Hot! The “These Boots Are Made for Walking” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Rayon Challis from stash
Pattern: Self-drafted
Year: 2012
Notions: Embroidery thread for sewing the rayon
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: In front of the mirror
Wear again? Definitely

Total Price: $16

I nearly called this The “Series of Unfortunate Events” Dress when my plans to make a denim skirt for this challenge failed miserably. You see, after two holidays of glutinous meals, my waist measurement expanded significantly (homemade mac n’ cheese is my Kryptonite). After a bit of mourning over my bloated waistline, I manned up and altered the waist of the skirt pattern.

The post traumatic stress of my of holiday chub gave me the bright idea to do one of those 21-day cleanse diets to get back to normal and hopefully start off the year feeling less like the stuffed turkey I consumed. I filled my fridge with veggies, dusted off the blender for smoothies and was on my way. Three days before this week’s challenge was due I started constructing the fat belly skirt. First, I sewed the waistband facing on backwards and only realized it after the seam was trimmed (arrrrrgh!). I later figured out an improvisation for that eff-up and finished sewing. Then, I tried it on….the waist was too damn big! Like, over an inch! I’d only been “cleansing” for a week and my fat belly alteration was obsolete (double arrrrrgh!). Already behind schedule, a serious plan B was in order.

Enter: The loose-fitting, self-drafted dress pattern. Four rectangles sewn together plus a drawstring neckline — a nod to the peasant blouse. Made in an evening.

Even though it’s an understudy, the dress does the job of showcasing my accessory of choice, a pair of well-worn cowboy boots, just as nicely as the denim skirt (may he rest in peace or at least until my next big meal) would have.

I picked up these boots a few years back at a Western wear store in Denver, called Shepler’s. In the fall and during mild winters (like this one) I wear them nearly everyday. Apparently, the footbed is made by Nike…so, they really are made for walking (and running…which I often do when trying to catch the Metro).




Mena encouraged us to get outdoor photos. So, I want it to go on record that in spite of the protests from my frizz-prone fro, I braved the wet weather for this week’s shots.

Go ahead and consider this cheap umbrella my second accessory ;-).




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. That dress looks lovely so it worked out well in the end!

  2. It’s hard to believe that something so flattering is only four rectangles! Well done and very fun post :)

  3. That is so cute! And flattering… and I want your boots. I harbor secret intentions of purchasing a pair of for real cowboy boots.

  4. Super Cute dress and I also have an awesome pair of boots from Shepler’s.

  5. So cute! I love boots and dresses. Such a great combination.

  6. Very nice! My project was a plan B this week too – it was bound to happen at some point, but week 2? :P
    I’m trying to figure out where the 4 rectangles are….did you make raglan sleeves or regular ones (whose name I don’t know)?

    • Two small rectangles make up the sleeves and two big ones are for the front and back. Before sewing them together, I made a diagonal cut at the tops of each rectangle – which creates a raglan sleeve. The neckline casing and drawstring cinches everything in.

      The other type of sleeve is called “set-in”, I believe. But Plan B sewing doesn’t allow for such labor ;-).

  7. This is so cute! I can’t believe you drafted it yourself!

  8. I love your Plan B dress – and it looks fantastic with those boots. I have got to get me some of those!

  9. I LOVE this dress, you look simply beautiful in it!!

  10. Love it! The boots really go well with it and the umbrella sasy sassy yet practical!

  11. Najah-the dress came out great and you had me laughing through your post. I think you look very pretty. My project was also a plan B. I started out with a dress i got form a vintage pattern. I looked like an Amish girl in purple. I think it will take years for my 13yr old son to get the image out of his head.

  12. great improv – and it sets off your boots (and brolly) beautifully

  13. I loved your story, and your improv photo shoot was excellent

  14. You are a riot, fantastic dress, brilliant write up, kickarse boots and smashing photos.

  15. You look so great! That color is fantastic for you- I hope it’s one of your go-to colors.

  16. It looks good. I wouldn’t have thought it was self drafted :)

  17. You look awesome and I love the boots and umbrella! :D

  18. Super gorgeous!! Especially your hair! I’ve never worn cowboy boots, but if they’re making them half Nike, half boot I just might have to.

  19. So darling & fun! Love the umbrella and boots as accessories:)

  20. SO darling & fun! Love the boots and brolly as accessories:)

  21. This dress is beautiful! As are your photos. I’m glad you (and your beautiful fro) braved the outdoors!

  22. Great dress and love those boots!!!

  23. Awesome dress! I love the fabric and I especially love how you told the story of making it. What a fun post.

  24. Simple is always best, as you’ve proved …

  25. Thanks, Ladies!! All of your shout-outs and acknowledgements have turned my happy accident into an even happier one.

  26. You are a very creative lady. And I think you should add modeling to your list! The camera loves you! Can’t wait to see what your imaginative mind comes up with next.

  27. speaking as a fellow fro, you are BRAVE. love the outfit!

  28. Great save! It is very very cute and those are some awesome cowgirl boots.