Shift Dress

I subscribe to the Martha Stewart Craft of the Day, and a few weeks ago, this tutorial to repurpose an elastic waist skirt into a cute shift dress. I love how cute the white and black look together. How easy the dress would be to wear. And how easy it would be to make! 

But I couldn’t find a skirt at Goodwill or garage sales (okay, I only went to Goodwill once… I was just too excited to try this out!). I’ve made elastic waist skirts before and decided to combine the two projects to make my own dress.

Since the white with black looked so great, I got those supplies from JoAnns. But then I found this fabric and thought “why not two?”

What you need:
*a front and back panels that are about the size of your waist and as long as you’d like (I chose a thick knit that measured 28″ by 43″)
*3-4 yards thin ribbon

1. Sew the front and back panals together. Start at the bottom and stop 9 1/2″ from the top.

2. Measure up 8″. Sew the rest of the way to the top. This makes your arm holes. (From the top of the dress, your seams go:  top to 1 1/2″, no seam for 8″, start again at 9 1/2″, all the way to the bottom.)

3.  Since I’m using 1/2″ seams, I pressed the armholes back 1/2″ and sewed it. If you’re not using knit, you’ll want to surge or zig zag the edges so they don’t fraw.

4.  At the top, measure down 1/2″ and then another 1/2″.  This is the casing for the ribbons along the top. It’s really bulky because of your side seams around the armholes. Stitch along the bottom of the casing you made, doing the front and then the back of the dress. Don’t stitch into the seams for your armholes so you can thread the ribbon through. (When I finished the casing, I did a quick stitch right on the front/back seam so the ribbon would stay better.)

 Making the casing

 Quick stitch on the armholes

5.  Hem the bottom of the dress to a length you like. (I measured up 3/4″ and then another 3/4″.)

6.  Thread the ribbon through the front of the dress. Then thread a second ribbon through the back of the dress. Fray check the ends of the ribbons.

7.  Scrunch the dress in a way that hangs nicely. I tied a ribbon around the waist, but that’s your choice.


(It is SO hard to be in pictures all by myself!)


I was featured on Kojo Designs! Thanks so much!


Filed under Sewing

4 responses to “Shift Dress

  1. Shannon

    Love it! When can I borrow the yellow one?

  2. That is adorable… wow you are so talented!

  3. Sooo creative all the possibilities with a sewing machine

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