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Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Year of the Polka Dots · Orange

I have had an unavoidable love for Everything Orange this year.  It's rather unusual, since I never had such an affection for orange before!  When we found this polka dot fabric at the same time as my navy, I knew it was just the sort of addition I was needing for my summer wardrobe this year!

If you'll remember from my navy dress, I wanted to be sure that the two dress would be quite different from each other- almost down to every detail while both being quintessentially 1950s.  Well, I think I came close enough to call it a success. ;-)

My facebook followers might remember seeing a sneak preview of this dress way back in July.  I finished it up on my Texas trip, and it's been a much-loved wardrobe staple already.  I really don't know how I survived all those years without polka dot dresses!  Such a travesty!

On my navy dress, I didn't bother paying attention to matching up the polka dots, and I think I'm sorry I didn't.  So, I did penance for my past failures by making sure to keep the polka dots in mind on this one. ;-)  There weren't too many places where it was necessary to match them up, but I matched them across the front and made sure to place the buttons on top of dots.  If I'm being picky, the front would have been better if I didn't have just a sliver of white showing on the overlap, but lesson learned for next time. ;-) 

The wing cuffs on this dress were something I'd been meaning to do for a while now!  I put them on one of my very first 1950s dresses and loved them, but that dress died last year. :-(  So, it was high time for a replacement!

The necklace was from my Aunt Daisy's house, and while I don't ever recall her wearing anything remotely like it- it's a great vintage-look-a-like! :-)

I like how the white cuffs tie in well with the white belt, necklace, hat, and buttons and keep the whole dress very balanced.

This belt was such a Providential finding!  I knew I needed a white belt for this dress, preferably a wide one at that.  However, I don't usually buy belts or frequent thrift stores, so I was going to be starting from scratch- hoping that the very first shopping trip would yield a result that was at least temporarily acceptable.  And I'm really cheap.  So it would have to be something in the $2-3 range, unless I absolutely loved it.  A tall order, I know.

But, lo and behold- at the very first thrift store we went to.... there it was.  My size.  Just waiting.  It is in the process of deteriorating, so I wasn't sure if it would be the wisest choice.  After thinking about it for a couple minutes, I realized that all the belts at the store were only 10¢.  Yeah.  I think I can swing that. ;-)

Considering that it is deteriorating, a replacement will have to be located eventually.  Anyone know of a site that sells a belt like this?  After seeing how much I like this one I'm more than OK with raising my price range from my previous one. ;-P  If it's a good quality belt, I'd be willing to pay more for that, as well.

These buttons were so fun- I love how they had slits instead of the typical holes!  I'm not sure if this is the way you're really supposed to use them.... but it worked well for me. :-)  I cut strips of fabric to make loops and then attached the loops to the dress.  Also, I'm still enjoying making bound buttonholes. :-)  Not sure I'm making much improvement anymore, but at least I'm getting practice...!

The neckline was based on a vintage pattern I've been admiring for years, but the bodice pattern itself was giving me fits.  I pulled out my super-trusty, brand-new kimono bodice sloper, added the neckline.... and it worked!  Usually I have trouble with my slopers fitting the second time around, so I've just been starting from scratch with every dress until now.  I'm so glad this one has made me happy each time! :-)

I've been a big fan of high necklines this summer- I was always more of a wide neckline girl, but they just seem perfect this year!  Part of that might be the fact that they greatly decrease my risk of sunburn and my need for sunscreen. ;-)

I wanted the skirt on this dress to be nice and full, so I used Butterick 5813, using the pleated skirt pieces on both the front and the back.  The result- a flared, pleated skirt that's just right!!  I love it! :-D  I usually find that full-circle skirts are really unreliable and "breezy" feeling, and since it can get rather gusty here, I try to avoid them in lightweight fabrics.  The pleats at the waistline keep the skirt feeling safe during normal wear, but still allow for twirling. ;-)

· Photos by Kathryn ·


  1. You are so pretty. You are also one of the best seamstresses in the blogging world.
    ~ Naomi

  2. Oooh. This is just too pretty. The color, the dots, the cuffs, the neckline, the hat - everything is just sooooo pretty!!! Now I'm going to have to look for orange polka dots fabric!!!
    Beautiful, amazing job as always!!! :-)

  3. Beautiful as always! And it's so clever how you attached the buttons! I might have to use that sometime!

    the Middle Sister and Singer

    1. Thanks Brigid! I'd love to find more buttons like these too- they're so fun and unusual! :-)

  4. Love this dress on you! The wing cuffs are definitely my favorite part but I really admire how you lined up the dots and even put your buttons where the dots are. Also, I really like what you did with the button slits! I have to say I think you're my sewing hero. I find it really amazing how you really customize each of your pieces using a bodice from one pattern, a skirt from another, etc and then all that attention to the details in your dresses! All your dresses are just so lovely!



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