Monday, September 25, 2017

Some More Shifts! Variations for fit and figure

I hope you will pardon me for offering another post on  shift dresses. I enjoy looking at all the options. I find it to be a comfortable dress for times when you don't want the more figure-outlining styles.  I think some of us are desiring to see some looser clothing offered and worn.  These are my suggestions for summer coolness and possible layering for winter warmness.  They are modest with high necks, sleeves, and hemlines below the knees.

You will notice that adornments are very simple.  It is an easy style to accessorize.  Check out  jewelry in the illustrations.  Jackets would certainly be an option for fall, winter and spring.  Sweaters worn under or over would work for layering.

There is such a variety of shift patterns available both from the major pattern companies as well as individual pattern designers.   One of the reasons that it is back in popularity is that it offers short skirts and ease of sewing.  Fortunately the skirts are adaptable to increasing the width and length at the hemline.

These offerings are not as quick sewing  as the jiffy dresses although they are simple in design and should not take long to put together.

Just surfing through a small amount of individual designers, I have found an endless variety  of shift  styles!  These again are designed for women of all shapes.  Some give more figure ease as well as style.

The Pleat Detail Dress

The Utility Dress

 The above are from The Maker's Atelier.She has other dress patterns offered that would work as shifts.

Anna Maria offers a couple fun styles!
A roomier style yet an easy pattern to make by Anna Marie Horner.
This hem could easily be lengthened.

The Cabin Dress

The Cabin Dress with angled pockets.

Cabin back view

Renovations to the Cabin Dress.

Here is a fuller-skirted dress with big side pockets.

The RushCutter

The pattern information is on this site.

This Fulwood Dress offers several variations.  The pictures below are from students who made this in the classes offered at the designer's shop.


The Trapeze Dress by Merchant and Mills

Anna Pattern available here

A few of the simpler styles below:

Suitable for complete beginners! Dress with kimono sleeves, subtly cinched thanks to princess seams in the back, adorned with a bust pocket.

This one is called the Arum Dress by Deer and Doe.

 It is a basic shift with fitted back seam.

Downloadable patterns from the Tessuti Site.


This skirt is slightly gathered at the hem.

The dress in this pattern was popular several years ago as it had neck variations.  Maybe some of you might have this in your pattern stash.

This dress has raglan sleeves similar to the one above but not a gathered neckline.

The Prism Dress

Back to basics again.

These 3 above are from the Colette Laurel pattern.  You can see how women have made them their own at this site.

The following  patterns for the Camber Dress are from Merchant and Mills.  You can check out the Pinterest site here as some of these dresses are from that site.

Below are examples from Pinterest of the Staple Dress from April Rhodes.

I hope you have been able to enjoy a shift dress.  I have a simple one in the making from New Look 6500 in denim.  It will be for winter wear as I like to layer for comfort.

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our  Lord Jesus Christ.  Galatians 1:3

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