How to Make a Shift Dress

Updated April 17, 2017

A shift dresses is a versatile key garment that can be accessorised to make it look different each time you wear it. A shift dress can be plain or patterned and is relatively easy to make. You can use cotton or stretchy material, even velvet or a warmer fabric for winter.

Take your measurements across your breasts, waist and hips. Alternatively, use a dress you already have as a guide to your size by laying the fabric over the old dress and allowing an inch either side of the dress and at the shoulders for seams. Cut the fabric in half lengthways, allowing fabric for seams, plus an extra inch at the bottom for the hem.

Place the two pieces of fabric back to back with the pattern facing inward. Measure the distance from your knee to the bottom of where the armhole will be, allowing an inch for the hemline. Sew the side seams to the bottom of the armhole.

Cut out a curve at what will be the front part of the dress for the neckline. Alternatively, you can leave it as it is and have a straight-across neckline.

Sew the shoulder seams. Fold over the edge of the neck area twice and all the way round. If your machine has a hemming foot, use it and the foot will do this for you as it sews. If you don't have the foot, pin the seams and sew into place.

Fold over the edge of the bottom of the dress in the same way as the neck. Fold it all the way round, and then pin and sew in place.

Accessorise your dress by adding a big belt or jewellery, a cardigan or waterfall jacket.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Beverley Lee started freelance writing in 2005 while teaching journalism. Her work has been published in the "Leicester Mercury," the "Peterborough Evening Telegraph" and "Inside Time." She holds a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism and a teaching degree. She also has her own company for recruitment assistance.