Posted on 24 Comments

My birthday dress

Ferris Wheel, Castaway Cove, Ocean City, NJ

As I write, the evidence of our recent long-weekend away is strewn about the living room. We left the house in a relatively clean state on Thursday night, but Tuesday afternoon when we returned, we pretty much exploded through the front door, leaving beach-related debris in our wake.

I cleaned up the kitchen yesterday, because it was important to me to set out a vintage table cloth and hang up a birthday banner. Also, I had briefly toyed with the idea of making myself cupcakes again like last year, and I wanted a clean place in which to do that. I have since rejected the cupcake idea, but I’m enjoying the clean and decorated kitchen nonetheless.

The living room, however, still shows all of the signs of a family who dumped their getaway bags and skipped off to get back to their normal lives. It was going to be my Thing to Do this morning, but I got distracted by something shinier, and since it is my birthday today, that is my prerogative.

Let me back up here a moment and tell you about one of my favorite shops on the Ocean City boardwalk. It’s called Barefoot Trading Company, and every year I go in there and buy myself either a wooden decoration for the living room, a beaded piece of jewelry, a casual dress, or maybe all three.

This year it was a wooden duck named Molly and a dress. It was a simple sheath dress, comfortable and relaxed, and it was on sale for $10: a real bargain. In fact, it was enough of a bargain that I went back later and bought a second one.

New Dress #2 I had noticed that the dresses were constructed quite simply, with no darts or real shaping of any kind. That meant they would be perfect for taking apart and using to make a pattern! I could crank these suckers out by the dozen this summer, if I wanted to.

I wore both dresses at one time or another during our trip, and then yesterday I set to taking apart one of them, and tracing the pieces to make a paper pattern.

Making a pattern, at Polka Dot Cottage

Making a pattern, at Polka Dot Cottage

Making a pattern, at Polka Dot Cottage

So, you see, my original plan of cleaning the living room just could not be realized because I had to make a new dress out of a funky vintage thrift shop sheet, and then I had to take a bunch of pictures, and finally I had to sit down and blog about it. And I feel not one ounce of guilt about this because see above re:birthday prerogatives.

Birthday Dress, at Polka Dot Cottage

If it weren’t for the binding around the neck and arms, I would call this the easiest sewing project EVER. Binding causes me no end of misery nearly every time I try it, either because I do it wrong and end up ripping it out, or because I do it wrong and end up leaving it but hating it and never wearing the garment again.

This time, however, in what can only be described as a Birthday Miracle, I got the binding right (right enough, anyway) on the first try. It was still time-consuming as all get-out, and if I’d had packaged white binding I would have used that and consumed slightly less time, but at least it worked. And I’m happy with it. And I will, indeed, wear this garment again.

Birthday Dress, at Polka Dot Cottage

Birthday Dress, at Polka Dot Cottage

And now it’s time for me to go about the rest of my day, wearing my new dress, and cleaning (or not cleaning) the living room as I see fit.

Happy 43 to me 🙂

P.S. Knowing me, and my penchant for greens, you may be wondering why I took apart the green dress instead of the red one. Well, it turns out the green one had some fading on it that, once I noticed it, bugged me every time I looked at it. If I change my mind, I can always put it back together!


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Posted on 24 Comments

24 thoughts on “My birthday dress

  1. Love the dress, you did a nice job. I live in Ocean City, will have to check out that store. How wide was the binding?

    1. About an inch, but then it was folded to about 1/4 inch visible.

  2. Happy Birthday, Lisa!

  3. Lovely! Happy Birthday!

    1. Thank you, on both counts 🙂

  4. Sounds like a binding birthday miracle to me! Hope your day is perfect! Take care, Pam

    1. Thank you, it was quite nice!

  5. Love the new dress, Lisa. Wishing you Many Happy Returns of the day!

    1. Thanks, Jodie 🙂

  6. I plan on using “Birthday prerogative” in my December vocabulary from now on! Thanks for the tip & happy, happy day!!

    1. Use it with my blessing 🙂

  7. The dress looks so pretty! Have a fabulous birthday!! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I had a very nice day 🙂

  8. Happy Birthday! The dress looks fantastic! especially great for the hot summer ahead.

    1. Thanks! And yes, I think it will be very nice to have on those sweaty days 🙂

  9. Happy Birthday Lisa! The dress is just darling and the binding looks great! Wish I could wear something like that. I have hips and thighs though. You mentioned you found a wooden duck. Does your duck have a name tag on it? I have a cute “pink” one that does and I just love it. I’m glad you had a great day and shared it with us too!

    1. Yes, she has a wooden tag tied around her neck with twine, and it says her name is Molly. I have two others from previous years, and they also came with name tags, but the tags are long gone and I forget what those names were. My son has been using them as characters in some of his YouTube videos lately, LOL!

  10. Happy Birthday Miss Lisa PDC!!!!!

    The binding does indeed look lovely.
    more happiness your way….

    1. Many thanks!

  11. […] as well as a pair of lounge pants and a Barefoot Summer Sheath, as I like to call it (it’s this one I made last […]

  12. […] plan all along has been to turn some cute Christmas fabric into one of my improvised sheath dresses and wear it with black tights and a black fine gauge cotton […]

  13. Happy Belated Birthday Lisa! With many thanks for many years of inspiration and ideas. Just wish you could come up with an implant that would automatically enable my brain and hands to knit! I so envy all of you who can do so. One question. Due to age and knee condition, they must be covered, which would require about a foot more at the bottom of your B’Day dress. Would I need to add a pleat or a slit?

    1. Thank You 😀

      I think if I had to add another foot to the bottom, I would do one of three things:

      1. Add the extra foot with an A-line, so it’s naturally got more room at the bottom
      2. Keep the sides straight but add a slit
      3. Trace a dress that was already the right length in the first place

      I think any one of those solutions would make it so you could walk comfortably in a longer dress. Good luck!

    2. Excellent! Thank you for your courtesy of such a quick reply……

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