Ultimate Shift Dress Front

Ultimate Shift Dress

This has nothing to do with the pattern, but I find taking and posting pictures of me wearing the things I’ve made infinitely more challenging than anything I’ve ever constructed. My motto when I am sewing is that “done is better than perfect,” so I am applying that to all of my selfies too. But it is soooo hard not to want to slap an emoji or something over my face! I suspect it will get easier over time, so I will keep posting incredibly awkward photos until then.

The Goal

I am recreating a ready-to-wear garment I have grown out of, and 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.

Pattern Wishlist

  • Vintage dupe
  • Sleeves
  • Darts for woven option  

Ultimate Shift Dress

Sew Over It

Maximum Dimensions
(18-30 version)
  • Bust: 57″/144 cm
  • Waist: 50″/127 cm
  • Hip: 60″/152.5 cm
Fabric Recommendations

Lightweight woven fabric such as cotton, cotton lawn, rayon or crepe.

Pattern Options
  • Sleeves: Long, short, sleeveless
  • Dress or Top

I’m not affiliated with this brand. Just giving you the info!

The Ultimate Shift Dress is simple and easy to sew. I made quite a few muslins (otherwise known as practice versions) of it because I wanted to work on my fitting skills, and it came together quickly every time.I appreciate that they use a fat model for the pattern’s promotional materials. It helped to see what the dress should look like on someone my size. I didn’t have to cyberstalk the Instagram hashtag to get an idea of how this would fit.

Does it meet the goal?

The Ultimate Shift Dress is a great base that I can alter to create the vintage shift dresses of my dreams.I used stiff quilting cotton for this version, which is usually my favorite fabric to work with, thanks to some sensory issues. I like how it gave the garment more of that trapeze shape, but I don’t think that would work in all iterations of the dress. I have a rayon blend in my stash that I may use in a future version, but I feel like I will lose the more A-line shape I aim for in my goals.

My Version


  • Name: New York
  • Colorway: Subway
  • Designer: Anna Maria 

I first saw this fabric at a local shop. The colors grabbed me, and so I grabbed it. After washing and folding it, I noticed that the pattern bore a striking resemblance to body parts. I thought if I inverted it when I cut it out, I might solve the problem, but then it only served to look like another body part to me.

As my family can attest, I have an incredible knack for looking at pretty much anything and seeing it as a body part. I have the humor of a pubescent preteen, and I do not apologize for it! I put it to my Instagram friends as a poll in my stories and the results showed that when pressed, most people saw tits when viewing the small sample of the pattern I shared.

Interestingly, after I made this dress up in that fabric, now all I see are A BUNCH OF BUTT CHEEKS. Lucky for me, this in no way detracts from the pattern or the dress, and I will go forward and wear it with pride.

Size & Alterations

My Measurements

HB: 43″ B: 48″ W:42″ H: 51″ Height: 5’3″


I started at a size 20, graded to a 24 at the waist, and to give it more of an A-line shape, I went to a size 28 at the hem.


I made the long sleeve version. It took me a few tries to get the right size, but I made my first bicep adjustment!


I moved the bust dart down, but on my first try, I moved it too far down. It’s a process learning this stuff!



I have some sensory issues regarding clothing, so I usually omit facings because they irritate me. 

I also rarely need to use neck or back closing options like zippers or neckline buttons, so I usually just sew up the back of dresses.



This pattern doesn’t come with pockets, but no way am I making something without them!

It does have double waist notches on the side pieces, so I took a favorite pocket shape from another pattern and placed it at the bottom of those notches.

I don’t love the look of the inseam pockets here, so my next version will have patch pockets instead.



I looked at other shift dress pattern options with darts in the back, and I may revisit those now. 

While this dress may be covered in bottoms, my own doesn’t protrude very far, so I think some added shaping in the back would be nice. 

I did a swayback alteration to pinch out some excess fabric back there, but I believe darts would be better suited to my goal.



I am short, but I liked where this hit me, so I just did my usual lazy hem of serging the edge of the dress and then folding it by half an inch to the wrong side and topstitching.


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