Floribunda Dress

comments: 88

I had to wake up the dog

Sleeper2 so I could use her for scale beside this: the ginormous dress.

Shirt3 What am I missing here. Does this get gathered around the neckline or something? Egads. This is a homemade/halfway-made dress I picked up last weekend at the estate sale Melissa kindly tipped us off to. There are pins all around the neckline, which is folded under once. The neck opening is almost a yard across. I TOTALLY want to party with the woman who was making this (or for whom this was being made).

At this estate sale, my friend Shelly and I, after going through the house twice, waited for Andy downstairs. When he didn't come down, we went up. There he was, squatting in the dormer with a big pile of never-opened latch-hook-rug kits, very psyched. He has designed and made two latch-hook rugs as birthday presents for bro-in-law and sister in the last month. He came out with the Wheat-Against-Sunset and Polka-Dot Mushrooms. I was across the room — there were about six or seven of us up there. This lady goes, "Are you seriously getting those?" like she couldn't believe it. I turned and stuffed my head in a pile of Christmas decorations to keep from laughing. Andy goes, "Believe it or not, I'm going through a latch-hook phase!" Big smile. Total silence from everyone in the room. Then him, loudly, "Don't tell me I'm the ONLY one in this room going through a latch-hook phase!!!" Shelly screeched, and this little old, old man right next to me totally busted out laughing. It was a great Estate-Sale Moment. Andy Paulson: I love you, you silk-screening/pajama-pant-making/egg-roll-rolling latch-hooker.

Anyway, if I can't figure out the dress, it'll go into the fabric pile along with what I showed you yesterday, for some spring/summer bookbags. And yes, those girls were very Virgin Suicides — I forgot about that book. I love that book. (Martha, do you remember when I read it aloud to you? Road trip to where? Let's do that again. Come out here, please!) I think it's all in first-person plural, too. There might be myriad creative-writing exercises around here toward the end of each month, when I pay the bills and write that check for my student loan, which I'll be paying for f-o-r-e-v-e-r at the rate I'm going. That paragraph cost me $10,000. In MFA-school my friend Andy G. always said, "Well, I don't know what's going on in your story. But I do know what the wallpaper looks like. And what everyone was wearing." And then I would say, "Exactly. The important stuff."

Floribunda. Now there's a character (and a wardrobe) I'd like to write.


Your story made me laugh so hard I almost snorted up my diet pepsi...LOL

Man, who could not love your stories, and well you too?!

My best guess is that that dress is an unfinished peasant dress. Just sew down that edge where it is pinned, turning in the raw edge and leaving an opening, then insert some elastic. Tres chic!

HAHAHHA. That is a great first photograph.

What a great

moment! Good on ya'!

I can't believe you woke the snoozing pup - but yes, she was needed as a model. Egads! I'm also thinking a peasant dress. Would black tights and white go go boots be too much?

Hello! Just came across your most delightful blog.. Truly enjoyed this story. Andy seems like the best. The dress looks adorable, maybe some tucks or a gathered pocket with a tie through it at the neck? Love to see what you do with it. That is such fun fabric. Have a good day :-} ~Mary~ IsabellasCloset

Sure, yeah, a drawstring neckline. Uh huh. For a great big honkin MAN.

Betty Bates says: February 01, 2007 at 09:58 AM

Oh my gosh...Is it a dress for a cross dressing Jolly Green Giant? I just have to tell you that I absolutely love your blog and it is because of you that I am soon going to have to stand in some meeting and say...Yes, I am confessing that I am a blog addict. Oh well...I am sure there are worse things. Thanks for making me smile!

The word Flroibunda does roll off the tongue quite nicely. I agree with everyone else, what a great Andy moment. I love moments like that and I probably would have paid money to see that old man laugh. Even if you cinched the waist of that dress with a belt it would still be ginormous. Odd, but wonderful.

yes, we'll all be at that meeting, Betty....and yes, elastic or drawstring casing around the top for an instant poofy peasant smock, not guaranteed to be flattering to any shape....and yes, your Andy is a prize.

