The Sew Weekly Reunion

because we missed it…

The “Lady in Samba Red” dress by Loran


The Facts

Fabric: Red cotton sateen w/ lycra
Pattern: Vogue 8850

Notions: 1 zipper, 2 packages vintage seam tape from Z : ), belting and a bakelite buckle
Year: 1951
Time to complete: 5 hours (half of that was hand stitching hems)
First worn: September 2013
Wear again? Yes
Cost – ~$30.00 I think

Talk about sliding this one in atthelastminute!!
You’d think having a whole MONTH to make an outfit would give me PLENTY of time to get my act together. In one sense you’re right, the minute I saw the Pantone colors I knew I had to do the Samba red because, you know, it’s ME  : )  And then life happened so I had to really concentrate to get this done.There’s lots to love about this pattern and a few things to watch out for. First, read and CAREFULLY follow the directions. That front band works but you HAVE to do it exactly the way they tell you to.

For maybe the third time in a Sew Weekly challenge there is not a finished seam in this entire dress. Not a one; nothing is overlocked, nothing is pinked, they’re all just naked : )

Honestly, it was the best I could do. One of these days I may go back in and finish things off BUT thanks to Z at Gladys and Viv the hems have LOVELY vintage tape to finish them off and, in the case of that side panel, give them some life.

The main thing I’m not so crazy about is that side drapey piece on the bodice. It’s pretty clear I don’t need any assistance in the boobage department so I wasn’t sure about that piece to begin with. My choice of fabric, the cotton sateen, meant that there would be a little more bulk than if I used a satin (like the many other versions of this out on the interwebs) but I didn’t want such a fancy, shiny dress : ) I followed the directions EXACTLY about drape and placement and after looking at the photos and wearing the dress all afternoon I think the piece is too long and puffs out awkwardly. Fortunately, because of the no-seam-finishes approach I ended up taking I’ll be able to re-drape that part pretty easily.

When it’s all put together it’s not bad. I do REALLY like that skirt drapey panel. It’s about a quarter of a total circle and not only do you have to hand hem the hem but the SIDES as well! And tack down each side of the bodice drape…goodness. So much hand work, so little time!!

But doesn’t it look pretty when the wind catches it?


I really wanted to try to incorporate one or two of the other Pantone colors in here but no. Couldn’t do it. As it was I played around with my shoes – red satin up above…


And the red/black ones here. I’ve got fabulous rhinestone jewelry for a fancy night out and the hat is from my friend John H who has great taste in women’s vintage fashion. Thanks John : )

Brittany and I headed back to Mills today to do pics. The top one and the next were taken in front of the music building:


This one was taken in a small garden next to the Campanil, which was designed by Julia Morgan and survived the 1906 earthquake in fine style:

loran 5

And just for Vicki, an outtake photo that was taken in front of the blue doors of Lisser Hall, the theater that I spent so much of my life in as an undergrad:

Loran 6

I don’t remember WHAT I was looking at or if a bug flew up my nose but this is for you, Vicki : )

And we come to the end of our reunion. I can’t WAIT to see what everyone else does!!


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 : )

Loran completed 53 projects on The Sew Weekly last year. Check out more of Loran’s gorgeous project photos on her blog Loran’s World

15 comments on “The “Lady in Samba Red” dress by Loran

  1. The Sew Convert
    September 3, 2013

    The color and drapes of the dress are just gorgeous! I love those black and red shoes too:)

  2. Amanda
    September 3, 2013


  3. margueritedesigns
    September 3, 2013

    Striking as ever and totally suits you!

  4. oonaballoona
    September 3, 2013

    that parting shot! it could be a pattern envelope!!

    i love the drape, actually… red stunner, as always. you would never know the seams aren’t finished 🙂

  5. Erin Bartels
    September 3, 2013

    LOVE that pattern and color! Looks FABULOUS!

  6. Kristin
    September 3, 2013

    So fun and dramatic! I love the dress, especially on you!!

  7. Bethany
    September 3, 2013

    Lauren, you never, ever cease my amazement. This is so beautiful, and so you. Oh, how I have missed you so.

  8. EmSewCrazy
    September 3, 2013

    Wonderful! I’m so glad someone took advantage of the red! It looks great on you.

  9. Sully Liz
    September 4, 2013

    Woohoo, Loran! This is very “you” indeed! That drapey skirt panel is perfection, well done!

  10. amaryllislog
    September 4, 2013

    Absolutely lovely!

  11. sgabbart
    September 4, 2013

    That is stunning! What a beautiful color on you and I just love the details -very cool!

  12. lee
    September 5, 2013

    Samba is yours allright. Knockout, as ever. And I find it reassuring that a professional like yourself cuts a corner now and then.

  13. The Amazing Taracat
    September 5, 2013

    I just love this! Utterly stunning and I love that last photo, it really made me smile.

  14. Veronica Darling
    September 8, 2013

    OMG That’s a CRAZY pattern! So tricky looking! Why are you such a great seamstress Loran! So jelly!


  15. Leahz
    September 9, 2013

    beautiful dress and I knew that you took those photos at Mills, just couldn’t identify the building

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This entry was posted on September 3, 2013 by in Loran, sew weekly reunion, sewalong, sewing challenge, TSW Reunion 2013.

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