Mini-tutorial: shift dress


I'd planned to make a proper tutorial of this but I forgot about taking photos half way through. I've tried to make little diagrams, hopefully they make sense. Honestly, this is one of the easiest things to make ever so you'll probably get the gist.

I really like this. I wore it yesterday (the photo), I wore it today... I won't wear it tomorrow but I'd like to! Haha.
And of course because I'm bored and vain I rustled up another way to wear it without black. BUT ANYWAY, ON TO THE TUTORIAL :| :|

You will need...
About 1.5m of fabric. I used some vintage printed silk (sorry to sound pretentious) I've had for ages so it's not too translucent / doesn't have too much drape but is still really lightweight and airy. You could use virtually anything, actually.
You will also need some matching thread, scissors and a sewing machine. Provided you make this the right size, you shouldn't need any zippers or buttons or whatever.

What you must do!
Lay your fabric flat, folded in half. Either straight on the fabric or on a very large piece of paper (tracing paper, butcher paper, whatever), draw this shape (the black line):
Now I'm not going to tell you what size this is because it's supposed to be... you-sized! Because this doesn't have a zip, unless you're using stretchy fabric, this can't be skin tight. You can use an existing dress or top to work out generally how large to make it. Is this horribly vague? I shall update tomorrow with the measurement of my dress, actually.

Because you're cutting through two layers of fabric (you have folded your fabric in half) you might want to pin them together. On one piece, cut along the broken line around the neck. This is, surprise surprise, the front!

On the front piece, sew your darts! NOW. The dart on the left is approximately where you would usually put your darts (the point is generally the outermost point of your chest) but on the right is where I put mine. I have only put darts in this dress because otherwise you would have a gaping effect, but I don't really want it to be fitted. Does that make sense? Just do whichever you prefer. You could use a really wide stitch to begin with (or hand stitch) so you can take out the stitching and redo it according to what you like.
To give you a really basic idea of how to sew darts, take the edge along the dotted line, and bring it to meet the edge of the solid line, creating a fold. The folded should be on the wrong side of the fabric (what will be the inside of the dress). Sew it in place, coming to the point. Here's a photo of a dart to show you generally what it should look like:
Do it on the other side (make sure they are even), iron, and move on to the next step!
With the right sides together (the sides that will face outwards when the dress is finished) and the wrong sides facing outwards, sew along the shoulders and the sides (not the arm holes!). As you can probably tell, you are almost finished at this point.
Now you have to finish off the armholes, neck and bottom of the skirt. I usually do a really simple hem where I fold over a few mm to the inside, fold over again, and stitch over the top. You could also use bias binding if you find it easier / if you like the look.

Now you should be done. Sorry if I have explained this terribly. I will be working on improving my tutorials in future! I will also definitely take more photos next time. I have a tutorial in the works with a photo for every step, although the whole thing is more complicated.

Here is a little preview!
I haven't finished it partly because I had to go to sleep and partly because I haven't decided what I'm going to do on the bottom half yet haha. It should be nice though, whatever it is.


  1. Lovely tutorial and I'm really curious about your current work. I imagine some kind of fine pleated circular skirt woul look nice but that's just me <3
    However, seeing this really makes my fingers itch. I definitely sew some more if only my sewing machine would work :/

  2. Eee that would be so lovely if I have enough fabric! I shall have to see.
    You should get it serviced if you can, although it can be so expensive :/ hope it starts working again soon though, anyway! <3

  3. Ahh this is SO cute!
    Looks like I'm going to have to stop by a fabric store soon :D

  4. Weee!!! You have a blogspot! I was on flickr and when I saw your blog link I was so excited :] Anywho, welcome to the blogspot world, although I still feel new after 1.5 yrs. I hope you've been doing well :) I'm always inspired by how innovative and fearless you are with clothes! One day I'll have to venture into sewing/making my own clothes too...

  5. ah! PS. which template did you use for your blog? i stink at html and i have no clue where to start to redesign my blog. :P

  6. Hii! It's exciting but yeah I know what you mean about feeling new. I still feel new on Tumblr haha xD Blogspot is kind of scary. I have no idea how to get more followers or advertise. You definitely should start ASAP xD. It's a wonderful thing to be able to do, especially seeing as summer is approaching and new clothes are necessary.
    I just used the one called 'Simple' and changed the background, added a header, changed the colours and added the heart line things as 'gadgets' (: I didn't really fiddle with the html at all actually!

  7. your blog is really nice :)

  8. This looks great!
    I found you via wiwt2, and I really adore your style (and your hair, I just bleached mine a few weeks ago so now I feel an affinity for bottle blondes). I'm going to follow your blog, feel free to follow mine :)


  9. I know what you mean about blondes xD whenever I see someone else go blonde I just think 'GOOD CHOICE' and want to go shake their hand, or something. Idk. Anyway, thanks so much! I've followed you back (:

  10. Thank you so much for your tutorials. They helped me more than you know!

  11. This is exactly what I have been looking for! You are a saint, I'm so into shift dresses right now.

  12. hi just wondering if you knew the emasurements to this dress? its so cute i really want to make it!


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