as clean, stylish lines . She loved the boxiness and symmetry. To her, the muumuu was a welcome departure from the figure hugging, curvy styles of the 50s. She didn’t do ‘figure hugging’. And thinking back, it’s a wonder because she had a tiny little waist.  Figure hugging styles would have loved her. But she didn’t love them back.  She hated 40s and 50s fashion, adored Twiggy and embraced the 60s with a passion!

The dictionary defines the muumuu as a long, loose-hanging dress, usually brightly colored or patterned, worn especially by Hawaiian women. Something like this


This was never what Mum had in mind.She wasn’t one bit interested in Polynesian prints.









No. Mum’s idea of a ‘smart’ dress was something understated and uncluttered. She usually chose a solid colour…….but never a bold tone. Now when I found this pattern on Etsy at BessieandMaive (and on instagram @bessieandmaive), I finally got Mum’s penchant  for muumuus. I just loved the simplicity of the style and yes, the clean lines. I don’t know  whether it was deja vu (I’m sure this is the actual pattern that mum used for me) or whether I  have finally found a little joy in 60s. style. You see, personally I’m a 40’s and 50’s girl…..I think.


But this? I love it! So full of potential! So many possible variations. And unlike Mum, I LOVE the big florals. I think this pattern has got black and white Marimekko written all over it. Not to mention polka dots!

In my inimitable fashion I opted for linen to put my own stamp on the muumuu. Blue ice no less, which I couldn’t leave Tessuti  without (;  This would have to be one of my all time favourite colours. I love white and I love bright. But I am a sucker for pastels in ice shades.

The dress was, as the pattern says, simple to make. I omitted the frill from the hemline as it was just one frill too many for me. I made the sleeves according to the pattern and enjoyed working on the detailed finish. It sewed beautifully in the linen.

DSC00245.JPGThe bodice was lined and I also lined the skirt because the blue is so pale……had the potential to be see through.


When I had completely finished the dress I unpicked the sleeves and reinserted them (what a pain!!!). The dress was just a little too  wide at the shoulders. I also cut 1 1/2 ins off the hemline as it all just felt a bit enveloping…….and looked a bit frumpy.

IMG_0317.JPGThe back is finished with tiny pearl buttons…which was no mean feat for me. Regrettably I am no buttonhole expert….and that is putting it mildly.

Overall, I am pleased with the dress and I think Mum would be thrilled to see me in a muumuu. I also think this dress qualifies as a contender for the vintage sewing pledge. I haven’t actually pledged anything yet but I intend to. Incidentally, my machine has been out of action ……being serviced. So I made this whole garment (and others) on a $99 spare! and I was very pleased with the results. It does a lovely zig zag. And because there wasn’t a huge amount of difference between the cheapie and my own machine, I got to wondering about the virtues of an expensive fancy model? I am however happy to be persuaded otherwise. I would kill for a top of the range machine.

Have a good weekend!







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