On a recent trip to Target (one of my favorite stores), I passed through the dress department to quickly browse what was new while on my way to the register, and came across this super cute red and gray Shift Dress — I immediately wanted one! With the holidays just behind us, it was the perfect time for red (not to mention it matches my new lippy in Cherry Pie), so I went to Mood Fabrics NYC for just the right houndstooth fabric to suit my fancy. I’m super pleased with how it turned out….my 2nd shift dress, my first attempt at sewing one — super proud of myself. What new sewing ventures on your fashion horizon for the new year? Tell me below. Happy New Year all!
SUPPLIES: a dress you already own to create a pattern from, 1.5 yards of houndstooth fabric, tracing or tissue paper, a pencil, straight pins, scissors, and a straight edge.
1. Double up a portion of your fabric the size of 1/2 of your dress (I placed a piece of paper in between layers so you could see what I mean). Then, turn your dress inside out with the sleeves inward, and lay it on top of your doubled up fabric (Note: the fold is on the left side of the picture).
2. Cut out the outline of your dress (Note: I cut this one pretty close to the exact size of this dress rather than leaving room for a seam allowance because my previous dress was a little big). Hold tight on the neck in this step….you’ll see a closer illustration in Step #3.
3. Here I’ve already cut out both the back and the front of the dress, taking into consideration the lower sloping neckline in the front (Note: Take into account that the dress down not meet at the top directly at the shoulder, so my back panel is slightly longer at the shoulder than my front panel).
4. Using your tracing/tissue paper, trace the sleeve of your original dress to create a pattern for your sleeve.
5. I folded my fabric in half TWICE, leaving the folds across the top and down the left sides of the picture. Now, pin the half of your sleeve pattern that you just created to your double folded fabric.
6. Cut out your pattern, in doing so you will now have two full sleeves (both front and back).
7. I love pockets….and a quick way to create them in my opinion is to pin generously around your hand for a general shape. I used the remnants of my twice doubled fabric. (Note: Be sure to leave an extra inch on both sides of your wrist so you can get your hand in and out with ease).
8. Cut this shape out you just created and you’ll have front and backs for your two pockets.
9. Match up the armholes, and pin the front and back panels together at the side seams of your dress.
10. Now it’s time to pin the dress together at the shoulders…remember it doesn’t meet perfectly on the shoulder bone, but rather slightly in the front — take this into account when pinning.
11. Take a front and back pocket piece and put right sides facing together. Now, open up your side seams that you pinned where you want your pockets (mine were 9 inches from the hem). You want to pin each half to the inner side of your dress. Repeat for the other side.
12. With about a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew along the pin lines you just created to pin your pockets in place.
13. It all starts to come together in this step! Here I illustrated me sewing the two shoulder portions together that you pinned in Step #10 (with the pattern, it may be a little tricky to see). I then sewed together both side seams of the dress (Note: leave an inch or two at the arm hole that you’ll go back and finish up once you’ve attached the sleeves).
14. Pin the hem to your dress (Note: when creating this hem, be sure to keep an eye on your pattern so it matches up).
15. Create a neat edge to your neckline with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
16. Pin your sleeves in place, and then sew them together.
17. Now it’s time to finish it all up….sew your neckline, arm holes, hemline…then you are all set!
Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of the award winning blog, Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for over a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow; and has been a contributor for Yahoo Finance, Manilla, Good Housekeeping, and Newsday Westchester. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.