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Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Year of the Polka Dots · Navy

This spring we came across an online sale, and two polka dot fabrics just begged to be purchased. ;-)  I was a bit wary about having 2 fabrics so similar at the same time, and thus agonizing ensued in which I attempted to make two 1950s polka dotted dresses that were different in every aspect.  Neckline, skirt fullness, closure, sleeves, trim- I was even concerned about making the darts different on each dress.

Once I woke up and realized how much of an obsessive freak I was being, I just made the dresses how I felt like doing them. ;-)  They ended up being rather different in many of the ways I was initially aiming for (including darts! does that mean I'm still obsessive??) AND I actually made both the dresses in the appointed season AND I love both of them- so the whole experience was a rousing success!

The first dress was this navy polka dot.  I was aiming for a more late 40s/early 50s aesthetic- I'm not sure I totally succeeded (different accessories might help more), but I'm still pleased with the result.

I decided on a boat neck that would work well with most of my necklaces, and an edging of ric rac seemed like the natural choice. ;-)

I made the skirt less full than my typical 1950s styles, and added pleats to the center back.  I didn't think about the sash covering up that aspect in the pictures... oh well!

Slash pockets are highlighted with a self-fabric facing and ric rac.

I'm not normally a "blue" person, but a navy dress seemed like a great neutral for all the uniquely-colored bead necklaces I've been collecting!  I really shouldn't be surprised, but it has been so hard for me to think outside of the box when it comes to accessorizing this dress!  Most of my clothes have their own designated hat, necklace, belt, and maybe bracelets that match, so there isn't any thinking involved in the dressing process and there's rarely accessory overlap between outfits.

These yellow accessories kind of felt like cheating anyway, since they are stolen from my lemon dress!  Someday I'd like to become comfortable with accessorizing more. ;-)

OK, unrelated to the dress.... but I just love it when I have good hair days. :-)  And I really love it when those coincide with our photoshoots!

Oh, and since I mentioned them, the darts on this dress are horizontal, coming from the side seam. ;-)  I really wanted to do that on another dress after liking my silk dress last summer, so this was the opportunity!

I tried using several different patterns for this bodice but nothing was cooperating, so I just made my own.  The skirt was made using Butterick 5920 (same as the BBQ dress), except turned around so the fullness was in the back and pleating the excess at the center back instead of gathering.

OK, and another reason I chose navy fabric.... was so that I'd have a dress to go with my darling navy gingham sandals. ;-)

· As always, photography by Kathryn! ·


  1. Very cute! I love all the details, especially the pockets.


  2. Beautiful dress Lily! The blue polka dot is quite sharp. The yellow accessories look terrific.


  3. I have loved this dress ever since I saw a glimpse of it from your hair tutorial! I love it so much, that I made a navy polka dot dress with ricrac! I just finished it last night, so I haven't posted it on my blog yet. I can't wait to get some yellow accessories!! :-)
    Absolutely gorgeous!!!

  4. So, so cute! Love that first shot especially! Alex

  5. Your makeup, hair, shoes, and OF COURSE the dress are simply perfect! You always do such stunningly simple details on your dresses.

    the Middle Sister and Singer

  6. Love, love, love the polka-dots, Lily! And you look so lovely in it... ;-)

  7. Oh yay!!!! A navy polka dot dress! With big dots! This is so very lovely. I really like that you matched it with that sweet yellow. The ric rac is a wonderful touch as well! Yeah for 50s dresses! You are a 50s rock star and my hero!

  8. Sew pretty! I love polka dots! What a pretty world this would be if more women would dress
    like you. I'm a skirt/dress gal myself, but wish I had more time to sew, being I can't find any
    dresses out there. (since I'm pear shape)
    I was wondering, do you feel uncomfortable dressing prettily on a daily bases in a world of
    jeans, tshirts, sneakers,? well you know what I mean. I usually don't but sometimes they do
    ask me why Iam so dressed up. LOL -if that was the case they should see how I really get dressed up
    for a fancy occasion!
    Love your blog, your such an inspiration to women of all ages everywhere!

    1. Thanks Irene! :-)

      Yes, it can feel rather inconspicuous at times! But overall, the comments I get are mostly positive and never negative, so that helps. :-) Mostly, I just think that people don't know what to say, so they end up saying the first thing that comes into their mouth. ;-)

      I think the worst part is the "superior", intimidating attitude that most people already assume I have and that my clothes tend to reinforce. As for how to overcome that- I haven't figured that one out yet. ;-)

  9. This is adorable! I love the double polka dots between the dress and sash. And all the details (like the rick rack, neckline and pockets) really bring this dress to the next level.
    Not to mention, that WAS a great hair day! You look lovely!

  10. Love this whole look! The colors, the polka dots, the ric rac edging, the accessories and your hair!! :D

  11. This is gorgeous! I'm not really a fan of ric-rac in general, but this is subtle enough that even I think it makes the dress. I'm also a huge sucker for navy polka dot fabric

  12. Thank you so much, everyone! It's taken me a few days to respond to the comments, just because I wasn't sure what to say- you are all beyond sweet! You've definitely made my week!

  13. I got my dress done!! :-)

  14. I LOVE this Dress - I want it!



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