My Red Dress Instructions

If you’ve received my Red Dress in the mail, you probably already know the story.  In case you don’t, you’ll want to read the origins at Jenny Lawson’s blog.  Don’t worry, the dress will wait for you.

So in this box is your very own Red Dress Story waiting to happen.  But there are a few things you’ll want to know:
  • This Traveling Red Dress comes in pieces.  A skirt and a top.

  • The top is available in three basic sizes.  The smaller of the two red ones is about a 6, the black one is about a 12, and the other red one is about an 18. One of them should fit you just fine.

  • You probably won’t be able to get into this thing by yourself. So, ring the bell for your manservant, call a friend, or purchase a helper monkey and lay in a stock of bananas.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Starring, The Stig*

1. The skirt is one long piece that will wrap around you and tie in the back. 
There is more than enough skirt to go around, so some people will have overlap. 
That’s okay!  The fluffier the better, that’s my motto
If you are on the smaller end
of the size spectrum, like The Stig,
 you may want to wrap the skirt
more around your ribs, like this.
If you are on the larger end,
you’ll probably find the top more
comfortable with the skirt lower,
around your waist or hips, like this.

2.  There are two wide slits in the waistband of the skirt. 
If you are wrapping it around more than once, feed the
end through one of the slits so you can keep wrapping.
If you’re extra little, you may even have to use the second slit to 
come around again.  Play with it a little bit.

3.  When you’re done wrapping, the two ends should be near your back.
You may have to try more than once to find the right spot for you.
The Stig finds putting one end of the skirt on her left hip to start lands them ties both in back.
Note:  It’s okay, if the ties are different lengths. 

4. Tie a knot or a bow any old way you please.  Since The Stig is wearing a tank top, she could call it quits at this point and go frolicking ballerina style.  You can do the same, if you’re happy with your Red Dress experience that way.  Otherwise, it’s on to the top.

5.  Pick whichever top is closest to your dress size.  They’re all corsets so there’s room for up- and down-sizing in all three.  Make sure the front is centered on your body or you’ll end up crooked when your helper monkey starts lacing you up.  (Helper monkeys are notorious for lack of attention to details like this.)6.  Let’s go lacing!  This should be self-evident if you’ve graduated beyond Velcro sneakers.  Here are some hints, though:
You can either hook a bobby pin
around the end of the ribbon
or fold and twist it into a point to make
it easier to lace.  The Stig recommends the
fold-and-twist method.

The Stig also recommends lacing with one ribbon at least halfway, if not all the way down first.  Just be sure to skip alternating loops as you go. 

7.  It’s easy to lace that sucker so tight you’re seeing stars, so keep a switch handy to give your helper monkey a smack if he gets any smart ideas like that. 

8.  If, unlike The Stig, you are blessed in the bosom department, and you’re worried the top isn’t giving your girls adequate shade, there are a couple free pieces of lace
 in the box that you can tuck in the front.  It’s all up to you.
9.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This dress cries out for accessories.  The Stig recommends adding a head, for starters.  (Though this headless version of the dress would be great for some of the girls on Maureen Johnson’s book covers, wouldn’t it?)
When you’re done, won’t you please send me some pictures?  You can find me on Twitter @LillyLLangtree, or my blog ( (where you can also find these instructions with live links and everything).  You can also share you pictures at The Bloggess's Traveling Red Dress Facebook page.

If you have a friend in need of the Red Dress, please send it on.  If you don't, it can always come home to me.  Email me for my mailing address, if you would.  Thanks for being a part of this red dress adventure.  I hope your moment is frivolous and joyful and personal and grin-inducing and worth every moment.  Enjoy.
Would you like to see some pictures of the dress all laced up and ready to go? Click here!
*If you're not a fan of Top Gear, you probably think The Stig is a typo. You're wrong. The Stig is awesome.


  1. Oh, this is so fantastic! I was so inspired by the red dress too. Here is my story.

  2. Love it! And you don't give yourself near enough credit for the wonderful sewing of it and the idea/design of it! I'd love to be on the list and to send photos...I'm so inspired by this whole movement.

    xoxo Cam

    1. I would love to send the dress to you. Please send your particulars to the email link in the post above.