shift dress

Like many of us I would guess, in my head I am Betty Draper, when in reality I am Peggy Olsen (before she got promoted). I do get glammed up every once in a while – I love a good wedding – but most of the time I am the definition of frumpy, particularly at work. So I love finding simple shapes that are easy to wear and still good looking. Probably why I was the poster child for J. Crew in college. And now that I’ve found a simple, pretty dress I like you’ll probably be seeing a lot of it.

I don’t remember how I stumbled onto Pattern Runway’s Etsy page, but I’m glad I did. I’m also glad I noticed the three-pattern special and that I was feeling particularly spendy that day and bought it.

I made up the Relaxed Fit Shift Dress in a Dear Stella ikat print. I’m late onto the ikat bandwagon because for the longest time I just didn’t see anything that really looked like something I would wear. This muted print is perfect though. I’m still not convinced it’s a good decorating choice. Certainly not an entire sofa.

Anyway, when she says “relaxed” she means it. The fit is generous and I was swimming in fabric when I started. That’s mostly because I’m the textbook definition of pear shaped; I am probably two sizes smaller at the shoulders than at the hips. Which is why I gravitate toward dresses that are fitted up top and full around the bottom. To wit:

Unfortunately, Tim Gunn told me (well, he told someone on TV while I was watching), that this is a “juvenile” shape. So I think a nice relaxed shift dress is a good compromise. To cut down on the excess fabric up top I added two double-pointed darts in the back. Next time, I’ll use a smaller size at top and grade out to a larger size on bottom. Also, the original hemline hit right at my knees, which is the kiss of death for a short person. So I cut a few inches off. And yes, it’s probably too short for a 30-something mother but it makes my legs look better.

The exposed zipper look has really grown on  me in recent months. I was totally not digging it when it first became a thing. It’s probably not a thing anymore now that I like it.

My favorite detail is the sleeve tab. Perfect.

I have plans for this dress in a bright colored knit and I hope it works.


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