Hot! The “Dots and Houndstooth” Outfit

The Facts
Fabric: White dot cotton $3, black/green houndstooth suiting $5 – both from Fashion Fabrics Club, white cotton for lining $1, and black cotton scraps from mom’s stash $0
Pattern: Simplicity 2087 (top) and 2512 (skirt)
Year: 1954 and 2009
Notions: 12″ and 7″ zips $3, hook/eye from stash
Time to complete: 16 hours (16 eps of Make It or Break It. It’s terrible. Don’t watch this show. Seriously.)
First worn: For pictures, and then to work this week
Wear again? Heck. Yes.
Total price: ~$12

I have to admit that I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to print mixing. In sewing, I’ve only ever done it once (for the City/Local Color challenge) because I was trying with all my might to be creative and think outside of the box. And now that I think about it, I don’t think I do it with any of my RTW wardrobe either. I blame this all on getting boring in my old age because I know I wore crazy outfits as a child and teen. I’m also slowly getting over my fear of bright colors in medium to large doses.

This mix of prints is admittedly still tame. They’re basic motifs so of course they still “work”. When I bought them I never thought I’d put them together, but now I can’t imagine not doing so!

I made a muslin of the top and then used it as the lining because this cotton was a bit sheer. I’ve never made a muslin before (gasp! shock! horror!), just altered the finished product. But I really wanted this top to fit well so I made the commitment! In the end, the only real adjustment I made was taking in the side seams at my bust. I also used the selvage edge on the hem so I only had to turn it up once. The next time I make this top I think I’ll just use a regular zip at the side, turned upside down, instead of the separating zip it calls for. It’s wide enough for me to wriggle my shoulders in without undoing the hook and eye.

The skirt is another version of the one I did for the City challenge. I skipped the “sweetheart” bit of the waistband and just made it straight. I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it online. I had to snatch it up the first chance I got! I’m so glad I did. I just love it.

I didn’t try very hard to match up the pattern, but what a nice surprise to see how nicely it worked out.



Liz has been sewing since April 2011 but has been crafty all her life. Her full-time job is as a museum curator at a smallish institution, where her DIY skills often come in handy. Liz likes to sew while watching TV, which she uses to measure the amount of time it takes to finish.


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  1. I know you think it’s not very bold but it is. I think most people would just throw a black top over that skirt. I really like both pieces and am especially in love with the skirt. I’m actually not a fan of houndstooth but this green one looks pretty cool.

    • Thanks Gina! I’m glad you like it! I think you have great, bold, style and I know there are going to be some amazing outfits this week.

  2. Very cool! Love that houndstooth and the simple dot print on top. Keep mixing it up! :)

  3. Hey Liz, love the mix and green definitely a great color on you.

  4. Love it, especially the skirt. They go perfectly together. I know what you mean about mixing prints, it does take a bit of confidence. I’m still deciding whether my effort is worth saving. I think yours is definitely a success though.

  5. I think you did a great job, LOVE the skirt print. I don’t know if I would have tried something that bold but kudos to you for doing it AND making it work so well!

  6. Great mix up with the houndstooth and polka dots! I’m definitely shocked to hear this top was your first muslin, but then again you have one of those sew-straight-out-of-the-pattern-envelope figures I envy. Nice work on the extra fitting…the whole outfit’s lovely.

    • Thanks, Najah! I have to credit a) my lack of breasts, and b) my mortal fear of making a garment too small. I always cut slightly bigger, and sometimes do a slightly smaller seam allowance…and then I end up needing to take it in. But this one had so many darts I couldn’t guess and hope so much.

  7. I love the clear lines of both items. And envy your ability to wear boatnecks.

  8. love the mix! (I did a white with black spots top with brown tartan skirt last year) who knew it’d work so well! This is a perfect outfit. I really like that green.. it’s so unexpected for houndstooth.

  9. I love that you say you didn’t try too hard to match up the skirt, it came out perfect! I love it when that happens. Love this combo and love a great boat neck.

  10. I’m loving this print combo. You were smart to go with a short skirt length with the oversize houndstooth– it looks really cool and modern.

  11. Love the shape of that skirt and the top looks really professionally fitted. I also love the ordering of your photos, from shy, slightly non-plussed to brimming with confidence and joy….did you mean to do this? It’s fab. Very pretty photoshoot.

  12. I LOVE that large houndstooth fabric – it is just fantastic. I cannot blame you for snatching it right up! Love the blouse paired with it – you totally rocked this challenge!