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little dresses colloquialism
"This isn't making little dresses!" Where did this phrase come from?
2014/06/02
8:17am
syldjohnson
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2014/06/02
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I’m new at this…has anyone ever heard the expression “This isn’t making little dresses!”?  My mother used to say it.  It basically means “This isn’t getting anything done!”  I just wondered if this is something my mother’s mom came up with (circa 1930, Missouri & having 5 daughters) or if it has another origin.  Thanks!

2014/06/02
10:30am
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Heimhenge
New River, AZ, USA
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I had never heard that expression. I grew up in the Midwest, now live in Arizona, and have only ever heard it used in the literal sense. Checking Google Ngrams was no help either, as every referenced use was also literal. See this result.

So I suspect that the use you refer to is either an idiom coined by your mother, or at most a highly regional idiom limited to the Missouri environs. We probably have some other Missourians on this forum. Maybe one of them will weigh in with more info.

Welcome to the forum! And good luck with your search.