Mutton, Lamb, etc.

by Erin on August 16, 2011

Here's the (slightly) age-inappropriate dress I wore last week Friday for my 40th birthday:



It's Vogue 8728 again, obvs. I have one more cut out (bright green, alphabet print!) and am planning at least one more, in a black laser-cut geometric eyelet. I also have THREE other pieces of dotted swiss (one blue floral pattern, one pale pink, and one black) that might turn into this dress. (This pattern really makes up well in dotted swiss; it allows for very soft gathers.)

Here's the bodice: 


Possibly hot-pink dotted swiss in this particular pattern is not appropriate for someone of my advanced years, but, really, I'd like to encourage us all to ignore that mental noise. This dress made me happy the whole day (lots of nice birthday wishes, cake, and some lovely phone calls from friends helped too)!

I forgot to get someone to take a picture of me in it — I'll try to wear it again soon (or the Liberty one) and see if I can't get one of my co-workers to point a cell phone at me. 

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue August 16, 2011 at 10:49 am

Lovely dress and not age inappropriate at all.


Eirlys August 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

Well, belated happy birthday, Erin! Embrace your inner sheep, I say, especially if you can wear pink. Trust me, this is absolutely NOT the time to stop. 😉


Anita August 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

When you feel fabulous in something, tell that voice talking about age appropriateness to shut up! Having hit the 40 mark myself, I have had that debate a few times, and decided that: a) if I don’t feel ridiculous, and b) as long as I’m not acting inappropriately on some reality TV show or other, that I can wear what I want. Also, once you get used to being 40-something, you will realize that the baby boomer’s have made middle aged a very visible and viable and fun time of life and that the lines between the decades blur a lot more than in the past. {See exceptions above :-)} And, a very happy birthday to you!


sewistafashionista August 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

Your dress is so pretty. I definitely didn’t “dress my age” for my 40th either. Your 40th should be fun! Happy Birthday!:)


Irene August 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

This is a lovely dress for any age!
Happy (belated) birthday!


Snezana Mahoney August 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I’m not getting why this is age-inappropriate for a 40-year-old.

Also, 40 is pretty young.

Please, everyone — let’s not let “them” decide we have to wear beige and gray for the last 30-40 years of our lives.

Don’t even joke about it!!!


LoriK August 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Happy Belated 40th.

Also, I agree that this doesn’t seem age-inappropriate. Unless the dotted swiss looked a lot more girlish in person than it does in the photo I’m not seeing a problem at all. And even if it did look a tad girlish you were 100% right to think that what really mattered was that it made you happy to wear it.


Zoe August 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Happy birthday Erin!!!! The dress is gorgeous and I bet you rocked it HARD! xxx


Jo August 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Ditto everyone above. The only reason I can think of not to wear hot pink as you age is if your hair and skin color are fading, and so the pink just makes you look washed out. And, frankly, I’ve seen you. You’re not old. :) Speaking as someone who’s two years older than you are and isn’t old herself.


Lynn August 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I am 53 and the older I get the more I want to wear “age inappropriate” dresses, though my age inappropriate impulses most often involve little-girly fabrics. It’s all a matter of perspective anyway. I thought I was “getting old” when I turned 40. Now I see little difference between 40 and 30.


Carol August 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I was just having a dream last night about a similar dress I had. It was jade green t-shirt knit and had buttons down the front. At the waist was a wide band of tiny elastic gathers similar to the wide waistband on your pattern. I removed the bulbous self fabric buttons and made my own from a beautful plaid ribbon. {sigh}


Helen August 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm

At our not so “advanced” age (I’m 41), I am of the firm belief that if it makes you happy, it’s age appropriate!


peanut August 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Unless 40 is a whole lot older than it usually is or we have somehow slipped back into Victorian fashions I don’t see how this could be age in-appropriate. It looks so bright and cheerful.

Happy Birthday :)


Edamommy August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Many happy returns! ^_^ And, pshaw – enjoy the dress!


lauren August 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Happy Birthday! And 40 is definitely not too old to wear hot pink dotted swiss, nor is it too old to wear that pattern. Especially if it makes you feel good! Enjoy it. :)


SG August 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Belated happy birthday! I love the dress :)


Kristen August 16, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Woo! Happy late Birthday!! The dress looks fantastic and definitely wearable for the next 20 or so years!


Kathy August 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Very Happy Birthday Wishes to you! I’m more than a decade older than you so I’ve had more practice ignoring the mental noise. It does take some time to find a happy medium between what society tells us we should not wear and what we actually SHOULD NOT wear (because it truly looks like crap on an older body), but I think your track record proves beyond any doubt that you have style, taste, and good judgement in your clothing. Plus, how could this gorgeous dress be inappropriate for anyone? It’s beautiful and I’m glad you had a beautiful day in it.


Emily Jayne August 17, 2011 at 3:04 am

Sigh, the old ‘mutton’ worry.

It’s a gorgeous dress. Either hot pink suits you, or it doesn’t. Nothing to do with age, everything to do with your colouring and personality.

Love it so much! Happy Birthday Erin!


Vicky August 17, 2011 at 5:33 am

Happy Birthday. I also, don’t see anything age inappropriate in hot pink dotted swiss.


kathleen August 17, 2011 at 5:47 am

Happy Birthday! A pretty dress is always age-appropriate


pbach1 August 17, 2011 at 6:06 am

“age inappropriate”? c’mon! it’s a beautiful colour, not too short, and not cut too low. well-made, and much lovelier than many of the clothes women think are appropriate . . . happy birthday! 40 was a wonderful year for me — hope yours is the best.


