Polka Dot Dress 3 The Prudent Homemaker 

Last fall, my eldest and I were invited to someone’s house to check out the clothing she was giving away. Her mother said she had told her daughter to narrow down her clothing and wondered if we would like her hand-me-downs. This young woman is always impeccably dressed and we went over there a bit giddy with the prospects of finding something “new.” We met up with another young woman as well who had been invited over.

As it turned out, what she had decided to get rid of wasn’t really what Winter or I were looking for (I keep a list of items we need on my garage sale list). But before we left, she also brought out a bunch more clothes that she had been given by a woman we know. We looked through these as well, and again, came up short.

Polka Dot Dress Before The Prudent Homemaker

There was a skirt, though, that had a couple of elements that I know my daughter had been looking for. It was mustard colored (something we had been discussing after seeing lots of mustard-colored pieces over on this blog) and it was polka dotted, something we both loved. Winter isn’t really into maxi skirts; she looked at it several times and thought about shortening it, but still wasn’t sure.

I pointed out that the rather large waistband was doubled over, and there was enough material in the skirt to make a dress.

With that thought, Winter snapped up the skirt. 

It’s been sitting in the sewing room, waiting for the right moment.

Polka Dot Dress 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Winter used the existing skirt part from below the waistband down to make the skirt part of the dress, and cut off the bottom and the waistband to make the sleeves and the top of the dress. There was just enough fabric to make everything.

She copied a sweater dress she has to make the bodice

She didn’t want any darts in the dress, and as it is a knit fabric, it could go on over her head without needing a zipper.

Polka Dot Dress Back The Prudent Homemaker

Oxford Shoes  Book  (affiliate links)

 Polka Dot Dress 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 Now she has a fun everyday dress to wear, and all it cost was her time!

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68 Comments

  1. Such a lovely dress on a beautiful young lady. The shoes caught my eyes too, but alas, they don’t come in tiny sizes. How wonderful to use only creativity and time to create something so useful and pretty. Thank you for sharing it here.

  2. What a clever young lady to sew so well at her age! Such a nice pattern, too. I’m not a great seamstress at all, but stuff like this gives me inspiration. I know you don’t buy a lot of fabric, but for those who do, I love Gehman’s Country Fabric. I originally found them because they offered modest clothes and beautiful lace-trimmed nursing slips. Later on, I ordered some fabric for a baby blanket. They have a lot of sales and clearance prices, so it’s affordable and the quality is great. Here is the link to some items I really liked if anyone is interested: http://thejewishlady.com/gehmans-country-fabrics-new-items-available/

  3. What a cute up-cycle! It looks amazing on Winter. The colour really compliments her skin tone and the fit is just perfect. It looks so comfortable too. Great Job, Winter!!!:D Thank you, again, for the inspiration, Brandy.

  4. I love this very much. Such a wonderful skill, sewing! I wish I knew how to sew. If you ever want to delve into e-book writing, this would be a great topic for you or Winter to write on. And if she’s reading Jane Eyre, what a wonderful book!

  5. Wow, just wow! It reminds me of the beautiful vintage 1940’s dresses. She is so talented and would make a great costume designer, or a great designer with her own company! I foresee awesome things in store for Winter in the future! I was truly amazed at her talent in the frontier clothing, and this is just stunning!!!!

  6. It appears there is nothing Winter can’t do with a needle and thread. She is fast becoming her mother’s clone!

  7. That dress is amazing, and you could never have found a better match with the shoes you found.
    Knit dresses are so comfortable. That was a great use for the skirt. Lovely!

  8. One thing I have learned well from your blog Brandy is that material is material and long skirts, house robes, coats and other items can be made over well.

    Table cloths, sheets. pillow cases it is all material !

    I took an old house robe and made some beautiful Christmas stockings the robe was a crushed blue velvet and I was gifted a white piece of fur scrap and I used it to make beautiful Christmas stockings one year. They were an amazing gift!

    That also answers a question someone asked the other day how to make a gift to give at a wedding. I gifted these at a November wedding and the couple still loves them. I made them 3 total and baby is on the way so they have one for baby too. I held the baby one back and will gift it now at the upcoming shower.

  9. Another outstanding post. Winter has turned out a very attractive dress that she will enjoy wearing for a long time. It is a classic style and can easily be worn multi-season. With the knit fabric it will be easy care and will always look nice. The shoes are just perfect with the dress and a great price, too. Were they purchased specifically for the dress? They really set it off nicely. Does Winter have any other pieces that will go with the shoes? If not keep your eyes open this fall for other possibilities.

