Hot! My “Balancing-lifes-Polka-dots” dress


The Facts
Fabric: Turquoise Silk and black net with polka dots from stash
Pattern: McCalls 3858
Notions: 1 zipper
Year: 1950′s
Time to complete: About 5 hours
First worn: September 2012
Wear again? Probably, at Christmas

Total Cost: Free

This week was all about those decisions we make to balance out what we “need” to do and what we “want” to do. I “needed” to do nothing for three days after Gatsby, I “wanted” to play with puppies. I spent a lot of time letting puppies roll around in my lap, chew on my sandals and just be puppies. Around Wednesday I finally looked through my fabrics for appropriate dotty-love and found the black netting with flocked dots. Ohhhh… over just about anything is tons of fun : ) I dug through the shelves in my closet and pulled out a pile of silks. I have plans for everything in that pile, really I do. Really…

I decided I liked the turquoise the best. The entire process making this dress, from cut out to stitching up, was done in increments around walking dogs, playing with puppies and having to do that work thing. I didn’t have any issues with the pattern but I will admit to reading not a single word of the directions! I do know that there is a midriff lining that I just didn’t have time for, it came down to staying up really late when I was really, really tired or doing the lining. Sleep won, no lining BUT I have every intention of retro-fitting one. Here’s my other reason for “being lazy” – in between walking dogs, biking to work and all life has to offer, I’m also going to play around with Weight Watchers online. I *may* have to take the dress in not too much further down the road : ) At least that’s the plan but since I’ve stated it in a very public way I can’t not do anything, right?

The only thing I changed was I put the center front panels on the fold rather than cutting two. There ‘should’ be eight panels to the skirt, mine has seven. It just seemed silly especially when I wanted to make sure the dots all lined up down the center front! There are 4 darts in the skirt as well as 6 in the top. One of these days I’m going to add up the number of darts I’ve sewn this year, I think many of my patterns are dart-heavy : )

I also lengthened the bodice, I wanted that seam below the girls, not cutting across them. Once again, fitting things on myself worked out only fairly well. Now that I see the pics I think I’ll take the bodice and skirt apart, trim a little off the bottom of the top, a little off the top of the bottom and add the midriff lining : ) Make sense? I also discovered one of the basic bras I wear on the weekend is REALLY unflattering on me! I wasn’t feeling so great about this dress until I put it on sans bra and voila! Everyone was in the right place, nothing was askew, I felt SO much better about myself : ) My daughter and I headed out to do photos…

The sun was going down and it was windy.

More than once I found myself channeling Marilyn and had to keep my skirt down!

You can also see my cha-cha Yves St. Laurent shoes I found at the flea market for five dollars : )

Because there weren’t enough polka dots on the dress I made sure to bring along my polka dot bracelets.

They were a dollar a piece at the flea market. Polka dots and glitter for a buck, how could I pass them up?

But here is the ultimate polka-dotty accessory:

Little polka-dotty pibble puppy : ) We’re fostering mama Chloe and her eight puppies and this is why I’m so distracted. But it’s a pretty good way to be distracted I think.



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. This is fabulous! LOVE the color and it’s perfect on you. Congrats on the weight loss. I’ve been doing WW for about 6 weeks and lost 11 pounds and four inches off my waist so far (and funny enough, I mention it in my post for next week’s blue challenge). :) Here’s my problem with getting smaller though: I despise picking out seams and adjusting fit. I may have my mother do all that! :)

  2. Absolutely adorable- the dress and the puppy! Another one here trying to drop a few pounds. I’ve found myself making things that aren’t too fitted recently as I know I’ll never get round to making adjustments once I reach my target weight.

  3. Loran, this dress is beautiful..Love it on you.. Looks fantastic..
    Good luck on your weight loss.Know its so hard.. I think we are all battling..

  4. Wow, what a beautiful dress. I love all the accessories as well – shoes, hat, gloves…just perfect. And those puppies…boy, 8 puppies to play with?! This is a nice distraction indeed.

  5. An amazing dress on an amazing person! That dress is gorgeous. I love the black over turquoise. I love your cap and veil, I love the puppies you are fostering. You are a kind and loving person who truly cares.

  6. Ooooh cu-te! And the dress is gorgeous too ;-) Beautifully made, and such a gorgeous colour on you! What will you wear it for?

  7. Just too lovely! I think it looks amazing and I wouldn’t alter a thing about it. You look adorable in the pictures and I can imagine you,during the holidays, getting tons of compliments. Puppies are cute too.

  8. You look gorgeous Loran this colour really suits you and your styling complements the dress beautifully. It’s seems the year of the dart hehe.

    At first glance I thought you wrote Little polka-dotty piddle puppy :) god help the pup if it piddled on your fab dress.

  9. Loran, that is stunning. Well done on the weight loss. I seem to go up and down all the time and my favourite circular skirts never fit me – I am thinking of putting elastic in the backs – now Nana is that!?! Love your treatment of the sheer over the silk – difficult

  10. Love the dress and the bracelet. Wind is my biggest enemy on photoshoot days, and there always seems to be wind on those days. You polka dotted puppy is definitely the ultimate accessory. :D

  11. You’re girls are pretty amazing! Looking that great in a dress-seriously. If I went bra-less it would not be pretty.

    Anyway-I think the dress looks great! And yeah-I’ll be watching for those Weight Watchers updates. Go Loran!