Hot! The “Life on the Nickel” Dress

The Facts:

Fabric: Light weight plaid cotton from Michael Levine $12.00
Pattern: Butterick Retro 5748 $1.99
Year: 2012/1950’s
Notions: Crochet trim and buttons from stash, Zipper $1.29
Time to Complete: 5 hours
First Worn: August 31,  2012
Wear Again: Yes!
Total Price: $15.28

I’m sad to have missed out on the Literary Challenge last week, but I needed the break to figure things out. Good thing too, since I don’t get a lot of reading done except for toddler books. So the inspiration wasn’t even flowing. But I am glad to be back this week, with a little more positive in my heart. Thank you to my Sew Weekly friends who emailed me and gave me someone to talk to during this hard time in my family’s life. Now on with the dress. I am not much of a plaid wearer, unless it’s a flannel….guilty as charged. So if I am going to make something plaid, I as sure as heck better love the plaid! And I fell in love with this plaid when I visited Michael Levine back in June. Thank goodness I bought it, or I wouldn’t have anything to work with when this challenge posted on the dashboard.

I love all the hues of blue and gray throughout this fabric. I love that I can wear it with my saddle shoes or heels if I want to. I can wear it to work, I can wear it for play. It’s versitile. The pattern I chose is a retro replicate by Butterick. This pattern is really easy. I do however need to take the shoulders up a bit, but other than that, it fits nicely.  I love the low back, it’s very feminine. This pattern is also nice to twirl in your finished product. The pattern called for a petticoat – which I don’t own and don’t find myself wearing comfortably. I opted for a slip. The ruffle on the front of the dress is from gathered crocheted lace on each side, and vintage buttons down the center. I got the idea from A Beautiful Mess. The belt I am wearing, I made last year for a wedding I was in.

Since where I live, Simi Valley, CA, is very minimal on photogenic spots because it is consumed with 6 7-11’s, 5 Del Taco’s, and more fast food and restaurants than a little town should supply, we headed to the next town over, Moorpark, CA, who still respects it’s old town style of High Street. These pictures were taken in front of one of the many Ventura County Fire Stations, which also happened to be next to a little park where M.E. and our sitter could play close by.

The title of this dress is a song by Foster The People. Which is what we are currently doing. Barely surviving paycheck to paycheck. We have hit some hard financial times and have to buckle down and budget carefully. Good thing I stashed up on fabric over the Summer. I just keep telling myself we will be fine. Everything will work out as long as we make smart decisions.



Bethany is a forever student in Fashion Design. She took a hiatus from her studies due to the fear of using a sewing machine and a long term illness. It wasn't until her daughter was born, she felt inspired to create again and dive headfirst into sewing by machine.


Comments are closed.

  1. I love this, especially the low back and the lace – gorgeous! Sorry to hear about your financial situation – fingers crossed things get better soon.

  2. Bethany, this is a beautiful dress. I am sure you will learn to be very resourceful from this experience. I hope things turn around for you guys soon. Sending love. xx

  3. Very cute dress – perfectly flattering and lovely with the saddle shoes (most jealous of them!) Wishing you and your family good fortune and greatly improved times.

  4. I love that dress! The colours and the lace accents are perfect.

  5. I love the giant buttons and lace detail! Super cute!

  6. Great pattern and fabric. I like the ruffle and buttons on the front and the styling in the pictures. My favorite pic is you twirling! Looks like you all had a good time, including the children. Keep up your positive spirits.

  7. Love this dress, the buttons and swirly skirt. It’s pretty and looks comfy too. Love your fringe (sorry bangs) too. Now I’m going to be serious: I’ve been there when money was beyond tight and we were actually going under for a long time….I remember hiding on the floor when the debt collectors rang the doorbell….I hope that you’ll never have to go through that, but seriously, if you need a ‘care package’ of zippers, buttons, threads etc to help you get through the year and do something you love to take your mind off things (keeping busy is fab for dealing with stress), just let me know and I shall post you some pronto. You can email me at fanbloomingtastic (at) gmail (dot) com. This isn’t charity, this is me wanting to continue seeing your fab makes. Seriously. OK I’m going to stop being serious now, it hurts….*blows a raspberry at Bethany* That’s better.

  8. Lovely dress – it really suits you!

  9. I would never have thought to put that crocheted lace and those buttons with that plaid, but it looks fabulous! Very sorry to hear about your hard times, wishing you well.