The Ultimate Shift Dress in Silk

Hello friends! I love to make dresses. So the ‘Froktober’ challenge is great for me. But I’ve been so busy with travel and visitors that I’ve stuck with a simple design so far. It’s the Ultimate Shift by Sew Over It.

I love the classic design of the ultimate shift. To complement its simple lines, I chose a print of swirls and dots reminiscent of the 60s.


I’m more pear shaped than the pattern assumes. Sigh. Proportion-wise, it would be form fitting in the hips and loose around the torso. Which I guess is what a shift is. But I wanted a bit of swing for this delicious silk fabric, so rather than just curving the hips to fit I graded the side seams toward an a-line shape.


Reunion Dress; The Ultimate Shift in silk.

The pattern is well designed and goes together in a snap – just front and back pieces (since I chose to line it in China silk, I didn’t use any facings).


China silk lining; fabric loop closure with a glass button.

All of which is great because silk is pretty fussy to work with. Ravelly, slippery and with very little give… if it weren’t so pretty I’d just say forget it!


Shoes and necklace from Kate Spade, bracelets from my sister Jean, my Mom and Henry Bendel.

I did a bit of asking around and learned to use a No. 11 needle and very thin, very sharp pins. Other than that I just took my time. It’s not bad!


The only trouble I ran into was a little bulge at the bottom of the zipper. You know that spot just at the tail end of an invisible zip where you have to push all the zipper tape and seam allowances to one side and get in there with a standard zipper foot to close up the center back seam? Ugh. I sometimes get a little pucker there. What’s the trick?


Since I think a little bump at that particular place isn’t altogether attractive, I picked it out and restitched it and completely removed the stitching tacking the zipper tape down. The bump is gone and it hangs smoothly, but I still don’t know what I did wrong. Oh well. I didn’t learn anything much but I have a new silk dress! And enough confidence to tackle more!

I’ve just been blessed a visit from some of my dearest girlfriends – and what a treat for me — some of them wore my dresses for a couple of silly-fun photo shoots on the beach! Check it out on my blog:


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