Shift dress with a side fold

posted in: Designing, Finished projects | 23

Last week I posted my draping on the stand progress. I mentioned that rather than a skirt I wanted to make a shift dress. Here is the inspiration picture again (isn’t it lovely?)

I used a simple, yoked shift dress, keeping the back the same as designed, just adapting the front skirt section by creating a whole pattern, pleating it, and then cutting it so that the pleated section is on the cross. For interest I created the front yoke on the cross grain and the back yoke on the bias (joined across, rather than a chevron arrangement, as I wanted it to echo the front.)

At this stage the pleat was pinned across and the side seams were pinned only. The tailors tack is CF waist.

I lined the dress with two pieces of left over fabric. The bodice is lined with the £2 metre fabric I bought for my circle dress; the dress is lined with a fairly robust silk – both of them in navy. This saved me making facings. I find it quite helpful to use my dress stand to do linings by turning the outfit inside out, especially when the hem line is so unreliable, as it is with this dress. I let it hang around a bit too, due to the bias cut at the hem.

I did briefly consider making pleated sleeves – the sort that Sew2Pro has championed. But when I tried the basted dress on – with its very linear look – I thought my bare arms were light relief against the fabric. The dark navy is a bit deep for me, lifted to a degree by the light blue-grey stripe. So my arms and silver jewellery will bright some lightness into the outfit. But overall it is a structural, architectural look. I made a little stock, or cravat for the dress with some of the left over fabric, using the lovely red selvedge for a tiny splash of colour. The shift dress isn’t ideal for my curved body shape, but the dress looks quite nice with a belt and a jacket too. It’s so dark when I get home from work at the moment – these pictures aren’t very good – I have lightened them a bit!


23 Responses

  1. Sew2pro

    I agree with everyone: it’s a success! The last picture looks great; I love that you kept the length shorting. With your light hair (and personality), the predominance of navy won’t be too solemn. If however you don’t want it… I’ll have it! 🙂

  2. Carol

    I think that I love this. But it is really hard to see. Please come back and show us more pictures and elaborate a little more on how you did this.

  3. Penny

    I’ve been following your draping adventures with great interest and I think that it’s been worth all that hard work because this dress is superb: I have proper dress envy.

  4. Linda M

    This has been a lovely series on Ms. Westwood’s designs. I’ve really enjoyed it! You really should let me use one of your interpretations, with credit to you of course, or you can join in yourself, for my DESIGNIN’ DECEMBER Challenge on my blog. You are sewing exactly like I describe – see something you like and use it to inspire you to make your own. Very lovely work!

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