Shift Dress Toile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I’m not working I have a habit of wearing more or less the same thing – either jeans or a denim skirt, a long-sleeved t-shirt and one of my hand-knitted cardigans.  This uniform is casual, comfortable, but also scruffy and lacking in any style.  In an attempt to get out of the rut I have decided to make myself a winter dress.  I have a lovely piece of tweed which I think will make a really nice Mary Quant type shift.

In September Burda showed a shift dress pattern (107 09/2012) in a number of guises, it came in a sweatshirt which Melissa made up; a lady like, below the knee, a-line (OK frumpy) knit dress; a short sleeved lace dress and a short shift similar to the one I want to make.  On the Burda website I found this  dress which is the sort of look I am trying to achieve.

I find it a little odd that exactly the same pattern pieces are used for such different fabrics, indeed if I were to make either of the longer dresses I would probably cut a smaller size than that used for the looser sweatshirt or shorter shift.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough I am pretty much a standard Burda size I didn’t want to cut into my good fabric without making a toile.  As I didn’t have any calico to hand I decided to make up the dress in this furnishing fabric from Ikea.  In part this is because the fabric is not very drapey, a little like my tweed, and in part it’s because I like the colours which seem quite spring like.  Well, we did have a bit of sunshine today and there are snow drops in the garden so I can hope that spring is on it’s way.

The dress was very quick to make.  It has long curvy darts in the front and an interesting dart at the top of the sleeve which is sewn in one with the shoulder seam.  Apart from that it couldn’t be simpler.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fit is very loose and the shape is quite flared.  It’s comfortable and casual, has long sleeves and will get me out of my rut but I’m not completely convinced it’s what I am looking for.  I’m not sure what is wrong but maybe the shape just doesn’t suit me.  You can see in this photo that it gives me quite wide hips (OK the fabric doesn’t really help).  I’m not really used to wearing such a loose style and such a high neck line.  It may be that the problem I have with it could be fixed it I tried a sleeker fit.

What do you think?  Should I go ahead or should I use my lovely tweed for something different?  Do you have any good patterns for a simple shift?


16 thoughts on “Shift Dress Toile

  1. I know what you mean about getting in a rutt cos I’m right there with you. The thing about shifts and relatively stiff fabrics is you lose your curves so I’m not sure that’s a good combo. It would work better if it was a little sleeker, I agree. Could you belt it successfully?

    • Glad I’m not the only one who gets stuck in a rut! You are right about the combination of stiff fabrics and shifts. I think may be the problem is that I’m not really used to wearing clothes which lose your curves and maybe I should just bite the bullet and go for it.

  2. I’d go the opposite way to Calico Stretch’s suggestion. Leave the shape hanging A line, but do something to draw the eye to the neckline – could be braid, contrast facing turned to the front or just the usual suspects, beads, scarves etc.

    • Having slept on it, I think you are probably right. I suppose I’m nervous because I have such a nice piece of tweed to use – but if I really don’t like the dress I can always find another dress and another length of tweed

  3. I really like it and I would totally wear this version. I’m a sucker for IKea fabrics, so that helps. I tried this pattern just before Christmas as the short sleeve version and need to finish it off. I was unhappy with my version too. It needs to be taken in through the waist to make it a bit less sack like for me.

  4. I agree with Pella. I have just finished this dress and there is no way I would wear it without a scarf. I never feel happy with such a plain high neck like this and add to that, the sack like shape – what was I thinking! Funnily enough I do like the dress and would make it again, but next time I would not have the wide sleeve. I think once you put a scarf with yours, which will also break up the large circles, it will look good. Perhaps wear it a few times, and if happy, go with the tweed version.

  5. Pingback: Red and white polka dots | He Cooks… She Sews!

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