Hot! My “It could always be a quilt” outfit

The Facts 
Fabric: Three pieces from quilting stash, two of them very VIP!
Pattern: New York pattern # 1779 for shirt, skirt self drafted
Year: 1950’s
Notions: Interfacing and 5 buttons for shirt; interfacing and hook-n-eye for skirt
Time to complete: ~4 hours + 4 days of searching for inspiration
First worn: May 2012
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$8.80

This was one of those challenges that I figured I’d just magically come up with some brilliant idea in the middle of the night, pull together the fabrics and BOOM! Done : )

Hah! I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do until Thursday. I spent three days looking through books, looking through boxes of fabric, asking friends for ideas… It started with the shirt fabric. I really love that piece and thought that if I HAD to do something with multiple prints then this was as good a start as any. I had several choices from two other pieces that were black/red/white combo to several co-coordinating prints that were so cutesy they were giving me a toothache.

What finally got me going was finding the Golden Girl of the West and her wonderful Mix-it-Up print dress! Isn’t she fabulous? You can check out her blog here. This outfit of hers is from August of 2010 and most likely a rayon or nylon print skirt/top combo. I also adore her hair, the snood, the shoes….

So I took my cue from her simple top and pulled out my new favorite top pattern, the same one I used for the Childhood challenge and wore with my circle skirt. The only thing I changed was cutting the sleeves about 2″ shorter. Easy, right?

The other two fabrics are in my “highly prized” collection, not only because they are cherry fabrics but because they are designed by someone I actually know! Sandy Klop designed the bottom two prints for Moda Fabrics and used to work at a local quilt store in town. She also does professional machine quilting and has quilted a couple of my quilts. The only one I’ve ever entered into a show won first place, partly due to her amazing work : )

I bought those fabrics at least 8 years ago and had plans to “one day” make a fabulous cherry quilt. When I pulled them out of the box they were so bright and cheerful that I figured if I didn’t like the finished outfit I could at least cut the skirt up and make my quilt anyway!


I wanted a skirt like Syd’s above, a little swingy but not full. I wanted the prints to work together and not look like I either skimped or was on my way to square dance social. I finally decided to try doing small pleats using my ruffler (you do know you can makes pleats with a ruffler as well as ruffles, right?) and liked the even-ness here, the slight 1.5/1 ratio works.

Had I know what I was doing from the start I could have had this sucker done by Wednesday and cruised through the rest of the week. Total sewing time was around 4 hours with lots of fussing in front of the mirror making sure lines were hitting me in the right place, considering whether I wanted to line the collar and sleeve edges with one of the skirt prints or…? The key to making these things work is editing! Otherwise I’d look like one of the Wicked Step Sisters I designed for a 50’s version of “Cinderella” and THAT was orange, yellow and lime gingham AND polka dots! (I’ll pull it out one of these days along with the platform shoes that match…)

I went a *little* overboard with the accessories! My cherry bakelite necklace HAD to be included and I piled on the red and butterscotch bakelite bracelets. I left some at home believe it or not : ) Those patent red “leather” shoes with bows over the toes are a very recent Target purchase. I’m telling you, ladies, since you liked my purple shoes of last week so much, you’ve gotta check out the shoe section at Target this season : )

My daughter and I went back to the local community gardens and park to take advantage of the 50’s Chevy wagon and the roses. I also tried doing Victory rolls with my hair for the first time in years. Turned out pretty well and when I took my mom an orchid for Mother’s day she said my grandfather used to call that hairstyle the “toilet seat”. I can see what he meant : ) BUT more importantly, my grandmother used to do this daily so I’m going to go see her for a one-on-one tutorial!

While I realize this isn’t multiple prints this is how I will most likely wear the shirt : ) Because I was so relieved to have finished this outfit and LIKED it I did a little dance of joy –

I’m including this last picture because it made my daughter laugh –

It’s a total blooper and makes me look like I’m in the middle of an “I Love Lucy” routine : )

Have I mentioned how much fun the last 20 weeks have been?




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 : )


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  1. Gorgeous! Fabulous! Just looking at your pictures makes me smile. I want summer to come back so that I can wear ridiculously bright and summery outfits like this too!

    And New York 1779 is actually a 1940s pattern, not 1950s, so you are ahead for next week too!

  2. are so right, hat’s what happens when you write a blog post late at night : ) I have an extra special treat (at least to me!) planned for next week so stay tuned!! And thank you for the kind words Ms. Dreamstress : )

  3. Great job Loran, perfect mix up of prints. I certainly don’t think you have over accessorised :P, love the bakelite. I feel your frustration when you have no idea of what to do for a challenge, you certainly pulled a winning combo at the last minute. The jubilee challenge? I am lost.

    • Yeah, I’m a little stuck with that one too but maybe, just maybe, at the last minute SOMETHING will appear : ) My first instict was to remake her coronation dress…

  4. Loran you look fantastic in red, but I say that about you and green too! This outfit is so stinking clever I love how you made the skirt makes me want to do one like this because it makes it look like a dress the way you have the fabrics there. The Chevy is a perfect background for you and these colors!!

    • Thanks Nan! I love that Chevy too and used to have the sedan version but at least this way I can visit and drool : )

  5. This post made my Saturday morning ;-) From your cheery, adorably retro-inspired shirt and tiered skirt with fabrics designed-by-a-friend to your grandfather’s graphic and astute nickname for victory roll hairdos, all the way to your cleverly assembled (and acquired) accessories. You are a beautiful dame with a heart of gold. Thanks for sharing your joy and success with us, Loran. Every one who reads your post is sure to walk away smiling, having been so entertained and inspired.

    And, all the fun you’ve been having? We’ve been having it too…with you at the party, how could we not?!

  6. Lovely! It’s a very nice interpretation of your inspiration. :)

  7. I really couldn’t work out how you’d managed to get a shirt out of this and thought you’d taken off the skirt bit! Love how it all works together.

  8. Another winner Loran! Love the three prints you have put together – they look lovely. Totally want your cherry necklace! I have been trawling the internets for one just this week!! And look at your skinny little legs! Who knew they were hiding under all your skirts!? I think you should give some 50’s style capri pants a whirl?!

    • I found the necklace on ebay and paid a small fortune for it and the matching clip earrings at the time. I’ve never regretted it : ) And you know what? Your suggestion about doing pants just sat down in the middle of my brain and won’t leave. Stay tuned!

  9. Hey Loran, you looking really hip girlfriend. I bet you can’t help smiling when you wear this cherry outfit.

    • Thank you Krista!! I can’t, you’re right : ) I’ve already worn the blouse twice and the whole outfit will be coming to work this week!

  10. gorgeous – and beautifully styled. Versatile too. The colours you have used are great.

  11. That is a great interpretation of you inspiration look!! I love it!! And love your outfit with the jeans, too. And, of course, the dance of JOY!!

  12. Just gorgeous, Lorar. I love the color combination, it looks so snazzy! Great photoshoot. Love the blouse with the jeans too.

    • Thanks Barbara : ) Dancing around like that I ripped the jeans but watch for my next post, I took care of that issue…

  13. Love this dress (that isn’t), the colours are so happy and you are so clever to make it separates. I have to agree with Kazz, I don’t think you’ve gone over the top with the accessories at all…..and yes, I LOVE the shoes again :)