Hot! The “Possiblities” dress

The Facts
: Purple wool from Stone Mountain & Daughter
Pattern: Decades of Style 5007
Notions: Interfacing, zipper, 2 buttons, all from stash
Year: 1950’s inspired
Time to complete
: 4 hours
First worn: December 2012
Wear again? Maybe, if and when I fix it

Total Cost: $53.15

Not long ago Stone Mountain sent out an email with a 25% off coupon in it. Since Joann’s regularly puts 40% & 50% off coupons in their mailers that may not seem like much but that is a GREAT deal for Stone Mountain! I was SO EXCITED when I headed out to shop and I had the beginnings of an idea, to make a dress to go with the fabulous vintage purple shoes I had worn with my Autumn outfit. I put a shoe in a bag to match fabric to and set out. Did I get to the store with the shoe? I did not. Did I find some fabric that would go with them? Yes I did. AND I found this fabulous pattern, newly released from Decades of Style that was included in the 25% off!! What would have been quite an expensive outfit became affordable.

I wanted to do something to honor my Grandmother, as I had done with the Mother’s Day challenge. Her favorite color was purple and somewhere I have a picture of her in the most amazing purple chiffon outfit with matching shoes so this was “supposed” to be my modern version of that outfit.

The week started out with a flooded garage (from that series of 4 storms in 4 days that gave us the great pictures last week) and I took the day off work to pull everything out, dry things off and re-pack/organize/toss. Wednesday one of the chickens was killed by a mid-afternoon raccoon attack and by Thursday I thought I was coming down with the cold du jour so I crawled onto the couch with 2 dogs and a cat and hibernated.

I didn’t start the dress until Friday when I cut out a muslin of the top. I was a little nervous how those pleated bodice panels worked but I followed the directions carefully and all went well. I figured I’d have all day Saturday to sew and wasn’t worried. I should have worried : )

Here’s what I like about the pattern:

~Easy to follow directions,

~Few pattern pieces.

~Great style.

Things I didn’t like:

~Side zipper – yes, it’s period but I don’t like them so I cut the back bodice with a center back seam rather than on the fold.

~Those skirt insets – yes, they’re half of the design elements but I just couldn’t get them to work quite right on me. I have a feeling if I either line the entire skirt with a lining fabric with some stretch everything will stay where it’s supposed to be. Either that or back the insets with some power mesh but the wool is so nice I’d really like to line it. It looks great on the mannequin but when I went to do photos I managed to pop the buttons off because I had done such a fabulous job sewing them on the begin with : )

~The neck edge facing – woke up at 4 am on Sunday trying to solve the problem of the bubbling. Figured it had to do with one side being sewn from the center back down while the other side was sewn from the center front up. That and the feed dogs of my machine need some adjusting. Did I get up at 5 am to fix it? I did not. So it’s uneven and icky. I’m over it.

This dress REALLY needs a couple things – lining and a professional press job. I was so discouraged by the time I was ready to hem it that I didn’t even want to do THAT! I forced myself to try it on (again), cut 2″ off the skirt and then put a 2 1/4″ hem in it. I pulled out my grandmothers high school graduation pin:

We found it in the corner of my grandfather’s jewelry box when we moved him into an extended care facility many years ago. My mother is sure that if he’d known about it he would have tossed it. They divorced in the mid-60’s and it was NOT amicable. We have so few things of hers that I cherish this.

I went to look for the shoes and found…one. Then I went to get a pair of earrings that would go with the pin and found…one. I couldn’t find any of my usual photographers home so was setting up to take pics with the automatic timer feature when Heidi called and was available. I hiked it up to her house with a bag of “ornaments”. My grandmother made those too : )

By the time I got to this point, with one shoe, popped button and pouffy skirt details I was SO OVER this dress that Heidi and I joked about my bad attitude. You want to see someone with some REAL style?

Miss Isabella is rockin’ the leopard pants, pink & black plaid skirt and butterfly shirt : )

Here’s the one shoe I have:

That little button in the center would go really nicely with the button detail on the pocket when I get them sewn back on and find the mate.

Honestly, this is going into the back of the closet. It has great potential, needs some work but I need to find my sewing patience before I tackle it. It shouldn’t have been *that* hard, I just wasn’t in the best place to deal with it.

