Shift dresses have little shaping other than breast darts, making them both easy to sew and a comfortable choice for hotter days. This A-line design by Julia Claridge falls just above the knee and is extremely flattering to most figures. Chambray is generally easy to work with and care for, but as a woven fabric it is prone to fraying – so be sure to neaten all of the garment's raw edges.
- Chambray fabric, 1.4m x 1.6m
- Invisible zip, 56cm
- Lightweight interfacing
- Size Chest (cm) Length* (cm)
- S (10-12) 108 99
- M (12-14) 113 100
- L (14-16) 118 101
- *from side neck, with 2.5cm hem
- Front: cut one from chambray
- Back: cut one pair from chambray
- Sleeve: cut one pair from chambray
- Front neck facing: cut one each from chambray and interfacing
- Back neck facing: cut one pair each from chambray and interfacing
- 1.5cm seam allowance used throughout.
Download and print the pattern at sewmag.co.uk/templates. Cut out all the pieces, referring to the cutting guide. Transfer the dart markings onto the front pattern piece, stitch the bust darts, then press them towards the garment base.
Apply interfacing to the wrong side of the front and back facing pieces. With right sides together, sew the front and back facing pieces together at the shoulder seams. Repeat to join the main front and back dress pieces. Fold and press the seam allowance on the centre-back seam.
Open the invisible zip and pin each side along the centre-back seams, matching the top to the neck edge and the teeth along the creased seam. Change to an invisible zipper foot and stitch in place. Stitch the remaining centreback seam together, starting 6cm above the end of the zipper. Sew down the side seams.
Fold one sleeve piece in half, right sides together, then sew the sleeve underarm seam. Sew two rows of ease stitching around the sleeve head then lightly draw them up to match the underarm seam to the side seam, and the sleeve head notch to the shoulder seam. Pin in place, then stitch around.
Pin the front neck facing along the neckline of the front piece, right sides together and matching the shoulder seams. Sew the seam, then clip V-shaped notches every few centimetres around. Turn a 2.5cm hem at the sleeves and garment base, then machine stitch.
Fold the ends of the back facing underneath themselves, then press and understitch them to the zip tape. Secure the seam allowance of the neck facing to that of the shoulder seams with a few hand stitches.