{Style} DIY Shift Dress

Happy Fashion Friday ya'll! Today we're talking about the shift dress. When to wear it, how to style it, and (since I'm self-care sewing obsessed) where to find a pattern for one if you want to stitch one up yourself!

First things first: What IS a shift dress? And why should I wear one?
A shift dress is universally flattering because.. well, it's shapeless. It's got a simple straight, slightly flared silhouette, and doesn't hug any "problem areas." Hooray!! They come in lengths from "above to knee" to "woah there!"- so be prepared to show some leg! 

The simple design can be dressed up or down for really any occasion. Shift dresses work best in lightweight materials, so they're perfect for summer (like the 90+ degree one we've been enduring this week!) and easily layered for cooler temperatures. 

DIY Shift Dress using the Violette Field Threads Piper PDF Pattern from the Pattern Revolution Women's Sewing Bundle

DIY Shift Dress using the Violette Field Threads Piper PDF Pattern from the Pattern Revolution Women's Sewing Bundle

Alright.. but I've tried a shift dress before and it was *not* flattering! 

Most people complain about a "tent-like" effect in their shift dresses. It's true - this is NOT a fitted design.  It's a dress meant to be worn, and fabric choice will really make-or-break it. Whether you're sewing or shopping for your shift dress, pick a fabric with a lot of movement, or "great drape." Swing it around. Does it swish? Then you're onto something! Does it just kinda... stiffly flap from side to side? Pass. (Recommended: VERY light weight knits, cotton voile, even lightweight chambrays)

  DIY Shift Dress using the Violette Field Threads Piper PDF Pattern from the Pattern Revolution Women's Sewing Bundle

 

DIY Shift Dress using the Violette Field Threads Piper PDF Pattern from the Pattern Revolution Women's Sewing Bundle

The rest of the shift-dress-troubleshooting is in the styling:

  • Do you have a narrow waist? Belt it! Use a skinny belt and make sure to maintain a slight billowy-effect to emphasize existing (or allude to non-existent) curves up top.
  • Wider build? Throw a fitted jacket over this puppy! Denim jackets are great for casual occasions, but a boyfriend blazer would be just awesome for a night on the town, don't you think??
  • With these shorter hemlines, heels are a must! Casual wedges, stilettos, even knee high boots will show off those gams.
  • Embellish!  If you've got long legs, opt for a bold, bright shoe. If your accident-prone toddlers have left your legs bruised and battered (or if you're just too lazy to shave..) these pair great with leggings! If you've got bigger boobies, nix the necklace and opt for dangly glamorous earrings. No boobies? (Or, if you're nursing like me, maybe you've got lopsided boobies??) pick a shift dress with a great back detail. This low back dress has an optional bow to draw focus off the front.
DIY Shift Dress using the Violette Field Threads Piper PDF Pattern from the Pattern Revolution Women's Sewing Bundle

DIY Shift Dress using the Violette Field Threads Piper PDF Pattern from the Pattern Revolution Women's Sewing Bundle

Do I have to know how to sew??  No way! Shift dresses are eeeeeverywhere.  They're all-season and available at every price point. 

But if you WANT to sew yours, I highly recommend this pattern! This is the Piper by Violette Field Threads, which is available through June 27 at a discount in the Pattern Revolution Women's Sewing Bundle. The most complicated this pattern gets is fabric choice, since it's bound to get a bit slippery. But hey - there's a product for that! (Glue sticks will work in a pinch, too.)

Now go enjoy your weekend ya'll!

Already in weekend mode?? Go check out all the fabulous women's attire patterns featured in the Bundle Up special!


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Becca DuVal

Hi there! I'm Becca: a wife, momma, and serial-crafter juggling a fancy camera, sewing machine, and preschool drop-off. Here you'll find the latest in my sewing exploits, portraiture projects, and family adventures!