Tea August 17, 2011 at 6:42 am

This is a perfect birthday dress! It’s very cheerful. I adore it.


lsaspacey August 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

Whoa! Did you just call this even slightly inappropriate for a 40-yr old?! I’m turning 42 (and graduating from college) in 2012 and by no means do I think that dress OR that color is incorrect. I can see rocking that dress out in my 50’s and beyond. It’s not the age but how comfortable you are in it and how flattering it is to your figure. Don’t forget that, ok?


Monique in TX August 17, 2011 at 8:32 am

Great dress. More power to you!
(But the link to a blue floral pattern took me to a pink rose-print flannel. Nice, but not for this dress…)


Teddi August 17, 2011 at 9:10 am

I love this dress! I am sure you looked great in it!


Jamie August 17, 2011 at 11:31 am

It’s lovely. What a pretty cut and color. No worries. The fourth decade is really so much better than touted. (And beats the prior three.)


Packrat August 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Happy Birthday! There is nothing inappropriate about the dress. Just love it!


Crystal Arcand (3Stairs) August 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Age-schmage. Did it make you happy? Then it’s completely appropriate, and I bet you looked fantastically brilliant!


Stephanie Davis-Novak August 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Unless the dress is about 2 feet shorter in person than it appears in the photo, I don’t think it’s a bit age inappropriate! I agree with everyone else: if you love it and you’re not exposing any personal bits, I say rock it out!

PS – I am so in love with the fabric and the color, to say nothing of the pattern!


belphebe August 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

It’s actually very easy to take pictures of yourself. Perhaps a little more difficult with a cell phone, but I’m sure it could be managed somehow. You just need a tripod or a good support for the camera. Most cameras have built-in timers, usually a 10-second timer. 10-seconds is plenty of time to press the camera button and get in position.

The hard part is setting the auto focus, but if you tested that on your dress form and then stood beside the form, your pictures would probably turn out.

I love the dress, btw, and don’t think it is age-inappropriate. It doesn’t look too short in the picture. Of course, I’ve never worried about dressing appropriately for my age, as long as I look decent and feel comfortable in what I’m wearing.


Ruth August 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Happy birthday! And beautiful dress- look forward to seeing a photo of you in it.


Kathy August 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

And it turns out that the pattern is on sale as the “pattern of the day” on Vogue’s website!


Berenice August 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Leos rule! My b’day was yesterday and I think we look great in pink, in jade green and have the right to wear dotted swiss just as long as all the appropriate body areas are covered… Red is currently my passion in clothes, but only because emerald green is hard to find……


fidelio August 18, 2011 at 5:45 am

You, know, unless this was hemmed to a point two feet above your knees and worn with a big butterfly bow on top of your head, I’m not seeing the age-inappropriate here.

The combination of hot pink and this dress pattern is really pretty sophisticated; I’m not sure a tennager would realy be able to work it properly. Maybe if you called the dotted swiss hailstone muslin instead it would get you over the mental hump.


A Peppermint Penguin August 18, 2011 at 5:45 am

Happy Birthday! I was 40 this summer too. I didn’t look anywhere near so stylish. I was going to wear bright yellow linen trousers that day, but the elastic burst when I went to the loo 😀

May the next 40 be even better than the first and you look WONDERFUL.



Evalyn August 18, 2011 at 11:17 am

To the mutton/lamb questions I say:
If you can wear hot pink, you should, until they bury you init.


MaggyD August 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Happy birthday, Erin!


Heather August 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm

It’s a lovely dress in a beautiful colour. I’m sure you look wonderful in it. And, 40 isn’t get thee to a nunnery time any more. I don’t see anything age inappropriate about it. In fact, I’d wear it, and I’m somewhat conservative and closer to 60 than 40. It’s the kind of dress that, if you’re too young, can make you look like you’re playing dress-up. Enjoy yourself! And a Very Happy (belated) Birthday!


prttynpnk August 20, 2011 at 4:34 am

It’s a great dress- suitable for an ageless woman of dignity and style- I love it!


sil August 21, 2011 at 8:28 am

Happy birthday! Love the dress and it’s totally gorgeous. You’re a MILF!

On my 40th I wore a bikini on a beach in Mexico, and rocked it I might add.


Late Night Coffee August 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm

LOVE that dress! I’m 44 and I would totally wear it…and that color is awesome!

I think its really pretty….and very feminine. Hope you had a nice birthday in it!


Lorie August 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Okay, I’m really in trouble, then, because I bought this pattern and some pink fabric after reading your first post and incarnation of the pattern. I turned 48 two weeks ago and haven’t sewn in 20 years…. now I’m worried, because I think it is an awesome dress and I LOVE pink!


Erin August 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm

No worries, Lorie, it sounds like we’re all good on the pink and the pattern! :-)


Clodagh August 26, 2011 at 5:45 am

Erin it’s gorgeous! I would be heart broken if I was ever to discover you didn’t feel like you could fox about in it. It’s such a HAPPY dress but happy doesn’t for a minute mean too young. Clothes are to be enjoyed and besides I can’t imagine you looking less than fantastic in this.


Clarissa September 19, 2011 at 10:21 am

I had been considering this pattern for quite some time. I was worried I would look dowdy in it. It also looked complicated. After reading yours and a few others reviews on this pattern, I gave it a whirl. I am so glad I did. LOVE IT. In fact I loved it so much that after making one I decided I needed two. Now I have a printed and black dress that fits for whatever I’m doing: work, school, play, whatever. Thanks for your review, it really pointed me in the right direction. :)


minya, warrior seamstress March 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Tone the gathers down a bit & make it up in black satin jacquard, you’d have something pretty close to Secret Lives of Dresses #3.


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