Hot! The “Polka Dot Madness” outift and a bonus : )

Polka dots galore!

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton print from stash
Pattern: Simplicity 5059 & online tutorial
Year: Contemporary
Notions: 5 buttons from stash
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: January 2012
Wear again? yes!

Total Cost: Free…plus $5 for the waist cincher

I bought this pattern somewhere around 2005/6 thinking it would be a cute work-shirt. Then I changed jobs and wore a uniform of sorts everyday so this fell down….down….down….the stack. About a year and a half ago, while researching some online corset patterns I came across a tutorial written by a woman in Finland (!) for an underbust corset/waist cincher. It took me about 30 minutes at lunch to draft it to fit MY measurements and then I hopped off BART on my way home from work and went to a little fabric store in the Mission and found my fav – polka dots. Shocker huh? Went home, cut it out, did a basic fitting and then….

A year later, I pull the cincher out of the back of the closet and say “Oh yeah…but I need something to wear with it”. I’m an outfit girl – so I plowed through the first dozen or so boxes of patterns and here’s an old friend – cute collar, sleeve choices, fitted body, PERFECT! I cut it out, even went to my girlfriends house to stitch it up, got it to the point it just needed button loops, hems and… it sat : (

OK, this is why I wanted to do this whole Sew Weekly thing. Clear out this traffic jam of good intentions!

Suck it in and up!

This turned out to be a VERY good week to finish this up! This kind of sewing isn’t hard, just precise. You need to pay attention and I needed something to pay attention to. It probably took me half an hour to finish up the shirt (not precise sewing!) and then about six hours to finish up the waist cincher. I was able to combine my last weeks last-minute run into Stone Mountain Daughter with a stop at L’acis for grommets. It did take me about an hour to cut, round the ends and dip in tipping fluid the 24 bones in that sucker. I suppose had Ashton kitty not grabbed one of the finished bones and run off with it (we still haven’t found it) then I might have finished up a day before.

The back

This week was just “one” of those weeks – from the Susan G Komen mess to a friends’ 13 year-old-daughter being scheduled for her second brain surgery in 9 months to the McDonald’s gaffe – by the time Saturday rolled around I had some frustrations to work out. What better way than pound the living crap out of some small pieces of metal with a hammer? HAH! Take that!! Hint – when it starts to get dark, its time to stop : )

What's up?

So with my plethora of polka dots you can barely see the collar but it’s there. I love the fact that the buttons have loops instead of holes and the sleeves are cut as part of the top. Here’s the other problem with letting something sit this long – it’s now too big : ) Yes, my resolution to get into shape and lose weight is starting to work. So the whole thing, which fit a year ago, is now too big. I’ll get over it. And just so you don’t think that for one week I gave up my beloved red OR cherries–

The lining : )

This is the lining (she says giggling like a teenager). I gave up NEITHER red nor cherries!

Nice kitty...

I need to thank my lovely daughter, Brittany, for taking time out of her painting project at school to keep taking my pics. It was her idea to use the lion here and the art installation with the tree with the boxed leaves above. I have come to look at the weekly OMG_do-we-have-to-take-pictures-of-me-AGAIN part of this as an acting exercise. This week I’m channeling a suburban sewing dominatrix : ) Take THAT, grommets, get in line, lining!

AND NOW THE BONUS – I actually had TWO corset-y projects laying about, desperately needing finishing. This is a sneak peek at one of my little side projects that I finished up this week as well:

My "Ariel" corset

I had made the body of the corset but needed to finish inserting the busk (center front closure), all the boning, do the top and bottom finish work and grommets. My actual costs on this were only for the interlining and lining since the top is made entirely from SCRAPS from various projects. While not a hoarder (yet) I did run a costume shop for years. At some point I had an idea to do a crazy quilt with all silk scraps, so I saved a few pieces here and there and this is one of the projects I made with them. I did buy the sea horse charms ($5 for 20) and the octopus ($1) after re-reading “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. One day, when this is done, I’ll be able to go to a Steampunk event in fine style, and there will be an entire outfit with skirt, blouse, jacket and hat.

