Apr 7, 2015

Dotted Swiss

An ongoing refashion series inspired by the 40's, 50's, and 60's.

dot·ted swiss


sheer, crisp cotton fabric, embellished with woven, flocked, or embroidered dots.

Dotted Swiss is a type of fabric first made on hand looms in Switzerland in 1750. While there are many variations available, the original look is always the same: a sheer, lightweight fabric with a dotted motif. The fabric, which is usually cotton batiste or a polyblend, provides the background that is usually a muted or pastel shade, such as gray, light pink, or cream. The fabric then has dots applied onto its surface in a number of methods. Single colored or multicolored dots can be woven, flocked, printed, or embroidered, resulting in a temporary or permanent pattern on the fabric.

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When my girls were young, they wore dresses made from dotted swiss, usually Easter dresses.  I picked up a skirt the other day at a thrift store with a pretty blue floral pattern printed on top of embroidered dots.  It was kind of an updated version of the flocked dotted swiss that my girls used to wear.  I shopped around until I found a white dotted swiss blouse that could be merged with the skirt to make a pretty retro-inspired springtime dress.

The bodice has small embroidered dots with crocheted lace detailing.

The skirt has larger embroidered dots with a pretty blue floral pattern printed over it.

During the refashioning process, I felt the white blouse was too white for the skirt, so I opted for rows of crocheted lace sewn to the midriff area to mesh the two together.  I like that the floral pattern of the skirt still peeks out from under the lace.

An invisible zipper was sewn into the side seam.

This fun little trail behind me is called "The Hobbit Trail."

It leads through the dense under growth, over a couple of sand dunes, and right onto the beautiful Oregon beach!

The Process

After trying on the blouse, I determined where I wanted to cut it below the bust line, allowing for a seam.

I determined the length I wanted for the skirt and made a cut, also allowing for a seam.

From the excess that was removed from the top of the skirt, I fashioned my midriff piece.

I curved the sides of the midriff piece in a little for my waistline.

I gathered the bottom edge of the blouse, then pinned and sewed it to the top of the midriff piece.

I gathered the top edge of the skirt, then pinned and sewed it to the bottom of the midriff piece.

To finish the dress, I stitched four rows of lace to the midriff piece (optional), and installed an invisible zipper in the side seam.

I like to link to these great parties.


  1. What a beautiful makeover! It looks lovely on you and I'm sure you'll enjoy wearing it!

    1. Thanks Mary! I have already enjoyed wearing it in our beautiful spring weather that we're having!

  2. When I was a young girl, dotted swiss and seersucker spelled "SUMMER" for me and my sister!! Thanks for the reminder and for re-kindling the desire to make a pink and white seersucker day dress for myself. -- Irene in Hazelwood, MO

    1. Irene, I'm so glad that you were able to take a trip down memory lane....I love memory lane!! I would love to see your dress when you get it finished!

  3. That is such a cute dress. I have white embroidered dress that I plan to refashion. I think I just might trim off the bottom close to the waistline and add a " summer " print to finish it off to make a blouse.Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. That sounds like a wonderful idea for a blouse. Would you turn the rest of it into a skirt? I would love to see it when you're finished! Good luck!

  4. I am always amazed at how you find two pieces of clothing that are just perfect to merge into one, Susan. Clever idea to add the lace. Love that photo on the beach.

    1. Thanks, Pam! I love the challenge of putting pieces together. Sometimes they fit together seamlessly, and sometimes, like this time, they need a little tweaking. But its always a fun challenge!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback and always look forward to reading what you have to say! Susan