Mod tulip-print shift dress

Note: click on images to enlarge them! My wordpress template makes them small -but not for much longer hopefully…;)

So for the past month or so I have found myself a little too hooked on pinning 60s fashion/style “sewing inspiration” (on pinterest)!

I decided that finding a shift dress pattern that was as simple as possible (A line, loose fit, just bust darts etc) was my no 1 sewing priority. I absolutely adore bold prints, so I figured once I had found a simple shift dress pattern, I could finally make TONS of simple dresses in statement prints!

I am such a ‘print’ person! I love the vibrancy, energy, colours and emotions they can evoke, so much so that when they do the print challenge on project runway and someone who only wears black inevitably says ‘I don’t DO prints’ I sort start to really dislike them! (it’s OK I mean ‘TV-dislike’, not real dislike 😉 )



Sorry if this is TMI-I wear short shorts under my mega short shifts-that way I don’t worry about flashing anyone or looking indecent. It’s just when the silhouette is very loose I seem to end up making my dress much shorter.

When I studied fashion design many years ago (quit before the end of first year) and the subject I did best in was textile printing. I LOVED designing prints more than anything else! I still have some orange twill I printed with a geometric rubylith design from back then. When I find it i’ll make a dress out of it, because I think I’ve found the pattern to use for it!

Material notes:

I bought this fabric from spotlight for a steal many years ago. Happily I still have more of it! The lining is just cheap poly cotton. Gutterman thread of course! Heres a link to the pattern I used. I got mine from a burdastyle magazine (3/2010 style 104). The dress is actually a “wedding dress” go figure…then again if I did get married (which I highly doubt), it would not be in a traditional wedding gown either!

Fitting/Alteration notes:

I have gone back to making a muslin/test-garment before I make a dress. In this case it worked out well! I only made one test garment, Luckily I didn’t overfit this time, as this dress is supposed to be loose. If I make it again I think I will let out the shoulder seams and possibly the top of the side seams as it is a smidge too tight there.

I cut out the pattern in the smallest size size 10 (a europen 36) I took it in slightly on the side seams, lowered the neckline a little, altered the shoulders and added small darts to the back (for just a bit a bit of shaping).

I was so in love with camelias and crinoline’s version of this dress! She mentioned she cut the back of the dress lower- eliminating the need for any fastenings on this dress. I did this too and it turned out to be a BRILLIANT idea! I love a dress you can just slip over your head!


Construction notes:

I decided to avoid facings or bias binding. I fully lined the dress, with no hand sewing! I used the same technique that I have used for bodices, when I made a lot of fit and flare style dresses and it worked a treat!

Would anyone be interested in a tutorial on how to line a sleeveless shift dress completely by machine? You get a nice clean finish!

The lining helps to add weight to the dress, which also means it doesn’t crease as easily.

While I was finishing the dress (about to hem it) and after 7+ hrs making it/lining it nicely, I noticed a little hole in the back of the dress! I was so bummed and at that point I couldn’t even be bothered changing the colour cotton I used, when repairing the hole! Moral of the story: Be careful with your clippers and always check for faults in your fabric!


I did the biggest/widest hem of all time on this dress (its a long story). I used a blind hem foot to finish the hem. I actually like the treatment of the hem because it helps the dress stand out/hold it’s shape.


I’m even going to show you the insides, because I am actually kind of proud of them…


No zip needed, I just love that!

So in conclusion: Yay! Don’t be surprised if from this point onwards, all I make is printed shift dresses! I have finally found a simple pattern and I have so many fabrics that want to be shifts (sorry if that sounded slightly crazy heh)



  1. Mette said:

    Hi Kath . Nice dress and very good work, fabric is amazing , and look so good on you

  2. Erika said:

    This is a great looking dress, it suits you well. I have some material that I am thinking will make a perfect shift dress, one of my many favorite styles, and I am totally interested in a shift dress lining tutorial. I am gonna have to line the one I want to make and the pattern doesn’t have instructions for it.

    • Thanks! Great. I took pictures of the process so I will post a tutorial :). Yay! Linings are often much nicer to work with than facings, look forward to seeing your shift dress!

    • Hehe thanks, I will have to post a behind-the-seams/tutorial then! 🙂

  3. Glad to hear you’ve found your Holy Grail pattern! 🙂 Looking forward to lots more lovely shift dresses from you! I’m definitely interested in hearing more about your lining technique – the inside of this dress looks great.

  4. vmtr4life said:

    LOVE!!! Cutest dress ever! The fact that it doesn’t have a zipper and is just a slip on makes it even better! Yes, you should do a tutorial. I am still in the fear stage of linings.

    • Thank you! so glad you like it :D!
      Yay! I will do one!

      I know what you mean, they can be so confusing!

  5. Anne W said:

    It’s gorgeous! Daughter No2 really loves your style!

    • aww so sweet! I love her style too! You have the luckiest daughters… I hope I have girls one day so I can sew fabulous things for them the way you do! 🙂

  6. Laura said:

    Oh, cute! I love a patterned shift dress and one without a zip sounds good to me. I’d be interested in a lining tutorial.

    • I just saw your latest dress with the tribal print, it is absolutely beautiful! So glad you think it will be helpful! Lovely not to deal with zips once in a while!

  7. Printed shift dresses suit you, and you have an eye for fabric. This one is so pretty!

    • Thanks so much Kat 🙂 I love your style, so that means a lot!

  8. I love this! It’s so happy! I love the scoop neck in the back, too- gotta love skipping a fastener! I like a nice deep hem on a shift dress, too. It gives it a great weight!

    • Thank you :)! Ah yes I’m just so into skipping zips, they are not THAT bad, but slipping a dress over your head is kind of brilliant! 😉
      Yes, exactly!

  9. You are too cute!! This style of dress was made for you!

  10. Cute! Shame about the hole but thankfully with your print it’s not that noticeable. Took me a while to spot it in the photo!

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