It's UFO (unfinished object) month over on the monthly stitch where I am an irregular contributor,and it was a good excuse to challenge myself to return to some of the UFOs that I had knocking around my sewing room.
The items that mainly end up as my UFOs tend to be things that I think for one reason or another are not going to work out. The first one of these that I decided to tackle was a Sew Over It, Ultimate shift dress that I had cut out in October/November last year (at the same time as my top version) and had just never sewn together. This was partly because, while I love the print, the top has some fit issues which means that it's not that comfortable to wear and I
had a sneaking suspicion was sure that a shift dress with no waist shaping would not work for my shape. However in my gung-ho way I had cut it out of a fabulous silk crepe that I was determined I should not waste, so it was time to get to work.
Ta da! From UFO to FO!
I figured that some of the restriction I experience in the arms/upper back with my Ultimate top might be helped if I used a 1cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm. This worked well but I was still left with a sack effect round the middle. Gillian's made a few lovely shift dresses where she's used her Alma pattern to create some darts for the back. I didn't have the alma pattern so I returned to my sixties shift dress (which I must return to, the darts may be more work but realistically create a better shift shape for someone with my proportions) and pinched the back darts from it. I considered adding some darts to the front but decided that since I'm unlikely to wear the dress without a belt and adding them had the potential to go wrong and spoil the line of my dress, I wouldn't bother.
I got the silk crepe from fabricsforsale. I'd ordered 2m for some other purpose but they didn't have enough to complete my order, so I took the 1.3m they had left as it sounded lovely and put it aside for 'some other purpose'. Turns out this was it. The ultimate dress is really thrifty on the fabric front, I got a dress with 3/4 length sleeves out of 1.3m. I did cut the facings out of a different fabric but I'm not sure now if I did that because I ran out of fabric or if I just fancied the idea of Liberty insides! I finished the back with a ribbon loop and a lovely ceramic button that I found in the Ulster Museum shop, last time I was back in Belfast.
Im now pleased with this finished dress and it will be perfect to wear to several of the 30th birthday/weddings/hen dos (yes I've hit that life stage) I have to attend in the next few months and the silk crepe feels wonderful to wear. However, I think the top of the dress is still on the blousier side than I would like. Clearly some more fit work has to happen before I make another version of this dress.
While the idea of a simple to sew, simple to throw on dress appeals to my lazy side I think I may have to accept that in order to pull off the shift dress, I need darts and shaping and to sew a little bit more than the few seams in this dress. How about you, how do you make shift dresses work for your shape?