Hot! The “Golden Gate Bridge” outfit


San Francisco, open your golden gate...

Fabrics: Silk, twill and cotton for corset from stash, silk organza for blouse from stash, stretch cotton sateen, sparkly silver tulle
Patterns: All self-drafted
Year: Now but with a nod to The Bridge : )
Notions: One wool hat on headband from stash, plastic I-beam from Dad’s stash, 1 yard of 3″ elastic, 38 grommets, 8 yards lacing, 1 snap, re-prints of vintage postcards for hat decorations, LOTS of thread
Time to complete: Corset ~9 hours, Skirt 1 hour, Blouse 1 1/2 hours, Hat 3 hours including building a bridge : )
First worn: For this photo
Wear again? Yes!
Total Cost:
Corset $18 for grommets, pre-cut boning to save my sanity and lacing; $8 for skirt fabric and elastic

After an uncharacteristically unfocused week last week I had a SCHEDULE this week! I knew I wanted to make the hat and corset the centerpieces of my homage to the Golden Gate Bridge. After all, we’re coming up on the 75th anniversary of that bridge opening at the end of May, and since I was born and lived part of my childhood in The City it just seemed “right”.

I didn’t originally plan to make a corset, I had started out trying to engineer some cute suspenders in orange to look like the towers but was QUICKLY reminded that suspenders and my boobs just aren’t the best of friends. (Not to mention orange and I are SO not friends.) I was going to look more like a Sleazy Stripper than a Jaunty Chick so that plan was nixed. Then I was going to do just a simple waist cincher but as I cut the pieces out I decided to do more of a vest and then top stitch the pieces to look like the bridge cabling. I started out making a mock-up, figuring I could get to my girlfriends house at least twice during the week to trouble shoot and fit.

Then came Monday. As I basted the corset pieces together my machine started making funny noises and as I came to the final piece, it stopped. I was pretty sure it was the brushes so I called my Dad and ran the machine over to him. An hour later he had confirmed my diagnosis, found the pieces in his stash for my bridge project and I went home with the assurance he would have the machine fixed in a day or two. I ate a cupcake and slid into bed. Two hours later my Abigail chicken died. It was one messed up Monday.

I focused on the hat. Push come to shove I figured I could always just wear my hat. Sometimes you go with what life throws at you and the hat would be my lemonade. But my Dad being the Awesome Person he is not only fixed my one machine but dug out my second machine that had stopped working a couple of years ago and fixed THAT as well! He then handed me a can of as-close-to-the-bridge-color-as-possible spray paint so I could have an Awesome Hat : )

The Awesome Hat : )

This is also my nod to Beach Blanket Babylon, another San Francisco Institution : ) I’ve highlighted some of the City’s famous landmarks here – Sutro Tower, the TransAmerica Pyramid, the Palace of Fine Arts, Chinatown, the Ferry Building and a small Cable Car. And the Golden Gate bridge half hidden in a cloud of foggy silver tulle, just like it is in real life!

The Bridge

When I brought the machine home Wednesday evening I got right to work. I had the whole front put together and top stitched by bed time. Thursday I finished off most of the back. Friday we did the shoulder fitting and design and changed out the center back pieces. I fit the lining in, boned it all and finished off the neck and hem edges. I made the black wiggle skirt that I talked about in last weeks post in 2 episodes of “The Big Bang Theory”. It has one seam in the center back, 4 darts and NO zipper! I stitched on 3″ elastic for the waist band and made sure I could shimmy into it with no zipper before I closed everything up and hemmed it!

Corset detail

The blouse was originally going to be a long sheer jacket but lack of fabric led to shirt. I would have let it stay untucked but the wind was fierce when we went to take pictures so I minimized the amount of “stuff” I had to worry about by tucking it in : ) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the corset/vest and will probably wear it to work one day. It has a couple small fit issues that I can fix with a minimum of fuss. The inside isn’t as pretty as I would normally make but this week done really is beautiful. I also discovered that I’ve gone from a 38DD bra to a 36D and need to re-draft my waist cincher pattern thanks to riding my bike to BART everyday so yeah : ) The back of this IS beautiful:
Here is me being silly –

The city skyline is j u s t behind me…

And here is the full shot of the top image.

And just in case you wonder what the lyrics are to the “San Francisco” song, here you go : )

San Francisco, open your Golden Gate
You’ll let nobody wait outside your door
San Francisco, here is your wanderin’ one
Saying I’ll wander no more.

Other places only make me love you best
Tell me you’re the one in all the golden west
San Francisco, I’m coming home again
Never to roam again…

San Francisco, right when I arrive
I really come alive…
And you will laugh to see me,
Perpendicular, hanging on a cable car

San Francisco, let me beat my feet
Up and down Market Street
I’m gonna climb Nob Hill, just to watch it get dark
From The Top of the Mark

There’s Brooklyn Bridge, London Bridge,
And the Bridge of San Louis Rey
But the only bridge, that’s a real gone bridge,
Is the bridge across the bay

San Francisco, I’m coming home again,
Never to roam again, by gum
San Francisco, I don’t mean Frisco
San Francisco, here I come!

This is my Love Letter to my city of birth by the bay. I hope I’ve done it justice : )



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. I really enjoyed the photo session, especially bossing Charlie around as he took your picture. Make sure you wear this getup on April 18 – anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake.


  3. Loran you have excelled yourself. The corset is a thing of beauty. and your hat?? Wowsers. Love your work, as usual you never disappoint.

  4. Wow!! The corset and the hat are just amazing!

  5. Only nine hours to complete a corset?! It would take me days! Well done on the whole thing. I absolutely LOVE your hat and the tiny skyline!! So cute!

  6. Holy Wow! Fantastic as usual, but you’ve really outdone yourself here. I love the corset/vest thingie, it’s pretty awesome. And the hat? Oh, you sure know how to rock it!

  7. What a fantastic outfit – the corset is stunning and the hat – wow! Love love love the foggy tulle – just perfect.

  8. Yeah! San Fransisco! I just drove through there today, Sunday! It’s such an awesome city. You do it so much justice! Love the hat and it’s inspiration. Beach Blanket Babylon is one of my all time favorite things to see. Wonderful corset, kudos to putting in all those grommets. That’s hard work, at least for me. Great photography too.

  9. Loran this is amazing. You have got skills girl! You obvioulsly sew like the wind too – would love to see that! This corset is incredible – have to add to the To Do list!

  10. Aaaah! Done certainly is beautiful, and despite complications. Way to go, Loran.

  11. BRILLIANT! Your style is superb, and that hat is positively divine!