The Shift Dress

There are so many stupid rules about what fat people should or should not wear. It’s hard to throw them out when I’ve been bombarded with them all my life. But thankfully, my love of patterns and colors mostly trumps any weird fashion rule I’ve absorbed over time.

Growing up, I thought fat girls couldn’t wear shift dresses. We’re taught that we’re supposed to distract from our bodies with pleats, ruffles, and fripperies, or at the very least, use fashion to give the illusion of shapes we don’t possess. The simplicity of the column of fabric that makes up the shift dress means that it doesn’t “nip in” or distract at all. It seemingly just hangs from your most prominent physical outcropping, wherever that may be.

I took a risk a few years ago when I saw the above dress from a ready-to-wear shop. When I tried it on, I couldn’t believe it. Not only could I wear a shift dress, but I looked great in it! I loved it so much that I bought another one in a different colorway and wore them both in my pre-2020 life.

The Goal

Fast forward to the current day. I have two issues: first, I am bigger than I was when I bought the ready-to-wear dress, and second, I want to fill my closet with shift dresses. I have a lifelong love of vintage-style shift dresses and would love to be able to make as many as my heart desires.

Join me as I work to make the dress of my dreams!

Pattern Wishlist

  • Vintage dupe
  • Sleeves
  • Darts for woven option

The Inspiration

The Contenders

Coco Dress Line Drawing

Coco Top + Dress

Tilly and the Buttons

Maximum Dimensions
  • Bust: 60″/152.5 cm
  • Waist: 53″/134.5 cm
  • Hip: 61″/155 cm
Ultimate Shift Dress Line Drawing

Ultimate Shift Dress

Sew Over It

Maximum Dimensions
(18-30 version)
  • Bust: 57″/144 cm
  • Waist: 50″/127 cm
  • Hip: 60″/152.5 cm
Mary Quant Style Shift Dress Line Drawing

Mary Quant-Style Minidress

Alice & Co

Maximum Dimensions
  • Bust: 49″/124.5 cm
  • Waist: 44″/111 cm
  • Hip: 53″/134.5cm

The Projects


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