Hot! My “It’s all about the yellow car” dress

I’m in love with this car : )

The Facts

Fabric: Floral print in green, blue and yellow from swap hosted by Mena
: Simplicity 1882
Year: Contemporary
Notions: 1 zipper, scraps of interfacing, cotton/poly for lining, poly for skirt lining,  heat-n-bond from stash, and cotton from my mom.
Time to complete:  3 1/2 hours, more or less
First worn: August 2012
Wear again? Maybe
Total price: Can I get a Hallelujah for “FREE!”

I laughed a little when I saw “yellow” show up in the challenge list. I mean, seriously, what’s a girl who is two shades darker than milk going to do? Whether you were into the “seasons” color swatching thing in the 80’s (I was not) or just pay attention to what you see in the mirror, I am reasonably sure yellow and I aren’t buds in the clothing department. Don’t get me wrong, it took me years but I appreciate the right yellow in the right place in the world. My kitchen, bedroom and bathroom are some shade of yellow (ok, mostly the same shade since I mixed up my own batch of venetian plaster and loved it so much I just kept plastering…) BUT I know better than to wear it next to my face!

I considered making a skirt until I remembered this fabulous vintage print I got at the swap Mena hosted earlier this year. I used it for a table setting (Day 284) and liked the combination of colors, not to mention the slight Asian style of the flowers. It took me a ridiculous three days of searching to finally find it since I had carefully folded it up inside another piece so the print wouldn’t fade! The trickiest part of this whole outfit was the amount of fabric I had – 1 1/2 yards of 54″ fabric, or a piece that was a 54″ square with a border print down each selvedge. I debated about making just a top but that seemed too easy and I wasn’t very convinced I’d wear it. When I found this pattern in my stash I decided to give it a go since the yardage requirements weren’t too far off. I cut CAREFULLY!! I have a small handful of scraps left and that’s IT! My mom actually picked up a 1/4 yard of navy cotton for me to line the little collar with – Thanks Mom! – when she picked up my birthday present : ) I did NOT have enough to do the sleeves nor the pockets so I used basic white cotton and fused on random flowers to trick you. I’ll put details of that on my blog along with a picture or two of my new friend.

The construction of this dress was pretty straight forward. I didn’t, however, really read the directions (as usual) so I’ll just outline the “interesting” things I discovered about this pattern. First and foremost, they have FINALLY acknowledged that all women’s breasts are NOT the same size!! Depending on your cup size depends on what pieces you cut for the upper top pieces, in this case you can choose from A,B, C or D. I chose the D and it’s pretty darn good, so for all you full-busted ladies out there, rejoice! Off the top of my head that would be my friends Krista and Nan’s daughter but I’m SURE there are many more of you : ) Now here’s the caveat to all this wonderful-ness: the side seams on this pattern are wider than normal to allow for fitting. This is good unless you sew at home, late in the evening and only have cats, dogs and chickens as company. As talented as that group is they don’t have opposable thumbs and cannot, as hard as they try, pin fit a thing. Find a friend, phone a friend, train a friend but unless you are super limber doing this yourself will be a challenge. I have discovered that while I fill my cups nicely I don’t have a lot of boobage on the side so I took a full inch out of the side front AND back pieces. This fabric is also quite thin so I thought I was being clever and lined it but I should have listened to my inner voice and not only lined but INTERLINED it as well.

I put the border print at the hem, used some for the collar and the rest is incorporated into the midriff. I thought it might look like a belt but I didn’t count on the way the front dips a little and I don’t care for it. The sleeves are pretty good but a little big. I’d rather have slightly oversized than under and in the future I’ll adjust them down a bit. I *almost* didn’t line the skirt, I’d run out of cotton/poly and figured I’d just wear a slip underneath. When I had the top put together and tried on I found I could see the seam allowances, the fabric was so thin. I quickly pulled out some white poly and flat lined the whole thing, disaster averted…almost. I forgot that I dressed in the dark the day we did photos and pulled on hot-pink with black polka dot panties. You can’t see them here but I could see them in the mirror when I got home. I mean…seriously…

The main reason I finished this challenge? The car.

Yep. Some girls plan outfits around jewelry or shoes or a fabulous piece of fabric. I do it. But when my daughter and I were trying to figure out a good place to take pics of my yellow creation, without making me look like my liver was ready to give up, we were heading back from IKEA (that blue building was a contender) and hopped off the freeway an exit early to check on a friends garden. As we drove down a street we might drive down once a year the clouds parted, angels sang and the sun shone down upon the yellow wonder you see here : )

It was RIGHT there, parked under a pine tree, on the corner, whispering “Aren’t I fabulous?”