I made a dress like that back in the late 70's. Both the neck and sleeve hems had elastic casings. It had a cute jumper/apron over top. It was a comfy dress; almost as good as elastic waist pants!

Enjoyed the bit about Andy's latch hooking, he is a hoot!
your blue room is my living room color - love that blue!
love the fabric of the gi-normous dress..

Thanks for giving me a HUGE laugh!! Is there a estate sale somewhere where I could find my own latch-hooking man? It's going on the list, man, it's going on the list.

I'm just not sure there's a drawstring on this planet that could transform that into something flattering (even for a Twiggy who needs something seriously blousy), but it's worth a try because the fabric is fantastic.

what a riot....and the man latch hooks too! I really, really think that would be too cute with the elastic casing around the neck and wrists.....I love, love, love the fabric! Where it over jeans!! LOVIN it!!! Now, I am off to make my egg rolls!!!!

What, haven't we all gone through a latch hooking phase? I was 12 and latch hooked a rainbow rug and a semi-deformed dog rug. No mushrooms or sunsets, sadly, or I might still be in that phase!

I'd definitely go for some elastic in that dress. Great fabric, and the model looks resigned to her impromptu job, averting her eyes and dreaming of her bed and her quilt.

If there are no princess seams or darts in the body of the dress, I am guessing all it needs is a run of elastic or clever ribbon drawstring (which could poke through buttonholes at front or back and tie in cute ribbon-y bow) through the neck seam to draw it all up at make it poet-style tunic-y like.....I would face it too.
just a thought! xo,AM

andy cracks me up. so does that scary "dress" which i think could also serve double as a sleeping bag as well as go-go drag. definitley we need to reembrace the latch hook. my mom made two huge black polka dot rugs with lionbrand homespun, and they, like, exploded with shag and fluff. it's pretty groovy, tell andy! latchhook revolution!!!!

Ok, where does one find a husband who a) goes to estate sales willingly b) remotely is interested in anything at said estate sale, let alone something like a hooked rug kit...that requires work?! lol. I guess it's too late for me. I have one already and he will go with me, only if there might be old films, books or Lps. I guess I should be grateful for at least that.

Don't you LOVE when you go shopping like that and discover some hand-made something that just doesn't make sense. I always wanna make up a story for it. Like this dress...a young girl's first attempt at making her own dress with her own self made pattern. She saw one like it on American Bandstand and thought she could make her own. She worked so hard on it, only to find in the end it was nowhere near how it was supposed to be. Being a teen girl and not full of patience, she tossed it in a closet and went shopping for a dress that was similar out of money she earned babysitting the neighbor kid for a few weeks. She probably ended up being a fashion designer years later, lol. Hey, you might wanna hang onto this...you may find it was made by Donna Karan or something, lol.

I wanna learn to sew so badly. I figure there will lots of this sort of "what the!?" kind of stuff coming from my hands. I'm HORRIBLE with proportion.

That dress is crazy! And what a great Andy moment! Y'all must be the absolute best to hang out with!

i love sleeping audrey and would have liked to see her face when you woke her up! that dress makes me feel tiny.

Oh, P.S. I'll pay Andy for that POLKA DOT MUSHROOM rug!!! What a find...dots and mushrooms and hooking!!! My heart fluttered in jealousy over his find when I read those words. If you tell me the mushroom is read with white polka dots I'll have to faint with envy! Man, I want a mushroom rug!!!! Ok, I found the afghan on ebay...off to search for a dot/mushroom/hooked/rug, ha,ha. If I find it I'm so blogging about it.

aaaaahhhh girls...lookey what popped up on my first ebay search!!! For the sewers out there who have fetish for mushrooms, you'd be crazy not to bid!!!


Of course it is. The man is charmed, I'm telling you.

ok, is there anything better than a dog sleeping like that? so vulnerable, so exposed but still knowing it is so safe? and that dress? muumuu? tablecloth? hard to imagine it as ever becoming flattering... but the mary quant(ish) fabric is groovy.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.