October 15, 2019

'Tis the Season for Shift Dresses

December 2019 - Shift Dresses


It's rare for us to have two back to back dress boxes. If you've been keeping track, we try to offer a variety of different clothing pieces in hopes that as a subscriber, you can create a complete wardrobe of me-made staples.

That being said, we thought this month would be the perfect time to feature Shift Dresses. Why, you ask? Well, we know that December can be a crazy month. Between parties, the actual holidays, and shorter days, it feels like the month whips by before you can catch your breath. And so, if you're gonna do some sewing during the month, it makes sense to be something that is easy to sew and easy to fit. 

Enter the humble shift dress. Popularized by the flappers in the 20s then revived by Mod designers in the 60s, the shift dress is many things in one simple package. Flattering lines that skim over the body, easy to fit design (you only have to fit the shoulders!), and versatility in styling that lets you play with skirt and sleeve length, as well as neckline style. Added all up, and you have a dress that can become an essential part of your wardrobe!

For this month, we're straddling two modes of thought. One, you can use this box to create a last minute holiday dress, so we've chosen some fabrics that would be great dressed up with a pair of tights and some statement jewelry. Two, we know that lots of people travel during the holidays (and just after), so if you're looking for a resort-wear dress, we've got you covered with some warm weather friendly fabrics. 

So without further ado, let's look at the boxes!

Sew Fearless Box: Cielo Dress from Closet Case Patterns

We love featuring Closet Case Patterns in our boxes when we get the chance. They're styles take classic wardrobe staples: the jean, the maxi dress, the shirt dress, and elevate them with really interesting details. The Cielo Dress is no exception. 

Part of their first pattern collection, Rome, it is designed to evoke simplicity, chicness and versatility. Basically everything that you'd want in a dress! A boxy bodice gives way to a loose-fitting skirt that falls straight from the bust. In other words, a simple shift. But, it's all in the details. Back shoulder inserts create opportunity for color-blocking or bias contrast (and an easy way to adjust for the very common rounded shoulder). And several sleeve options allow you to make this dress many times over without it every being the same dress or top twice. And who couldn't love that?

Now, to the fabrics:

  • Black Brussels Washer Linen: Brussels Washer combines the textural feel of linen with the drape and softness of rayon to create a lovely and versatile fabric. In a simple black, this fabric choice will allow you to create a simple black dress that will work for nearly any occasion. Light enough for warmer weather, it would be a great option for dinner out while on vacation. Or if you're in colder climes, you can pair it with tights, boots and sweater for a great winter look. Get ready for this to be your go-to wardrobe staple!
  • Blue Fern Geometric Rayon Challis: The lightest of our fabric options, this printed rayon will allow you to really play with drape in the sleeves of this dress (like the yellow dress in the model photos). It will look soft and elegant, dressy yet comfortable. And that pattern! While it doesn't quite show in the swatch, the pattern consists of thin, fern-like leaves layered over a geometric background. What looks like a solid light blue is actually a tiny hexagonal design that looks almost like fishnet. Visual interest up close, stunning large scale print from afar. What a gorgeous dress this fabric will make!
  • Red Linen Cotton Rayon Railroad Stripe: Shift dresses seem to call for stripes. Straight side seams and simple style lines really let the stripes shine. And, with this type of dress, you have the option of laying your lines either vertically, like a pinstripe, or horizontally, like a French Navy stripe. Both options would look stunning. In a muted red colorway, this fabric is the choice if you want a burst of color to brighten up your wardrobe.

Sew Confident Box: Shift Dress from Wiksten Patterns

It would be nearly impossible for us to do a Shift Dress box, and not include the Wiksten Shift. Since its release earlier this year, this pattern has quickly become a fan favorite in the sewing community, even selling out of the paper format within weeks of its release. 

It's a fabulous pattern for new sewists looking to up their sewing game, and for more experienced sewists, it's a wonderful pattern to really dig in to the mindfulness of the sewing process. With drop-shoulder sleeves, gathers instead of darts for bodice shaping, and simple patch pockets, it's a relatively easy sew that will give you amazing results every time. 

Plus, it will really let your fabric shine! 

