Hot! UFO (unusual fabric outfit)

UFO Challenge


The Facts:











Fabric: Three and a half yards of thrifted fabric
Pattern: Butterick 5708
Year: 1953
Notions: invsible zipper
Time to complete: About 6 hours
First worn: Mid October for this photo-shoot
Wear again? Yes! Definitely next summer
Total price: It’s been in my stash for over a year. Probably just a few dollars

When I first came across this fabric at the thrift, I knew I had to have it. What I would make out of it was another story. It’s been lurking in the fabric stash for well over a year. When the UFO challenge came up, this bold, daring giant polka-dot fabric screamed to be made into something. I knew it would have to be a fifties look, something with a full-gathered skirt to show off all of the big dots. I hunted through my patterns until I came across the ideal one. I love trying out new patterns, and I have been very curious to see just how this one would look made up. So I thought, I’ll use this one as a muslin and just go for it.  I put it all together, and even put the zipper in, without once trying it on. When I had finished, I put it on, and fiddled with the ties, which as you can see from the line-art photo, can be tied in numerous ways. I found the one I liked best and was pleasantly surprised at the perfect fit and the over-all look of the dress.

This is another of my highly recommended patterns for sewers. It has only five pieces. The bodice pieces must be cut on the bias, so you have to be careful while cutting to line up the arrow with the grain. I did not have enough fabric to cut four panels for the front and back skirt pieces, but I’m happy with how it turned out with just two. Both are the width of the fabric and I think it is full enough. I will make this again someday, perhaps for one of the daughters. It’s so cute!

Our Indian Summer has lasted through Mid-October, so I am able to take advantage of the warm weather to model my very summery dress. Soon it will be rainy and cold and I will start making outfits that are more in line with the seasons. I just had to rescue this UFO piece of fabric from the midst of all the other more contemporary materials in my collection. I am so glad I did too. I just love it!

Today I have the advantage of not one, but two visiting daughters to help me with make up, styling and the photo-shoot. My husband who has become a great photographer this past year, is recovering from knee surgery, so I couldn’t possibly ask him to get down on his knees for the perfect angle, now could I?

I have more make up on than ever, including false eye lashes! It’s great fun to have the girls pay so much attention to me and my sewing.





Barbara is a resident of Northern California. She loves to sew and has pledged not to buy retail clothes for the year of 2012. That means she has to make her own, or buy it at a thrift store. I hope she doesn't spend too much on fabric. When she shops for fabric her eyes light up as she imagines the possibilities! She's like a kid in a candy store.


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  1. I love everything about this – the huge polka dots and the pattern! And what a lovely background for photos : ) I hope your husband has a speedy recovery but how nice to have your girls home to help you out. Kudos on the fake eyelashes ; )

  2. I have this pattern, but have not yet sewn it up. Your version is so beautiful and I love your fabric choice!

  3. Love your dress.The polka dot fabric is perfect for this pattern.. Happy sewing.

  4. Oh my goodness, I LOVE this dress so much! It’s totally gorgeous and glamorous and you look absolutely stunning in it!! What a success!

  5. How cute! What a great use of the fabric. I’ve always wondered about this pattern – how do the other tying options work out? Were they all do-able, or were some verging on wishful thinking on the part of the pattern designer?

    • I think the “wishful thinking” would be more accurate. I didn’t even try tying it under my arms. I think bows under your armpits would look rather funny!
      Thank you for the nice compliment, I think it’s very cute too.

  6. I love the dress! And the hair and make-up looks great! Did Renee help with the hair-do? LOVE!

  7. Love love this dress Barbara!!!! You look so dainty and cute in it.

  8. What a lovely dress! I want one!

  9. Lovely. Your posts always make me smile and inspire me to get started on my next sewing adventure. Thanks so much for brightening my days this past year.

  10. You look absolutely gorgeous! I have been wondering about this pattern since it came out, and now I am inspired to try it.

  11. That is really sweet! It really suits you and you should wear the falsies everyday – they look great! I have this pattern too and had not realized the bodice was cut on the bias – I can’t wait to make it now!

  12. Barbara you look stunning, the perfect pattern choice for this lovely thrifted fabric. Yay for your daughters pitching in on the fun. I think this could be my favourite of yours. Just lovely.

  13. So beautiful! The dress, make-up, photo shoot are really so lovely. I have this pattern and have just bumped it up in my que!

  14. This dress is totally awesome, you have a real eye for making the best of a fabric. And your makeup makes you look totally stunning. The blusher, eyeliner and falsies in particular are perfect. So pretty :)