Can’t Resist

by Erin on June 24, 2011

Of the small number of things I truly can't resist (apply at the address below for full list), dotted swiss is possibly the most inexplicable:


Especially baby-doll pink dotted swiss. What gives? Am I a Madame Alexander doll? Did growing up in the 1970s, with a plaid first communion dress (trufax!) warp me for life, and set up an unslakeable craving for little-girl clothes? Should I just say the heck with it and go full-on Sweet Lolita? (Um, no. As much as I admire their dedication …) I don't know, but this is the fourth piece of dotted swiss I've bought in the past year. (Purchased: 4. Sewn: 0)

Any explanations considered. Or … suggestions for patterns to use up all this dotted swiss? Ones that won't make me look like a renegade milkmaid, please.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

fidelio June 24, 2011 at 6:08 am

Well, Simplicity 1577, just below, would work, particularly with accents in a much darker shade of pink, or with black piping/bindings and ribbon on the collar.

So would a shirtwaist, especially one with a flared/gored as opposed to a gathered skirt–something that would play up the crispness of the fabric without the touches that make it seem so much like a little-girl fabric. In fact, the more sophisticated you can make it the better–so avoiding gathering and making the detailing especially sharp and grown-up seem like the way to go.

In current patterns, either Vogue V2903 or Vogue V1171* would work; I don’t know that they have pockets but I suspect the cut permits the importation of same in the side seams. I think Vogue V2960, on the other hand, would be too milkmaid, given the bodice details. Something like Butterick B5214 would be a change–halter-cut bodices being inherently non-innocent on anyone over 14 years of age. I’m not in love with the back details on Butterick B5605 but I keep wondering about piping the bodice seams with a contrasting color, or top-stitching them with a contrasting color, which would probably be the saner course of the two.

*Making the big square collar shown in 1171 in an orange and pink paisley would probably be wrong, but a lot of fun. Or any other orange and pink pattern; there are some quilting cottons in that mix that are very much Not Your Grandma’s Print.


Peggy June 24, 2011 at 6:29 am

I think that the plaid communion dress may be the root of it all !!!! I grew up with a no-nonsense mother…………… short hair all my life ( to be fair I have a difficult head of hair) I grew my hair at 30 and it has been long for most of the ensuing years.
I also was never dressed in pink throughout my childhood (60’S and 70’s)so it has remained my favorite colour through my adult years !
I have to say at least the “Lolita” fashions are modest, in our world of “Britney Spears” fashion sense.


MB@YarnUiPhoneAppv1.5 June 24, 2011 at 7:09 am

Plaid first communion dress? I sense a future blog post on this topic alone. I had a crochet communion dress! How’s that for different? My sister wore it 10 years later and hated it! Hated it!

Anyhow, I share dotted swiss. I have at least five yards of a narrow-width white on orange dotted swiss under my bed. Have I made it into anything yet? No, btw it was from that infamous estate sale off of Devon that we both went to a few years ago. The dotted swiss languishes in despair!!


Cathy June 24, 2011 at 7:57 am

Wouldn’t it be great as the collar of the dress from yesterday (like with the print in yesterday’s post)? And also if you needed bias binding on the top pocket edge? Or if you split up the fabrics into one for the bodice and one for the skirt, it might make a good bodice fabric.


Heather June 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

Or, you could wear it 50s style: pretty blouse with a smallish collar and short puffed sleeves piped in black and with black buttons, under a black jumper. Add black pointy toed flats and you’re done.


paisleyapron June 24, 2011 at 8:40 am

I just found an Issac Mizrati for Target at the thrift store. It is fully lined and has *pockets*! It is made out of dotted swiss. It is a straight shirtwaist but the neckline and front button-plackets are scalloped (2″ long), and it has a wide band at the waist. It is really snazzy. So my vote is for a fitted shirtwaist or maybe a fifties silhouette with an a-line skirt. Of course, I am completely biased. My wedding dress was swiss dot. The way you accessorize it keeps it from looking girlish.


Laura June 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

I agree with Heather. I was going to say a sweet blouse with slightly puffed sleeves, and I love her addition of the black piping to de-little-girl it.

Also, you had best drum up a picture of that communion dress, because the masses would love to see that.


