Hot! My “Plaid with a Fab collar” dress & hat

The Facts

Fabric: 3 yards cotton plaid from Stone Mountain & Daughter
Pattern: Butterick 5898
Year: 1930’s
Notions: One zipper, interfacing for hat, bakelite belt buckle all from stash
Time to complete:  5 hours
First worn: September 2012
Wear again? This fall
Total Cost:
  ~$18.00 I think

I’ve owned this pattern for at least 25 years, I even remember buying it at L’acis when my daughter was 2 and Kaethe Kliot, the owner and lace expert, would give my daughter little toys to play with while I shopped. I’ve made all the versions at some point or another and what drew me to this was that collar, the one with the buttons. I had originally planned to use this for the collar challenge (wouldn’t it have been perfect?!) but plans changed and I’m very happy they did. Check out my inspiration:









Isn’t she adorable?

I don’t even remember where I found this (sorry!) but she is just too cha-cha for words.


The key was the fabric and I was fortunate enough to find a few yards of a white plaid. I used a red cotton gabardine for the collar, I wanted something with body that didn’t necessarily need to be interfaced AND it needed to be sturdy enough for the hat. That hat takes the whole dress from cute to fabulous : )

The pattern is easy – took about 45 minutes to cut out the four silly pieces needed (front, back, sleeves and bow) because I needed to make sure the plaids matched. Stuart had to help hold the pieces down but his timing for letting me move onto the next step needs some work. There are 10 darts in total and I may add another set in front to help fit the bust-waist-hip a little better. It *should* have taken me about 2 1/2 hours to make this dress from beginning to end but I had at least 3 other projects going at once so everything took twice as long since I didn’t have a consistent train of thought going. That in itself was fine, but when I came to draping the collar and tacking it down I just didn’t like how it turned out. I don’t think the bow ends are long enough and I actually lengthened them a bit! I tried different loops, knots and buckles and finally settled on a fairly large yellow bakelite buckle to hold everything in place. I think it took a little over an hour to get that right and then the buttons shown on the pattern seemed superfluous.

When it came time to get dressed the belt and buckle I originally chose looked awful. I tried a couple other red belts and my daughter and I both agreed that the wider elastic didn’t completely suck. We headed to our local park to do photos but it was so hot we’d take three or four and go pant in the shade.

So here I am, wearing hose and brushed cotton (almost flannel) in 98 degree heat : ) I think in another month or two the dress will be great but today…not so much. I’m also going to make a simple belt using the same red fabric as the collar and hat, and I may go so far as to try a red pocket like my inspirational girl. I did notice that the plaids don’t match up at her side seams : )

One of the things I’m working on with great speed and with brain-power-sucking detail is our whole set-up for the Gatsby picnic next week. It is going to be SO CUTE, stay tuned!!!!



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. That inspiration picture is Heidi Rosenau, an amazing dancer who has the best vintage clothes collection!
    Here’s the source:

  2. Hi Loran! That’s a very pretty dress and the collar is pretty fab. Maybe you’ll talk a little about the hat on your blog? I’d like to see how you made it-

  3. Ooh la la, Loran! Love that dress pattern and what you did with it this time. What a cute inspiration photo to use as your muse. You’re a trooper to take photos in the heat like that.

    Red’s your color, I’d say. Great job on this one. Wish I were going to the Gatsby Picnic. My girls and I thought about it, but then as we started adding up how much it was, and how far it was, we all had second thoughts. I was looking forward to meeting some of the Bay Area Sew Weeklets. Perhaps on another occasion we will chance to meet.

  4. So cute! I love your inspiration photo. That collar is amaaaazing. Fantastic job!

  5. So awesome Loran! This pattern is beautiful, and your dress turned out fabulous, so did your hat! I feel ya on the heat! So not fun. You look great though!

  6. Great pic to inspire you – I do like your take on it. The hat is fabulous! I wish we had a little of that heat over here, but I know it is coming.

  7. I love that pic of you with the shades….you look like a fashion police hit woman! Love those sleeves and the hat…the hat is awesome!

  8. That is indeed a fab collar, and a fab dress to go with it. And once again, I must tell you how much the 1930s suit you!