April 20, 2011


I've been a little starry eyed about shift dresses lately. Probably because, as you know, I have seen several by now. I decided to save one for myself to try out. Enter the Vogue Valentino. I've been doing a fair amount of research on the shift dress too. Apparently, the shift dress was so christened not so much because you can "shift" around in it (though true), but more because of a shift in culture. A shift away from things that bind and suck you in. A letting loose so to speak. There's more to it than that, I'm sure. Another topic for another day. Back to the issue at hand, that means that the shift dress is or should be comfortable. That's very appealing to me. Especially now since, I do a lot of shifting about the house in my various capacities as a haberdasher, so having one of these isn't just about want, but need.

I've set my mind on a silk charmeuse, which I don't have a photo of, but you'll be seeing it quite a bit, I'm sure. Comfortable dress deserves comfortable fabric don't ya think? So, getting down to brass tacks, I went about doing up a muslin over the weekend. Oh yes, let's see, here it is:

Truly not bad. And what's even more surprising is that it doesn't look like a sack. In fact, it's actually rather stylish on my figure. Let's please disregard my somewhat provacative stance here. Come now, isn't muslin one of my better colors? I'm actually surprised you can see the dress, what with my skin being the same color and all. Anyway, so what do I need to fix? Well, the underbust is coming up too high by about an inch. In addition to having a long torso I have a fairly long neckline to bust measurement. Also, the under armholes are just a tad on the high side which is giving a little pull on the underarm and of course, the hips and the shoulders need a bit of a widening.

The construction of the dress was fairly simple, but there are some interesting things that I noted on several different shift dresses that passed through these hands. The placement of the zipper for one and how it's closed at the top is rather interesting here. The zipper on this dress is in the back in one of the princess seams. It closes at the top with a hook and eye closure. I'm not sure that I love this and I might end up changing it to the side because even getting this zipper on the muslin up and down was something of a trick. A trick that didn't really work, me not being a gymnast and all. Also, nearly all the patterns I sorted through were designer patterns and all of them called for an underlining. I have my own thoughts about why, but I thought I would let you ruminate a bit as to why that is.

And now a word about the length. This sucker gets a 3" hem according to the pattern. That will fall just above my knee. Now, is it just me or is the shift dress on the pattern envelope really quite a bit shorter? I mean the thing is at the mid-thigh. Strange, no? Anyway, I'm actually happy with the above the knee length. I might go a tad shorter for the next shift. We'll see. There is only so much shortness on a skirt or dress I can handle (for me, anyway). What do you think? Don't you need a shift dress now?


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