Vianki June 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

It’s the texture. I’m the same way with seersucker. In the store, resist the urge to touch it and it won’t leap into your cart. :)


Kathy June 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

Aaagh, me too. I’ve picked up yardage of both lemon yellow and peachy-pink dotted swiss on two separate occasions at thrift stores, and then wondered WHAT I was thinking (good thing they were $1.99 finds). They are so little-girlish, I need a style that will counteract the sweetness and not make me look like an overgrown flower girl.
I do like the idea of a straight or slightly A-line shirtdress, and the piping would go a long way to adultify it. (Sorry, dictionary lady.)


sewistafashionista June 24, 2011 at 11:44 am

A few ideas: if you sew vintage skirts and dresses is the swiss thin enough for a vintage petticoat; what about your basic oxford shirt, something so tailored that the contrast of the soft pink swiss would be interesting; or, finally, locate someone with a little girl.


Packrat June 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Dotted Swiss is classic. (Love the pink!) If the fabric is crisp, a shirtwaist dress or tailored type blouse would be great. If the fabric is soft, something with more flowing lines would be appropriate. Even your Heidi dress could be made up in a crisp dotted Swiss.


Lakaribane June 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I’m sorry, I’m afraid I do not have the clarity of mind and fortitude of soul to rationalize for or against Swiss Dot. I LOVE IT TOO MUCH!!!

I’ve been nursing four cuts myself this past year and I still can’t decide what to do with them, LOL!

Sursum corda, my sister.


Sian June 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm

If I had a lot of swiss dot, I might use some to make a 1950s dress coat just for the heck of it. Maybe it would look something like this: To make sure it wasn’t TOO pink, I would line it with something to peek out as I strode along — like this:
The lining would be silk crepe de chene, so as not to drag down my swiss dots, but also to keep out the spring winds. And if the spring winds were fierce, or my swiss dot was very light, I might add a silk organza interlining.

Even if I didn’t wear it so very often, it would glimmer happily in my cupboard…


paisleyapron June 25, 2011 at 7:38 am

I thought of something else…the fabric would be lovely made up into a pretty summer robe and nightie. Then you would be a vision and have a nice reason to delay getting dressed in the morning.


YYZ June 25, 2011 at 7:58 am

Explanation: I think you hit the nail on the head with the plaid first communion dress… Yep, I also grew up in the 70s and hated all that polyester, brown, orange & green, etc. Ew. Even then, all I wanted was pink, girly stuff and all I got was brown, tweedy stuff. Horrors!

Now, I am all about girly– vintage 50s is my favourite style and I am not into ruffles or bows or frills, but a good feminine floral and I get all swoony!


sharon June 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I had a white dotted swiss first communion dress, with puffed sleeves, in 1957! My mother made the dress with what was always one of her favorite fabrics. It had a peter pan collar and long ties that we tied in a big bow at my back waist.


bramble June 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I just saw Florence & The Machine and she was wearing a fire engine red dotted swiss very vintage looking long shirt dress sort of thing. Looked very “new”and fresh so…dotted swiss may be the new IT fabric!
For the pink I would do a sweet shirt that screams for that fabric! Or the nighty/robe idea appeals to me too!


Lissa June 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Or you could due it a darker color…is that sacreligious? Please don’t pelt me with spools of thread! I was gonna say the whole With Black argument, but since that’s been done let me just thank you for referencing the Lolita style. I’d never heard of it and it’s so pretty. Maybe I’ll start Middle-Aged mother of three boys-Lolita. I wonder what THAT would look like!


Pffft June 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Bedspread and matching poofy pillows. Fine silk tulle (same colour, and silvery white for trimming) for bed drapes and canopy. It’s fairly simple to rig up. Wouldn’t you just dream of sleeping in a homey swiss fairy princess bed?


Leah Z June 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I just bought some hot pink dotted swiss to be an accent collar and cuffs for a lime green and hot and light pink roses…lisette simplicity 2245

thanks for the suggestion


Ginger June 28, 2011 at 5:01 am

Not sure what you can do now, but in second grade I had a wonderful pink dotted swiss dress that my mother made. It had a big gathered collar around a scoop neck, big puffy sleeves and a full, full skirt. I could twirl all the way down the long, long Sunday school hall at my church. This was right after the episode when she said “I can cut your hair!” and did. It wasn’t nearly as well done as the dress.

So I totally understand why you bought it.


Lynn June 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

My wedding dress (1977) was made of white dotted swiss. One does not wear satin in Texas in July.


bridget {bake at 350} July 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I was a junior bridesmaid in a wedding in the 1970s and our dresses were dotted swiss. I think I was 6 or 7 and I still remember that dress. ♥ Loved it!


Lillie July 25, 2011 at 12:36 am

Ahah I have the same problem. But I think I’ve figured it out -pyjama pants! or, there is a very pretty spotted swiss in taupe in my local fabric store that I am pondering making into a flowey summer shirt, a la wikstenmade’s Tova top. Ah, the pull of spotty fabric :)


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