  10. Love!!!! I am wearing a mustard polka dot skirt today by chance! If she ever opened an ETSY store I would be a customer! I have three pairs of pants i bought thirfting that need hems and I do not know how..The hemming will cost more than the pant! But even with hemming wayyyyyy cheaper than new!

  11. Winter, you are so very talented! The dress is just beautiful, your shoes are adorable, and you look gorgeous in both! Your sewing skills and eye for fashion are impeccable.

  12. Beautiful job & the fit is great! This makes me look forward to when I get more time to see & practice reading patterns etc.

    Well done!!

  13. I loved this! The dress is so stylish and looks comfortable. Great job, Winter! (And the shoes are the perfect final touch!)

  14. That is very very nice. How did you manage to find just the perfect 1940’s look shoe to go with the dress? I like the color a lot. I prefer patterns over florals, myself.

  15. I have to love that color.. Here in my part of Texas that is called “burned orange” the colors of the University of Texas Longhorns. (we all went to college there)

    She has a lot of talent. Winter is an amazing young woman and I know you and your husband are so proud.

  16. They’re actually my shoes, and i would let her borrow them, but they are 3 sizes too small as she wears a size 10. She squeezed into them for the photo but a pair would be perfect for her!

    She has some other cute vintage looking shoes (comparable in price as well) that are her size that can go with this dress for everyday (when she is riding a bike) better than heels. You can see them in the post next week where I am sharing a vintage reproduction pattern that she sewed.

  17. Haha, my girls feet are all bigger than mine also! My sons are larger too. Are children’s feet getting bigger over time? I am looking forward to more pictures, that is for sure.

  18. Really pretty! It turned out beautiful! I also love the link to the hair styles. I wear my hair up everyday in summer and I saw some new ideas!

  19. What excellent sewing and design! Beautiful photos too. Thank you for posting, I am really glad to see Winter’s exceptional skill and hard work payoff in such a lovely dress.

  20. The dress is darling and Winter looks darling in it! And those shoes!! I love Winter’s classic style. Can’t wait to show my husband when he gets home…we’ve been watching a lot of period pieces on TV (currently the newest Father Brown from the BBC on Netflix) and he’s finally starting to notice women’s fashions! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  21. Beautiful job, Winter! I started sewing when I was in elementary school and it has been a wonderful skill to have over the years. Keep sewing!!

  22. I love that you keep track of items that you are looking for or are missing from your wardrobe.
    Many would have been tempted to accept things they didn’t need or want just by the prospective of them being given without a cost. Only to end up with clutter or unsuitable options.
    Well done, Winter on the beautiful adaptation of your new dress!

  23. I love how fearless Winter seems to be with upcycling! A lot of people can sew, but few have the vision to refashion successfully…she’s very talented!

  24. Sometimes people get upset when they want to give you their free stuff instead of donating it to the thrift store. If it’s something I can use, then I will say yes. I have to have a place for it, though! Otherwise, it is just going to clutter up my house.

    Not long after I had sold and donated a large number of items we no longer needed and was feeling happy to have my home in order, I was offered a bunch of stuff from someone “before she took it to donate.” Among her items was a large number of Barbie dolls. My girls do not play with Barbies; I ended up selling all of mine at garage sales because they weren’t interested. The woman was shocked I didn’t want them and rather incredulous that I was saying no to everything! But you have to say no if you don’t have a place for it, or donate it, because otherwise it will just sit around in bags and boxes with no place to go!

    I have to watch if I find something for my kitchen at a garage sale that I like. Before I buy it, I have to decide what item I am going to get rid of to make room for the new item in my kitchen. There just isn’t room for everything.

  25. Gorgeous. Love the dress, shoes, pearls, hair, subtle make-up and the props and background. What a fun project for your daughter with a fantastic vintage result.

  26. I agree that Christmas stockings are a perfect wedding gift! One of my favourite wedding gifts I received was a hand-quilted Christmas tree skirt and matching hand-quilted stockings made by my great aunt. So precious to pull out each year and be reminded of the day my husband and I took our vows!

  27. I was thrilled when my 7 daughters all took up sewing in their preteen years and amazed at how creative and brave they were about “reworking” a piece of clothing! They would start cutting an existing dress,shirt or even jeans and add different details and even other fabrics to make whole new pieces! Their response when I worried about them totally cutting up a piece to start the process was that, if they actually bought that piece, they had spent no more than $2-$3 so if they failed, it wouldn’t be a huge loss!! They would wear them to school and at first, as they were just learning, I worried that other kids might notice any flaws as their skills were developing! But, not to worry! No one did and as their skills progressed, by high school, they had several “clients” (other students from their school) who would actually pay them to repurpose ad create a piece for them! It actually became a nice little source of income for them because so many kids wanted more “one of a kind” pieces rather than off the rack identical pieces!

