Monday, September 11, 2017

Have you found a shift pattern you like?

I hope you have had a chance to check out all the shift dress options and a few ideas from the  September 8, 2017 post.  If not check them out and see if any inspire you to make a shift dress.

Here's one from  Christine Haynes called the Varda Dress.  I am impressed with all the detail and work that went into making such a classic pattern!  Notice how nicely the dresses and tops fit the models.  The pattern is a PDF file but worth the challenge.  These dresses are not a time-consuming sewing project  which makes it nice if you want to make something soon and have it finished and ready to wear.

These tops would work well with most any kind of skirt.  Check out the suggested fabrics on the image below. I hope to be making something from this pattern soon!  It is a great pattern for a minimalist's wardrobe.

Contact Christine Haynes for more information.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Late Summer and Early Fall: A Time to "Shift" into Sensible Dresses

When the temperatures lower add a red, black or white sweater to this dress.

This time of year is for loose clothing. I have found the "shift" a perfect piece for summer and early fall wear. The shift is mainly a dress that hangs from the shoulders with bust darts, neckline is high,  slightly narrow over-all, and sometimes worn with a belt.  This is a wonderful dress for those with a slender figure. However it looks great on all figures as long as it is not tight fitting, too low a neckline, and a decent  below-the-knee hem length, because your entire dress raises in the back when you bend over.
Lady-like Midi Dress

  The current patterns and  ready-to-wear shifts are designed above the knee but the length of  the shift has varied over the years.  The one above has an added ruffle for a fun touch.   Please realize I am not advocating short dresses.  The hemlines can always be lengthened.  Here is a beautiful dress, great colors for fall that has a tea length hemline.

Definitions of the styles of dresses overlap.  The "shift"  also uses 2-3 main pattern pieces but was designed straight  rather than flared.  The "shift" differs from a "sheath" in that the "sheath" is  form fitting and the "shift" is designed to be looser.   Some are called "jiffy" dresses because of  using 2-3 main pattern pieces. The "jiffy" dresses tend to have a slightly A-line skirt. 

Shifts from the Past

Below are some examples from the twenties.  It seems that basic styles are timeless and re-enter the fashion scene  by varying hem lengths, sleeve fit, and necklines.
Shapeless was popular!

These are from the Twenties.

                                              Hemlines were quite a ways below the knee.

The trend for shift dresses took off again in the 60s  and has continued to the present.


Jiffy Dress
This is one that I would choose because it has short kimono sleeves, pockets, and a belt.

Another jiffy dress

A few of the current selections for shifts from various sources:

These shifts are simple styles for comfort and work great for summer and early fall wear.

The center dress by adding a longer hemline is close to ideal.  It has sleeves and a nice high neckline with buttons on the shoulder so no zipper is required.  Here is a dress that looks similar and yet stunning.

How many major pattern pieces?  All that are necessary include front, back and sleeves.  You will need a neckline facing and that is it! Some do require zippers.  If the dress has a neckline that is big enough to pull over, try it, just make sure it won't gap when bending over.  There are so many patterns and ideas!

This Dress  looks very comfortable for fall.

Pearl Chambray Shift by Green Bee Designs
Sew Over It

This dress pattern is from Pinterest

This one is quite fitted. Make a muslin to check for comfort.

2-Hour shift dress:  Instructions


  The dresses can have a slight flare to them which will make walking easier and look more graceful.  The  variety of fabrics is limitless.  Do not choose too thin or too heavy a fabric.

If you are ready to try one and don't see a pattern you like, use a blouse pattern  ( sample below) that could be extended into a skirt. Try it in muslin or an old sheet first.  As for the width around the hem, use a tape measure and take a step as though you were walking and measure that distance and add a few extra inches to make  a comfortable  width.
Butterick 6175

If you want to add more detail to a shift style here are ideas:

This would look nice with a lower hem and a slight flare to the skirt.

Yoke with gathered front

This one adds a lot of feminine details with tucks, ruffles,  gathers, and a placket opening.

Another dress that would be a beautiful late summer, early fall dress

Accessories for these dresses would include jewelry, scarves, belts, vests, jackets, and sweaters.
These dresses are the perfect  to wear when the season changes as all you need is a light jacket or a sweater.  It is a very versatile style and can be worn year-round by making them of different weights of fabric for the different seasons.

As for figure specifics check out this site:  Find the Right Shift Dress for Your Figure  There are lots of ideas for what is right for you.

Have some fun and see if this style will work for you as it could add an amazingly useful dress to a minimalist wardrobe!

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the
 Father by him.  Colossians 3:17

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hemlines are Dropping at Least for Some of Us!

A dress by BOTEGA with the flared skirt and vintage sleeves.  The wide belt sets it off.  I would put a camisole with  vintage lace closer to the collarbone.  The hairstyle is reminiscent of the 40s.
Both of the above dresses were gathered from Fall Fashion Forecasts on the web (the only two I thought were decent!)  I found this purple dress interesting as I like the folkloric look for a little different statement in appreciation of handwork that ornamented many of our ancestors' clothing.

 Going through the emails from the pattern companies has encouraged me due to several new patterns coming out with lower (obviously below the knee) styles.  These new styles are starting to look a little more  feminine.  The graceful flowing skirts below the knees are very complementary to ladies as it amazingly balances the figure and it  makes quite a difference in the mood of the wearer. It just somehow enhances our desire to act more lady-like.  Try it for yourself,  if you don't already wear that type of garment.

This is a more sporty look.

M7625 Vintage looks can be pulled off quite easily.  I like the pretty details of this dress.

View C in  would look nice in florals or perhaps a very soft feminine color.
A basic all-occasion dress which can be made in a variety of fabrics depending on your preferences.  I would probably lower the hemline a few more inches to make a more  harmonious proportion figure-wise. A careful  decision of what to do with the split neckline  could entail a carefully matched or contrasted "modesty piece".
The sway of pleated skirts has always intrigued me.

M7650  An interesting dress that doesn't need the slit.  It seems to lose it's classy look with a slit in my opinion.

Another clasic all -purpose style that works well in florals.  Alonger length is in this pattern from McCalls 7651.

Always a classic, this time with banding.  McCalls 7623
I noticed that "tent dresses" are re-introduced by McCalls:

However this pattern also comes with this view below.  It would be an easy dress to make for casual wear.  McCalls 7565
 I like this rounded collar with 3/4 sleeves and the gently flared skirt.
A favorite from KwikSew 4001 that I would make the back come up to the neck with a zipper.  This is a good pattern for showcasing some extra special fabric.

Another sporty dress Butterick 6482

Butterick 64 85 with a lot of details for a fit and flair vintage dress.

Rule of thumb:  A couple inches below the knee to mid-calf is the most flattering length.
There are many styles that can be used from the pattern companies by altering the hemlines, sometimes changing necklines, or using a different sleeve.

So that is the roundup for some Fall dresses from the major pattern companies.  It is all up to your imagination and what looks great on you.
Happy sewing!