All those grommets : )

For this week, just being able to pound in all those grommets was good enough. Let’s do more UFO’s, this was GOOoooooooD!



Loran is a Bay Area designer, stitcher and suburban farm girl. Having done theater for years she's finally taking on her most demanding client (herself!) and fashioning a wardrobe from her huge stock of vintage patterns and fabrics, all while writing her daily tablesetting blog. Let's see if she can keep up with both : )


Comments are closed.

  1. Get the flock outta here! A corset? That is crazy cool. Gorgeous work, Loran. I’m hugely impressed.

    By the way, 12 pattern boxes? I thought my 5 boxes was out of control…guess I should stop kidding myself, I’ll have a dozen pattern boxes too before the end of the year.

    • I FOUND the pattern in the first dozen I looked in, I probably have about 3 dozen pattern boxes and several binders full of downloads! And a few years ago I sold off hundreds of others…they’re like hangers, just keep multiplying… : )

  2. As a quilter, I love the piece work on the Ariel corset. :)

  3. You’ve got that precision piece down, wowsers! Beautifully done!

  4. Shows you that a little naughty can be charming as well. It doesn’t all have to be chains and whips. Can’t wait until I master the corset, any day now.

  5. The corsets are great–really beautiful!–and I love the little hat! Is that a clipper ship?

  6. I agree! Fabulous corsets! I love the polka-dot version, but that steam-pink corset is out of this world! By the way about those pattern boxes, what to they look like? I need something like that.

  7. SO LOVELY! The corsets are amazing, and bravo for finishing up so many projects in one week! Fabulous work!

  8. Both of your corsets are gorgeous!! Can I ask which tutorial you used for the underbust corset? My first attempt at making one didn’t turn out nearly as beautiful.

  9. This is beyond awesome! I just love that corset and the matching blouse! And the lining on the corset–L-O-V-E -I-T!!! The photos are amazing!

  10. I am so impressed with your work! I particularly like the colors/piecing on the second corset. really lovely work!

  11. Wow!!! Your polka dot corset and matching blouse is fab and your pictures are lovely too! But that Ariel corset, that has taken my breath away!

  12. Wow! I love this. You can’t tell right off that it’s a corset. Love the polka dots and the lining. Adorable.

  13. Beautiful work! Silk crazy-quilting AND a perfectly fitted corset?! I love the polka-dots also.

  14. Hi Loran, I’m inspired to try to make a corset and take a wack at the grommets. I love the colors on the thirs corsets with the seahorse. I bet Frida Kahlo would have flipped for your work!

  15. I’m in love with that Ariel corset! I, too, would like to know what tutorial you used to make it!

    • This one I used a basic pattern I had drafted years ago based on an Edwardian pattern – straight in the front with more curve in the back. I know a friend used a corset pattern put out by Laughing Moon patterns with some degree of success in her class at school. It’s just all about the fit so it helps to have someone there to poke and prod you : )

  16. super-cool. Long Live Steampunk! The lining is great and I do like the Ariel.

  17. Gah! That’s a lovely top and the corset lacing is amazing, but what struck me the most is that little fascinator with the ship on it. I have to make one!

  18. Wow, great job on everything! The first set looks great and the piecing on the Ariel is really lovely! Very cute post – though I’m sorry you had a rough week.

  19. The corsets look beautiful!

  20. Urban sewing dominatrix, whip us all into shape! You wrapped up not one, not two, but THREE items!!!

  21. WOWSERS Loran this is seriously amazing, you are amazing, three items? you are a sewing machine. GORGEOUS work indeed. LOVE IT!!!

  22. I’m in awe! My goodness, this is totally amazing and that scraps corset is a work of art!

  23. Wow! I love the ariel corset and the matching shirt/corset combo! I can’t believe you managed to finish all of that in a week, well done!