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Vintage Look With A Flare: My Ankara Shift Dress

I was looking for an easy, short dress tutorial when I came across this article on the history of the shift dress. Introduced in the 1920s, the shift dress is a simple, short dress that hangs freely on the body. I assumed that the name was derived from its looseness but the “shift’ also represents a cultural change from the restrictive clothing and corseted styles that emphasized the female form to more free-flowing, comfortable dresses.

I walked away from reading the article with a desire to sew a shift dress. It’s a relatively easy style to make if you’re looking for a no-fuss, stylish dress. But I picked a semi-fitted shift dress pattern that required a bit of work. One that came with flounce sleeves. I’ve only ever made one dress with a simple short sleeve. Creating a flounce sleeve was quite the task. They are formed by sewing a circular pattern piece to a straight sleeve to create the ruffled look. Does that all sound like gibberish? Maybe this article on different sleeves will help.

I had to sew three flounce sleeves together for a layered look. I love how they turned out but I almost pulled my hair out trying to put everything together.

The finished look.

I used Vogue 8945 for this. Making the body of the dress was straightforward but it took longer to finish the whole dress because I had to add darts and layered sleeves for the first time. I’m happy with how it turned out and I’m sure it’ll be easier on my next try. The fabric is Ankara.

And that’s it! Let me know what you think. Comment. Like. Share.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Tawra Lynn

    I love it!! This pattern is now on my sewing list.

    April 7, 2018 at 5:00 am
    • Reply Rosemary Aqua

      Thank you Tawra. You should definitely try it. I bought it because of the sleeves..

      April 9, 2018 at 12:34 am

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