  28. Winter, you need to think seriously about going into design…or staging…or patternwork. Beautiful dress.

    Don’t forget — vintage and antique items, including sheets, pillowcases, dishtowels, clothing and such, can also be used to rebind and restore old quilts and other textiles. They ‘match’ in a way reproduction fabrics can never accomplish. (Muslin is one of the most difficult colors to match, by the way.) I sometimes buy up old cotton pillowcases — they’re 50 cents to $1 at our local thrift shop here in Colorado — then store my old quilts in them. When I need to rebind a quilt for a client, I then go “shopping” in the pillowcases. Works nearly every time.

    Your beautiful blog and calm manner is so restful and inspiring… thank you.

  29. I have always loved spectator pumps, and yours do match the dress so well! Neither of my two girls had the same size feet as I do, and my granddaughter is also three sizes bigger in shoes than I am. I do look for her size when I’m thrifting or taking advantage of sales! She got the stilettos out of her system early—at 15 or 16 and now at 25 is more conservative about heels, at least. They have to be comfortable enough to wear at work.

    The dress is adorable yet classic and I’m sure she will love wearing it. I recently wanted to re-cover the lumbar pillows I use in the car to preserve my back, and ended up using an old peasant skirt from my daughter’s high school years for the fabric to do so. They are not as well fitted as the originals, but all it cost to recover them was my time. There is still plenty of fabric left for another go-around too. I have been gifted fabric and notions from relatives who passed, and have kept most of it just because I have the space in the attic. But it’s time to get to using them. Granddaughter is always eager for new clothes, and she has expensive taste–luckily she knows thrift stores! She is quite original and will start a new fad without a care. She wore my Mom’s 1940’s-50’s mink stole a time or two. Then my niece borrowed the idea and the stole for her March wedding two years ago in Buffalo NY. All her bridesmaids managed to turn up with similar stoles, so they are out there somewhere. They looked very cute in them, too.

  30. The dress is beautiful but not as beautiful as Winter. The “mustard” or burnt orange colour does one thing exceptionally well. Because it is a complementary colour to blue, it draws out the blue in Winter’s eyes. When I look at Winter in her creation, this dress, I feel a great sense of serenity. A true inner peace.

    Congratulations to Winter for this beautiful dress1

  31. I could not wear that color at all, but it looks great on Winter, really great. I’ll join the chorus of what a great job she did with that dress. I love it. Now I need to go examine some things I have to see if I can re-use that fabric somehow…..

  32. The dress is beautiful and the creation phenominal. But those shoes , I really want to borrow. I have nothing to wear them with and I doubt they fit , but I just have this incredible urge for them. I believe that 30 years ago ,I had a pair of cream colored ones. She is classic, elegant and pulled together. Just beautiful !!!!!

  33. Youtube how to hem. There are different ways. It’s not very hard. Use matching thread and make sure you measure correctly for length.

  34. I’m loving the simple lines of the dress. Did she have any fabric leftover? I was thinking maybe for a ribbon on a cloche hat. I bought 2 dresses at a thrift store for like $2 each. They are too big for me. I loved the fabric and am planning on taking in the one. The other is a maxi halter. I was thinking about shortening and making a short sleeved jacket to go w it. It flares out. I’m pretty sure it’s more than enough fabric to do a simple dress like this. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  35. The fact that Winter has chosen to learn to sew is going to be very, very helpful all through her life. Not only providing clothing for less money, but sewing opens up a whole world of creativity. Creativity flows over into every area of life. Lovely young lady, lovely dress, obvious excellent sewing skills—a win, win, win.

  36. I saw the photos on Facebook the other day. What a terrific job she did with this project! And Winter is truly a lovely young woman, Brandy. How nice that she will know the homemaking arts as well as being sure of her own fashion sense. So many young women these days come up deficient in both areas!

  37. Another great example that making your own clothes doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg at the fabric store! Free and low cost fabric is everywhere; you just have to use your imagination to see the possibilities. Wonderful job on such a classy dress.

  38. What an ingenious young woman you have raised! The dress is beautiful, as is Winter, and I love the setting and the shoes. I have recently discovered your blog and I’m so enjoying reading it and looking at your gorgeous photographs.

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