  • Black Viscose Dobby Swiss Dot: With the look of swiss dot, but without the sheerness, this viscose fabric is simple elegance. Lightweight, with a tiny bit of translucence in light, this is the dress you want in your wardrobe when on vacation. Airy enough to use as a beach cover-up, yet stylish enough for going out on the town, you can simply pack this and be set. Plus, the swiss dot pattern elevates it above an ordinary little black dress into something truly unique!
  • Plum Striped Cotton Hemp Woven: We used this fabric before, but in a light blue, and the feedback we got from everyone is that this fabric is buttery. Wonderfully smooth, it has just the right combination of drape and body. The light plum color adds an unexpected twist on a chambray stripe woven, and the alternating stripe pattern will really let the style lines of the pattern shine. We're swooning just thinking about it. 
  • Cherry Red Nirvana Double Gauze: If you ever wanted to make a dress that feels exactly like a being wrapped in a baby blanket, this fabric is for you. Undeniably soft and light, nirvana double gauze feels like being wrapped in a cloud. And in a deeply saturated, cherry red, that cloud has pizzazz and pop. An amazing option if you want to wear secret pajamas to a holiday party or if you need a bold color on vacation. This fabric will work for both!

Sew Curvy Box: Piper Boho Dress from Wardrobe by Me

Wardrobe by Me just released their first batch of paper patterns to stores, and we've taken the opportunity to snap up a few for our boxes. With their patterns being so popular in pdf form, we're thrilled get get the paper versions in stock. Sporting clean and modern Scandinavian styles, the patterns cover wardrobe staples and give so many options for customization. And the Piper Boho Tunic and Dress fits right in their collection. 

This pattern is all about options. Two neckline options (a keyhole opening or a tie-front), two sleeve choices (a straight sleeve or a lantern sleeve) and several length variations, you have a total of 27 possible combinations! That means you can create the dress unique to your own personal style!

And on that note, let's see which fabrics strike your fancy.

  • Coral Rayon Woven: This fabric is all about the color. A simple broadcloth made from rayon and nylon, it feels like a lightweight linen, but has the softness of a rayon. In a vibrant and saturated coral color, it's a fantastically bold choice for those who want to make a statement. Just as stylish on vacation as it is on a workday, a dress made of this fabric will be the bright spot in your wardrobe. We're cheering up just imagining it!
  • Navy Floral Picasso Rayon Poplin: For a more flowing look, this navy floral rayon poplin is the way to go. We used the red colorway of this fabric in our robe boxes, and the floral pattern was just as stunning then as it is now. Large-scale wildflowers float across a deep navy background, and with the simple, clean lines of the shift dress, you can really let the pattern shine. we love it!
  • Black Cotton Double Gauze: Secret pajamas, here we come! A spongey and soft double gauze, this fabric has the distinct ripples that you think of with a gauze but none of the sheerness. In a true black, this fabric is as elegant as it is comfy, and any dress made in this fabric will be a dream to wear. Honestly, you won't want to wear anything else!

Sew Indulgent Box: Rushcutter Dress from In the Folds

In the Folds just released a new batch of paper patterns, and it was absolutely perfect timing for us. When you think of indulgence, you may not think of a simple shift. But a simple shift the Rushcutter is not. 

Yes, it has the shape of a shift dress, fitted at the shoulders and loose from the bust down. But instead of darts, it's shaped with a yoke and princes seams. Instead of straight lines, the yoke is softly curved. And instead of simple set-in sleeves, it has unexpected raglan sleeves. 

All of this adds up to a gorgeous and elegant dress that just screams for equally refined fabrics. So here are the choices:

  • Lurex Metallic Stripe Midnight Linen: We've said it before, but to us, shift dresses are just made to be striped. Especially this dress where the upper yoke and raglan detail let you play with the direction fo the lines. But since this is our luxe box, we thought we would up the stripe game with a midnight blue linen striated with silver lurex stripes. A little bit of unexpected sparkle goes a long way to make a simple shift into something worthy of party dress status. Shine on!
  • Blush Violet Silk Noil: We've used a noil made of viscose and rayon in previous boxes, but this fabric is the real deal. 100% silk, this noil has a numbly texture, from the use of short strands in the weaving, and it has a lush drape perfect for this dress. In a blush violet, evocative of Highlands heather, it's cool and calming, perfect for the winter season. We're feeling more relaxed already!
  • Black Self Satin Stripe Woven: With satin weave stripes alternating across a simple broadcloth face, this fabric is quite until anything we've ever seen. The black on black is simply stunning, and paired with this pattern, it would make a drop-dead gorgeous dress for any special occasion. A black-tie fabric turned into an elegant shift seems like a no-brainer to us, and we can't wait to go out and make one of our own!


So, those are the boxes for the month of December. They will be on sale between October 15 and November 14 and will ship on December 2. In our Classic Box series, we're going to continue to offer our Party Dress Boxes for anyone looking to create some special occasion dresses. As for swatches, they should ship out next week so you can get your hands on the fabrics we've described above.

Until next time...

Happy sewing,




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