Ultimate Shift Dress

The ‘Ultimate Shift Dress’ from Sew Over It was my first solo dressmaking challenge. I had to bite the bullet and start to learn dressmaking alone, arrrgggg! What if I ruin my lovely fabric? What if I’m no good? Of course I had the usual doubts but once the pattern had arrived, I had no choice but to go for it.

Im a bit of a sucker for package design and presentation. The vintage look of this packaging is so dreamy and the design of the dress is very versatile, with three alternative versions in one pattern. I decided to make version three. I had never set in a sleeve and wanted something fairly easy but also something to test my abilities. The sleeveless collar version seemed like a sensible choice.


I was between sizes, so I simply drew a line from the waist to the hip to merge from a size eight to a size 12. The pattern tells you how many pieces to cut out. However I did manage to confuse myself at one point when one piece stated ‘cut 1 pair’. I was thinking, is this a trick question or do I just cut two pieces, ha ha. I had never seen instructions worded this way, but yes it did indeed mean, cut two.

I made three muslin (a muslin is a mock up of the garment, using cheaper fabric) versions of the dress before I dared to cut into my fabric. I found the back of the dress to be really quite baggy, so I altered the back to make it a slimmer fit. A great tip I have learnt, is to trace the pattern onto some form of tracing paper or very thin interfacing. This way, you are not cutting into your pattern and if you need to alter it, you can simply trace it again without ruining your pattern paper.


The Sewing instructions were really easy to follow and the pictures provided alongside the instructions were really useful. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I had a little difficulty with the collar. The collar I had cut was much smaller than the neckline of the dress which really confused me. After numerous attempts at trying to figure it out (yes I did the usual, put it down and come back to it another time), I still couldn’t figure it out. I had cut a size 8 pattern at the top, and also had cut a size 8 collar. After speaking with Lisa from Sew Over It, she advised that I shouldn’t have to gather the neckline, it should just fit. I cut out another collar, thinking it may have been the way I cut it, however this did not solve the problem. So I simply made my seams smaller on the collar and Voila, it fit!



Has anyone else had collar issues with this dress?


I was really pleased with the end result. I used bias binding to finish the armholes, whereas the pattern says to fold over and edge stitch. I felt the binding gave it a much more professional feel and I think its my favourite part of the dress (yes the bit you can’t see ). I also added a belt for extra shape around the waist.


One more tip for sewing this dress. I used pure cotton fabric which doesn’t have much movement. Meaning its not the most comfortable dress to wear, but I love the fabric print and think it looks really pretty, so who cares if its comfortable or not ;)