Hot! New (girl) Dress

The Facts:
Fabric: Red mystery fabric (“100% unknown fibers”), but I suspect it is a wool/nylon/lycra blend = $2/m
Pattern: Simplicity Project Runway 2444 = $1
Year: 2010
Notions: zip (nope, the Mena test held up)
Time to complete: 7 hours (complete first season of New Girl)
First worn: In autumn.  It’s too hot and humid in Montreal now.
Wear again? Perhaps.
Total price: ~$7




I grew up without much TV.  I lived in rural areas with terrible TV reception (those of us from the pre-cable days will remember wrestling with the antenna when your favourite show came on and frantically trying to catch an image).  Now that I can watch anything on Netflix (or by other means *cough cough illegal file sharing cough cough*), I really appreciate being able to open up my laptop next to my sewing table and watch a little Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes or F.O.T.C.

I recently started watching New Girl, featuring Zooey Deschanel, who I’ve loved since I first saw her in Mike White’s sadly hilarious 2002 film “The Good Girl”, duping seniors into getting Cirque du Face makovers at the Retail Rodeo.


and I love her style, especially this red ice skater-esque dress she wears in the opening credits:


It was graduation week here on campus, and I saw a lot of this style:  very fitted bodice, stiff pleated skirt, bright solid colours, and SHORT SHORT SHORT.  I love the look on 22 year old biochem grads, but not so much on me, so I went with the pattern skirt length, which is just above the knee.  I couldn’t tell from the screenshots if the bodice was princess-seamed or darted, but knowing my struggles with armscye princess seams, I opted for Simplicity 2444 with lots of bodice darts to manipulate.

I’ve heard nothing but good reviews around the internets about this pattern, and I was pretty happy until I tried on the bodice and the fit was terrible.  I tried taking in the seams a bit here and there, but it really needed an overhaul to be perfectly fitted.  This coincided with me finishing the complete season 1 of New Girl, and it seemed that my enthusiasm for this dress ended with the finale.


I have too many UFO lying around this place.  I knew that perhaps I was being just a bit too picky about fit, and that few other people would criticize it as harshly as I.

So I decided to Just Give’r.  I pulled a “made-in-China” on this dress: I completely ignored the instructions and sewed in the flat, I didn’t set in the sleeves properly and pleated the caps instead; I serged all the inside edges together and pressed to the side; I eliminated the back zipper because the fabric has just enough stretch to pull on (and more importantly, off) without any contortions; I didn’t sew a lining because the fabric feels good against my skin despite the content, and I have a good collection of full and half slips already.  I serged the neckline and hems and just turned them in and topstitched.  Then I took some last-minute photos in my basement last night (oops, sorry for the terrible quality.  My photographer is out of town and it was midnight)  It doesn’t look perfect, but it’s fine for now.

(I don’t have Photoshop, so please forgive my feeble attempts at photo editing that were stitched together in PicMonkey, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Powerpoint.  Yes, powerpoint.  As a scientist, I can’t really write off the purchase of Photoshop because the only reason scientists would use Photoshop would be to falsify images!)





Vicki used to sew when she was young and free, but then raising young'uns and bringing home (some of) the bacon took up all her time. Now her closet is full of skinny clothes, maternity clothes and post-partum clothes, none of which fit properly. Maybe that's why she started sewing again in 2010.


Comments are closed.

  1. Absolutely right, no one would fault the fit. I think it looks rather nice in the pictures. I love thr red color on you, it really is a nice punch of color.

  2. Very cute!! The bodice looks very well fitted in the photos! Fantastic job.

  3. what is the mena test??

  4. Looks very cute! Nice work on those darts and pleats, I struggled wrapping my head around the instructions, but it’s worth it in the end. I don’t have photoshop either – I can do nifty spreadsheet! Love this show and I love Zooey in “Failure to Launch”. Nicely done

  5. This is so cute on you! I love brunettes in red. And I am fully on board for made in China-ing it. If it’s taking shortcuts or having it sit in the unloved pile – MacGyver it and make it work! I am also giggling very hard at the Powerpoint, but not half as hard as I giggle whenever Nick or Schmidt breathe/move/blink. Nice inspiration!

  6. This dress looks great on you! I see no problem with the fit and the color suits you. Very cute!

  7. Love the show and your dress. It suits you perfectly~

  8. Great color on you and I agree that in the photos it looks really nice. Sorry you struggled with the fit, buy your perserverence is admirable. Clever use of other apps to make an interesting photo collage . Nothing to apologize for. You’ve probably given many of us a new idea for editing. Thanks for sharing.

  9. This dress looks great on you. The color is beautiful on you (and I am a big lover of red anyway…) The collage is fun – thanks for mentioning all those photoshop alternatives. I’ll try to check these out.

  10. Thanks everybody! I knew the moment that I put it down on the “fix later pile” it would be a goner, so I had to force myself to finish it in a less than perfect way. And now, a few days later, I don’t think the fit is so bad. I just have to remember to wear my real grown-up bra to give it some oomph. ;)

  11. >>Notions: zip (nope, the Mena test held up)<<
    What is the Mena test? I would love to have fewer zippers in my life. :-)

    • If you can wiggle into the dress after you’ve basted up all the seams, you can skip a zipper! Getting out of it is often harder though…

  12. That colour really suits you. I do love mystery fabrics. The fit looks really flattering, yeah just put that ‘grown up’ bra and work it girl, it’s gorgeous :)

  13. EEEK! This is the dress I would have made had I had time for this challenge! Plus I would have used this pattern too! It looks fantastic on you.