To salvage the whole day I did a little photoshop project:

Yeah, I wish : )

Here’s to a MUCH better week next week. I have plans and they include YET ANOTHER fabulous vintage car!!



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. It’s a shame you’re not feeling the love for this dress at the moment, as I think it’s going to be fabulous once you get it to a state you’re happy with! The style and colour are both lovely on you, and those skirt inserts are so interesting and cute! I really hope you go back to this one day and fall in love with it. :-)

  2. oh i how what you mean when you just don’t feel it.. the detail are stunning and the colour. woww I want that pattern,

    • Yeah, you get your hopes and expectations up and it just doesn’t work out. It definitely has potential, I’m just not in the right place to get things fixed. If you haven’t seen this little company’s patterns check them out, they’be got some really nice things and I’ve used three of their patterns so far. All are easy to put together, I’m sure my issues with this one have to do with ME and not the pattern : )

  3. Loran, you never fail to make me go ‘oooh’ when I see your makes- I hope you come to love this- it’s a stunner, really.

    • Thank you so much : ) And thank you for the kind comments you’ve left on my blog. I’m barely keeping up with work and posting here but I WILL get back to my own soon!!
      This dress will have it’s day, just not in the next few weeks : )

  4. I agree with Kat. This is beautiful on you. It shows off your shape so nicely and I really love the pattern and color. Hopefully you can spiff it up and love it!

    • Thank you Erin. I think I just need to work on it when I don’t have a ton of other stuff with major deadlines pressing on me. It IS a lovely pattern and very nice fabric and I really DO want to love it!

  5. That’s an awesome pattern, and the wool is so pretty. Despite your sad story, I think it looks pretty good. I bet that once you finish it, without the rush of deadlines, it will be fabulous. Are you really wearing just one purple shoe in that picture? Haha. You have a way of making it work but also being very sincere about the ups and downs. I’m very impressed. I like how you keep it real. :)

    • You are absolutely right Barbara! I’ll just set it aside for a month or two and go back to it. Yes, I really am wearing just one purple shoe, STILL haven’t found the other. One of these days, when it’s meant to be, it will turn up : )

  6. Love this Loran, it will be a beautiful dress (it actually already is) when your heart can love it again. That graduation pin is lovely to and I’m glad your Grandfather didn’t throw it. The colour is so beautiful on you and the neckline and quality of your sewing (even if you’re too hard on yourself) consistently blow me away each week. How you achieved all this from Friday after flooded garage ETC….wow. Seriously impressed by your photoshopping too. Though I’m going to be honest, I want to steal Miss Isabella and her perfect style savvy ;) A girl after my own heart.

    • It WILL be pretty when I get it fixed, in a month or two or three : ) Miss Isabella is quite the fashion plate and I have to admit, she has some Tempest qualities about her. I relayed your comments to her mom and we decided that one day very soon we’re going to dress like Isabella, watch cartoons, eat silly snacks and take pictures of our party! When Heidi was pregnant with Isabella she called me one day and asked if I’d like to hang out with her. It was towards the end of the pregnancy so she was quite round and moved slowly so going out was tough. We actually lounged on her big couches, ate real bon-bons and watched the first “Sex & the City” movie. It was divine : ) and now I can say that yes, I HAVE had one day in my life where I sat around and ate bon-bons while watching TV!

  7. She’s gorgeous Loran, the colour the cut, just pulling away from it and looking at it with fresh eyes later may be what you need to do, get that lining in and professional press this is too good to be rolled up and shoved in a UFO pile.

    Looking forward to seeing next weeks garment along with another fab vintage car.

    • Thank you so much Kazz, I agree 100%. It will get hung in the closet on a nice padded hanger to await the day my patience returns.
      We got the car pics this week by the skin of our teeth and in between rain storms : ) It’s a pretty cute little car…

  8. That is scrumptious fabric! I made my first coat ever out of Stone Mountain wool…it was lovely. I’m dubious of that pattern ever working on anyone but the slimmest person. Those pockets are amazing, but look like they are just asking to gape over my hips. Still, it looks fabulous on you (the colour is so divine), and I’m sure you’ll manage to get it perfect.

    • Thanks Leimomi, I had the same thought about those skirt inserts only working on very slim people. I’ll try the lining idea, may even tack the insets down to see if I can’t make it work. Otherwise I’d be tempted to just applique the things onto the skirt! Thought it was worth a shot…