50s Navy Dotted Swiss Dress for Fun Night at the Navy Yard

Yes, the navy yard, meaning the Charlestown Navy Yard where the historic USS Constitution resides. Every year the Charlestown Navy Yard runs various  World War II themed events. Last month they had a weekend event titled “We  Can Do It-Service on the Homefront in WW2” to commemorate the “Greatest Generation.”

I wasn’t able to make all the festivities, but my husband and I were thrilled to be able to attend their evening swing dance put on by Boston Swing Central , featuring a fabulous live swing/jazz band right on the dock by “Old Ironsides!”

It is quite a fascinating place to visit, there is so much history there.  The Charlestown Navy Yard was one of 6 original yards built to support the new US Navy back in 1800. They were in operation for 174 years. Two of the warships that were built there now reside there, the USS Constitution and the Cassin Young, a 20th century Fletcher class destroyer



It turned out to be a beautiful, warm summer night.  And since I was going to a navy yard I figured I’d wear something navy!  This 1950s navy blue dotted swiss dress fit the bill and I knew it would be comfortable to dance in.

One of the many reasons I love vintage clothing is it is often made in interesting fabrics that are not found anymore,  are  not used much in modern fashions, or if they are, they’re pricey.  And dotted swiss is one of my favorites that you don’t see a lot in womens’ clothing these days and it’s a favorite of mine.

It is a semi sheer fabric with raised dots on it. Often in a lightweight cotton, like batiste or lawn. But in the latter 20th century was also made in polyester.  It originated in Switzerland all the way back in the 1790s.  Commonly used in dresses from the 1930s to the 1970s. Like gingham and seersucker,  dotted swiss is a classic summer time fabric.  It is light, floaty and feminine. Perfect for warm weather.

The raised dots on the fabric of this dress were woven in, which indicates a better quality swiss dot.  On some fabrics the  dots are flocked, or glued on, which eventually will wear off.

The dress is trimmed in white cotton pique collar, cuffs and bows, another great summery fabric.

I wanted to pair it with a red belt, but did not have one that I liked with the dress. So I opted for a vintage silk print scarf tied at the waist. Added 1950s red thermoset bracelet and earrings and a mustard gold and white pair of spectator T straps, a past season style from Chelsea Crew, a company that makes really cute vintage inspired shoes.

A sunset view of Boston and it’s harbor, which is right next to navy yard.

My attempt at making a vintage-y looking photo!

Here is a 1970s swiss dot poly/cotton voile swiss dot maxi dress that is available on my website.
36 bust/28 waist Exc condition

1950s L’Aiglon white dress with multi color swiss dots.  36/26 From Wyogems Vintage.

70s navy swiss dot angel sleeve maxi dress 34/30 From mydrawingnumberone on Etsy

Cute 1940s green plaid day dress with a woven raised dot design. 37/29.  Available at AVeryVintageShop.


Till next time……






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By | 2019-09-16T08:17:22-04:00 September 15th, 2019|Fashion, My Vintage Style|6 Comments

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  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell September 16, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks, Ann. I do love navy and white for summer. Will have to check our your version!

  2. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell September 16, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Vix, had no idea you had visited Boston before. Hope you like it and wish you would come back! I am definitely going to look into the Peaky Blinders Festival. That would be sooo fun. I love that show. Wish it was on more often!

  3. Avatar
    Ann September 16, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    A perfect dress for an evening of swing dance. I’d never heard of swiss dot, so thank you for the education. Navy with white dots is such a classic and I love how you’ve used a scarf as a belt. That really is the icing on the cake. I had to smile, as I too am wearing navy with white dots in my latest post. But my dress is just ordinary polyester … xxx

  4. Avatar
    Vix September 16, 2019 at 11:16 am

    I always thought Dotted Swiss (something I’ve only ever seen referenced on American blogs) and Seersucker were the same thing, thank you for enlightening me!
    That dress is gorgeous on you, love the correspondent shoes and the belt as a scarf with it and the wonderful snapshot of Boston harbour (the only place in the States I’ve visited.)
    Breaking news – the producer of the show is attempting to hold a Peaky Blinders Festival in Boston to mirror the one held in Birmingham I went to yesterday next year – go, it was mind blowingly good!!!

  5. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell September 16, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Thanks! It was really a fun evening. And always thrilled to read I helped someone learn a bit more about vintage fashion. There is a great fabric resource on the Vintage Fashion Guild site that has a ton of information and photos about vintage textiles. It’s a great reference tool. https://vintagefashionguild.org/fabric-resource/

  6. Avatar
    Suzanne September 15, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    What a perfect dress for the occasion!

    I’ve seen this type of polka dot around but never knew it was called swiss dots. I always learn something from your blog.


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