Summer shift dress

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I know this is a very simple dress, but I am pretty happy right now! I feel more ‘me’ when I’m wearing this dress!

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To me that’s what makes a successful ‘make’– When you feel like you are really showing your personality/personal style in the garment and it fits your lifestyle.

Let me tell you something about my lifestyle:I live in a small apartment in Sydney Australia, I am at home a lot, and right now it is HOT. I love the heat, always have, but it really does feel like I’m living in a greenhouse, so a loose fitting cotton shift dress is just what I need!

I went shorter than I ordinarily would…because the dress is such a loose shape I felt like the short length made it more flattering/youthful.

Material notes:

The pattern is New Look 6225. It’s actually a top pattern, but I always planned to lengthen it into a dress (because I love love love raglan sleeves).

The fabric is a mysterious cotton bought years ago at Spotlight. There was a whole roll of it for sale (over 6 meters) for something crazy cheap like $9 for the roll. I bought that whole roll. That was an awesome day!

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Things I love about this dress:

  • This is the perfect dress for hot weather. It’s loose fiting and the fabric is light and breathable
  • The bold ‘geometric print cotton fabric I used. I have made a dress from this fabric before, but I feel like this shift dress works much better with the print!

Things I love about this pattern:

  • It’s a good pattern to showcase a bold print (because it’s such a simple style)
  • Raglan sleeves. More flattering on my wide shoulders AND much easier to sew than the dreaded set-in sleeves
  • No zipper/notions or buttons required! This dress slips over my head. Gotta love that!
  • Quick and easy too make.
  • Wide round neckline. Round necklines are a favourite of mine and suit me better, not really sure why

If you try this pattern do be aware that it has a LOT of ease. I recommend going down a size and/or sewing the seam allowances bigger (in my case 5/6mm further in)

Fitting/sewing notes:

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Normally I would be apprehensive about using a ‘new look’ pattern, because the fit of ‘new look’ patterns is often very poor, but because it was intended to be a loose fitting garment I went ahead and tried it.

New Look patterns are is the king of too much ‘ease’. This is why I made a size 8 and sewed the seams allowances at 2cms, rather than the usual 1.5cms (in effect removing 5mm from the seam allowances from all the pieces).

I made view B (with the lower neckline)

I added 9cms to hem of top, in order to make it into a shift/mini-dress

I used the sleeve pieces B,C and shortened the sleeves by around 5cms

I made my own bias binding…

I used a 85cm long bias strip for the neckline. I made it much wider than the pattern suggested (so it was easier to work with).

I didn’t use bias binding on the sleeves, I just turned and stitched them like a regular hem. Truth be told I am not a massive fan of using bias binding. I love the way it looks, but it feels sloppily done when I do it. Perhaps I just need practice!

I can’t remember why I did it, but I added a seam to the center back, rather than cutting it on the fold. It may have just been a more economical use of fabric in this case (it would probably look better cut on the fold).

Seam treatment: I just overlocked them, but this kind of dress that would have been a good candidate for french seams. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to changing the colour of my overlocking thread… I overlocked the garment with white overlocking thread. Yes I am THAT lazy! Sorry.Once I am more professional perhaps I will make the insides of my garment nicer!

I am already planning more dresses using this pattern. I love the idea of doing one where the sleeves are in a contrasting fabric. Fun!

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28 comments
  1. This dress looks lovely on you. I agree about how amazing it feels to wear something that is completely you, that you have made. The feeling is incredible

    • Thanks Kaitlyn! This must be why we are so hooked on sewing 😉

  2. Chloe said:

    Fantastic fabric, and a really great dress. It doesn’t matter if a pattern is simple or easy, if you love the result, which you clearly do!

    • Thank you Chole! Yes good point. If a dress is your style but it’s also quick and easy all the better!

  3. There you go again, looking like Twiggy and all. Super cute and perfect for the heat.
    Enjoy your weekend!
    Beth

    • You are too kind Beth! It’s been a hot summer. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m not dreading the cooler weather this year. It also means I get to try some of your fun tutorials 🙂

  4. This is so cute and you look amazing! I totally agree with your definition of a successful make! There’s no better feeling than wearing something that makes you feel like “you”!

  5. The dress so cute ! I bet you could also wear it in the colder weather to tights too. Big win with this dress.

    • Thanks Catherine, Glad you can see the 60s influence!

  6. Mags said:

    It really does suit you and the pattern placement is perfect.

    • Aw thanks so much! I’m so glad you like the pattern placement!

  7. Amy said:

    Very cute. You make a good point about hitting your style and sticking there. I’ve not shared a lot of my empire line casual tops because they’re perfect for me but probably not very interesting to blog readers as they’ve seen them before from me

    • Thanks. Yes! The things that are going to make your wardrobe better are rarely the elaborate special occasion dresses! I say if it’s something you are excited about, it’s worth blogging about! I always enjoy your posts and I love hearing about how things are worn in the real world, where things are casual 🙂

  8. Ines said:

    I love it and I agree; that style of dress is perfect for the pattern. I love ranglan sleeves so much. I have noticed that a sleeve whose shoulder seam sits perfectly at my shoulder joint is really important in making the garment look good b/c if the shoulder seam is any lower even by the tiniest bit one looks like your wearing a hand-me- down sac and if it is too high then one cant move. With a ranglan your own shoulder demarcates that joint line always in the perfect place and voila! You have a perfect fit without any fuss!
    Anyway I digress your dress is great !

    • Thanks for the lovely comment Ines.
      That’s an excellent point about the fit. Brilliant!
      So much about sewing is learning what works for you and how to get the fit you want.
      I kind of want to make everything with raglan sleeves now! haha

  9. I am in love with this fabric – it’s just perfect as a shift. You look perfectly 60s! I definitely want to make a couple of shifts in time for spring in the northern hemisphere, and yours is very inspiring.

    • Thank you Morgan! You would look amazing in a shift dress, can’t wait to see! I love the things you make!

  10. This dress is great! It makes your legs look like they go on forever. I hear this is a good thing. I always have to size down on New Look and Simplicity patterns too but the fit of this is well suited for the style. You definitely nailed it.

    • Aw thanks so much :)! From now on going down a size in those patterns will be standard practice for me too!

  11. Totally great dress – wonderful fabric and the perfect dress for warm weather. I love your sense of style!

    • Thanks! That’s a huge compliment! I’m so glad you like me style 🙂

  12. Thank you for doing such a detailed post and showing your ace pictures. I’m just about to pick up the scissors to make this so I’m very glad I found your blog.

    • No problem! I’m so glad that it was a help/of interest to you. Hope to see your dress 🙂 xx

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