Oh yes… This is what kept me going all week. The thought of the PERFECT accessory for this challenge was just delicious. I drove by the house Saturday after the Peddlar’s Fair and when I had no answer ringing the bell I left a note scribbled on the back of an expired Stone Mountain Daughter coupon. Before I even got home a lovely woman named Sonny called and left a message saying that I could use the car and that if I wanted she would even drive it to my house! I turned down the kind offer but thanked her profusely for allowing us to descend on her property Sunday afternoon.

It’s a 1956 wagon, at one time I owned a 1956 sedan in red with a white roof. This would have been a lovely sister to mine : ) It also matched the yellow in the flowers on the fabric like they were painted to match.

The pockets in this dress are HUGE, you could carry a kitten or a small chicken in each one : ) Angie asked “Will my cell phone fit? That’s all I care about!” so yes ladies, your cell phone would fit nicely. Along with your care keys, a small lunch, sunglasses and kleenex. The essentials of life especially if you have little kids.

This is what happens when you ask the universe for some kind of inspiration! My thanks to Sonny for being so understanding. One of these days I’ll find a car like this again, when they timing is right. The song by Queen “I’m in love with my car” played through my head more than once today : )



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. Hi Loran, I love this dress and think the color combo is so amazing. I would wear this in a hot minute and have added this pattern to my to buy list. As if I need anymore pattern, I have a box I haven’t even touch. Curse those online sale! Ok back to the dress, it’s beautiful and the only thing that could make it look even hotter is that gorgeous car. I wish they made cars like that today.

    • Thank you Krista : ) Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get a car like that today? I used to own one and loved it. Ah well…

  2. Love this dress, great fabrics had never considered this pattern until I saw yours!

    • Thank you very much Kate! It’s a pretty good pattern and the fact that you can adjust for bust size is nice. Give it a try.

  3. Hi Loran,
    I love your dress [and yellow does look good on you.. and adorable by the yellow car]. I so enjoyed the story of the yellow car..Love the fabric, it was just perfect for the yellow car.. [and a pretty place setting too]
    I am totally blowed away.. I never realized you were the same lady who did the retro settings aday.. I LOVE that blog.. I read it all the time and have even shared some of your place settings on my blog. [with permission of course,ha].. Never knew you were the same,ha..

  4. This was a win win all round apart from the wrong knickers hehe she was FREE! Hallelujah! you found the perfect background to your dress SUPER!…two shades darker than milk? LOL! I let out a bit of wee reading that. Great dress great post Loran.

  5. This dress looks even better with that car. I didn’t say my cell phone though, I said phone and inhalor, everything THIS girl needs to get through the day. Another great dress for the hot days we get around here even though we didn’t take pictures on a hot day.

  6. Fabulous dress! It’s a fantastic and flattering fit on you. Love the neckline detail.

  7. Whether you are a fan of yellow or not, you look fabulous in this dress. The print is awesome and you look beautiful in it!

  8. Wow! All you need is a tall glass of lemonade in your hand to go with that unique dress and the vintage yellow car. I think the dress is really cute and goes with the car so well. Actually that brings back delightful memories, the first car I ever drove, the family car, was a yellow and white 1954 Ford Stationwagon. But back to your dress, there’s enough blue and white to make the yellow pop just right and look wonderful on you. You’re photoshoot is so fun. I keep scrolling up and down over and over to review them!

  9. Love the fabric and LOVE THAT CAR. Totally brilliant photo shoot, I think!

  10. Great fabric! And I can’t believe the blue matches it so perfectly. What a lucky score.

    Of course you love that car! I sometimes see cars and houses that would be perfect for photoshoots and want to ask if I can use them, but Mr D is always scandalised by the idea. Sigh. NZ restraint versus American enthusiasm!

  11. I simply love the outcome of your dress. I am so buying this pattern!! I have to tried for myself!!! Congratulations!!!

  12. Oh Loran, I love this! It looks so perfect and perky on you! I’m going to put this one on the “to buy” list for sure– patterns that know about boobies? That’s just kee-ray–zee!!

  13. Great dress and what a perfect backdrop! This was a great way to make the challenge work. Being quite pale myself, I know what I challenge yellow can be. Good job working with limited fabric. I wouldn’t have guessed the sleeves were once plain.

  14. That car is so much fun! Your dress is also super cute and fun. I’m with you about the multi-sized bodice patterns. I have bought all of the ones that are out there. They’re a life saver, especially if you’re impatient and lazy about fitting like me. :D