Swanky Shift Dress

Happy New Year, Sizzlers!! I hope it’s started in a blessed way for all of you. Before the craziness of the semester starts, I decided to treat myself to one last big project with my sewing machine.

I’ve been wanting to create a shift dress for a while now, because they’re so cute, so versatile, and SO comfortable! The problem is that when it comes to clothes, I can be so picky. A lot of the shift dresses I’ve tried on made it look like I was wearing a bag- and however fashionable, I prefer to stay away from wearing those.

One of my favorite bloggers posted this tutorialย ย on creating her own shift dress, which was perfect for taking the guesswork out of things! I followed the tutorial exactly, and changed up just a few things to fit my novice-level knowledge and equipment. Without further ado, here are some tips and tricks for whipping up your own.


-When choosing materials, take into consideration how tight fitting and stretchy you want to be. I chose a ponte knit fabric because I wanted the material to be a little thicker, but I forfeited some stretch with that choice.

-I always wash my panels of jersey fabric before I sew with them; this shrinks the fabric. The original fabric suggestion was 2 yards. Now, I wanted my dress to be about mid-thigh, which worked perfectly, but if you want a longer dress, then buy more fabric accordingly.

-When I was tracing the tank top onto my fabric to create the pattern, I followed the shape of the tank top a little bit past the armholes. This will give it a bit of a closer fit around the chest.

-This was my first time trying sleeves, and I’m really happy with how they turned out! I switched the directions up a bit for my own peace of mind. I sewed the front and back of the dress together at the shoulders, and then opened the panels and laid it out on the fabric to trace the tops of the sleeves. This way, I could see that the pieces would match.

-I sewed all the panels together with a 1/2 in seam allowance and a zigzag stitch. This gives the fabric a bit of added stretch.

-In the original tutorial, she recommends using a double needle to hem with, and a blind stitch at the bottom of the dress. Being without a double needle, I set my machine to a regular single stitch as WIDE as it would go, and used that to hem everything. Depending on how tight you make your sleeves, this method does increase the chance of the stitches ripping, but if you give your arms some breathing room, it should be just fine. The bottom of the dress I did the same way for consistency throughout.


Overall, I’m so happy with the results! This dress is fun and just swingy enough to be worn two-stepping without a risk for any Marilyn moments. It also pairs perfectly with fleece-lined leggings in the winter. I just bought my first pair this week and I’ve done myself a great disservice by just now coming to own them. If you don’t have any, RUN to your nearest clothing retailer and buy some in every color! They’re life-altering!

I hope these tips help. If you have any questions, let me know!! If you attempt your own swing dress, send me pictures because I’d love to see your own results and learn right along with you!


Happy Crafting and many blessings!