Hot! The “Bird-less Garden Tour” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Floral print cotton
Pattern: Simplicity 2217 and McCall’s 6503
Year: 2011, 2012
Notions: Zipper
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: To my mailbox
Wear again? For sure
Total Price: $10

Choosing a dress from the Make This Look archive gave me brain-freeze.
There was just too much Slurpee-sweet goodness for me to pick only one.
So, I gave myself some constraints:

 Thou shalt use fabric from within thine own stash.
Thou shalt not attempt any construction heroics.
Thine creation shall be worn this winter.

The “Garden Tour” dress and the “Next Weekend Dress in Evening” dress became candidates.

Five yards of gorgeous navy, rayon challis was sitting in inventory.
It was screaming to be made into the NWDE dress.
Alas, to do so would be a violation of my second rule. Because…

Rayon challis is a slippery bastard.
Cutting it for that dress would require me to fly my cape a bit.

So, in order to keep my second commandment, I broke the first one and bought some fabric.

What-had-happened was…

I ran out of empty bobbins and made an emergency trip to my local Jo-Ann Fabric store.
Spotted a cotton floral print that was a near dead-ringer for the “Garden Tour” dress.
It was just missing the birdies.
That’s cool, I say…makes it easier to keep the third commandment.

The “Bird-less Garden Tour” dress is a hybrid of two patterns
Or, as the kids say, a Franken-pattern.
The original pink sash was lovely, but not suited for my midgetry, so I omitted it.

Except for a brief, celebrity deathmatch with Sergio, my temperamental overlock machine…
Construction was drama-free.

Now, here we are…sans winter accessories.
The cap sleeves are from a third, random pattern.
Any other sleeve style would’ve broken my second commandment.

If you can ignore my ashy elbows, you can see how well it fits in back.

Dude! The side seams line up properly. I swear it’s magic when that happens.

There is NO WAY the Modcloth version would’ve fit me this well. Ready to Wear my a**!!

Thanks for looking.



Najah Carroll is a project manager by day and seamstress by night. Once it became clear that ready-to-wear was never gonna support her five feet of curves, she taught herself to sew and make pattern alterations. In January, she lost her mind by signing up for this 52-week garment sewing challenge.


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  1. Absolutely gorgeous. I love your version even more than the original! Your blend of patterns is perfect. Now, I may have to raid my local JoAnn’s to see if they have this fabric…

  2. Wow! That looks amazing one you! Love the knit over it too. That neck line is great over your “girls”. The print is lovely on you too. Yay! Knockout!

  3. I want this! Being vertically challenged myself I have the same problem with shop-bought clothes not fitting. You got the fit on this perfect – excellent job!

  4. This outfit, from top to bottom (I love those shoes!) is A-fricken-DORABLE!

  5. This is lovely – the fit is spot-on and I like your styling

  6. Wow – that dress fits you beautifully, and I love the outfit! (mmm.. need to steal those shoes). Well done!

  7. Wow Najah fantastic construction and fit and your photos are great. The fabric choice and colour is spot on and suits you perfectly.

  8. So pretty, the fit is perfect and its such a great dress to wear in summer and winter.

  9. This is stunning! That fabric is gorgeous

  10. Your dress is stunning! ?It does fit you perfectly and the fabric is lovely, much more winter wearable.

  11. Your version is fantastic! Fabulous fabric choice and fit! (and I, too, am loving those shoes!)

  12. Hi Najah, you look amazing and what a great job on construction. Love the colors and the whole vibe of the dress. 3 assignments down, 49 more to go!

  13. You’re my inspiration today! I’m a little midgety and busty myself (although the curves stop there). This dress is so flattering! Hope you know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery because I’m definitely going to be copying you! :)

  14. I love your posts, keep up the good work and you are funny girl! Ready to wear my a~~ hehehe

  15. That is totally gorgeous! Loving the photos and I do love your writing style. Am I allowed to say that your dress looks way better than the original MTL? *gets struck down by fashion lightning* Oh, apparently not…. *fizzle*

  16. I love your garden dress and it looks gorgeous on you! Great style!

  17. This is ADORABLE! And you look so freaking good in it! Congrats!

  18. It looks so beautiful on you! It’s obvious you have exquisite taste!

  19. you really achieved a wonderful, flattering fit–i am loving that dress on you!

  20. wow wow we wow, lady! The fit is amazing and your styling makes you look straight out of a magazine! Love it!

  21. Thank you for reminding me to mix up the patterns!!! My mom did that a lot. Beautiful job, beautiful smile.

  22. This is gorgeous! So much better than the dresses it was derived from. I’m jealous and want your dress!

  23. I loved reading your post for this dress, which looks amazing btw! :)

    Isn’t it like magic when two patterns come together?! I once had darts matching with the skirt gores somehow (a 50’s pattern matching to a modern one no less).

    I think your version is even cuter than the modcloth version. The cap sleeves, fitted bodice, and waistband make it!

  24. Your dress is my favourite this week. The fit and proportions are just perfect on you.

    And I love that 3rd photo of you: you look like a sweet, innocent little lady, but I suspect that’s a clever disguise! ;)

  25. Beautiful! Love the shoes too!

  26. You look amazing! Love it.

  27. Beautiful! I love that all three of our Garden Tour variations are so uniquely suited to each of us! Isn’t sewing great?!?

  28. Very flattering. Makes me think about spring!

  29. Wow, Najah! You look GORGEOUS! Love the dress! Seriously, I’m with you… ready to wear my behind! lol Love your write up to go with it.

  30. Wow, that’s gorgeous! I love your version as well! I’m glad the battle with Sergio ended well as you came out with a fantastic dress!

  31. Fabulous dress! You did such a great job with fabric sourcing and fitting — I like this more than the original!

  32. It fits like a dream. Great work! I love the shoes, BTW.

  33. I have always been terrified of working with big floral prints but your dress makes me want to take a shot at it! You look amazing!

  34. I love your writing style AND your fashion style! I’m a fan of your version of this dress – super flattering and very well constructed. Excellent work!

  35. So funny! beautiful dress-

  36. LOVE the DRESS, LOVE the HAIR, LOVE the SHOES!!!!! You are beautiful and an insperation.

  37. What a fun read! I look forward to seeing more posts from you in the coming weeks. I love how you styled your dress. The hat is especially awesome.

  38. Love this so much! And such great writing :D

  39. Frankenpattern FTW!!! You look fantastic, as does your dress. The entire outfit is divine. And worn to the mailbox… lolz!

  40. This is gorgeous and I love your styling! I wasn’t that excited by the original MTL but I would love a dress like this. This is going straight into the inspiration folder. Thank you!

  41. gorgeous! it looks great on you

  42. Your dress is amazing, and I loved reading about it! You’re hilarious and I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures over the year. Keep up the great work!

  43. This looks amazing on you!! Very well done!

  44. This is really beautiful, I like your version better than the original and you don’t need no stinking birds!

  45. That is GREAT sewing, such a beautiful fit, it just screams “well-made”. Congratulations!

  46. Your one cleaver lady. Well done! Love it, and love it on you.