feeling shifty

when i teach my two-day workshop in which we draft a pattern and then sew a shift dress, i sometimes tell the tale of how i used to think such a dress was something i’d never wear. it did seem to me like the most basic form of dress (which is why i use it as a foundation/teaching pattern), but i pictured Twiggy, Nancy Sinatra or Jackie O rocking it in mod 60’s style and it just didn’t feel like ME. determined though, i made myself a sleeveless shift (with my peekaboo pockets) in a lightweight denim (probably my all-time fave fabric) to test it out. much to my surprise it quickly became a staple, and probably my most-worn garment ever. that original one is a bit snug on me now, but last year i made a new one (above) with sleeves and turn-uppable cuffs that i wear ALL THE TIME.

in case you were born some time after me and are not familiar with the stylings of Twiggy, Nancy or Jackie, now you can see what i’m talking about! classic 60’s mod style.

and here’s evidence that i really do now wear shifts All The Time. such great layering pieces! so versatile! excellent for showing off large-scale prints without chopping them up! vary the length! add sleeves or not! maybe add a cowl or collar or hood! give it some flare! make it fitted! make it loose! ALWAYS ADD POCKETS!!!

i think you can sense my enthusiasm for this classic, essential style. you might be happy to know that i teach a 2-day class in which you learn to draft this how-did-you-ever-live-without-it pattern using your very own unique body measurements, sew a muslin to fit and test the pattern, and then sew your first (but far from your last!) shift dress. currently i’m scheduled to teach this class 3 times* this year, in 3 different states, but the only one here in the Hudson Valley is THIS WEEKEND 3/10-11 at my 2nd home Drop Forge & Tool in adorable Hudson. we’ve still got a few open spots (plus, if you need it, room to sleep just upstairs so you can have an all-weekend slumber party with Yours Truly!) so we wanted to make sure you knew! Hudson, if you haven’t been, is a magnificent town and such an easy trip from NYC, just sayin’…

*for the record, i was scheduled to be teaching this class this very weekend at Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria, Va BUT a crazy snowstorm friday prevented my plane from taking off. it’s being rescheduled for june.


  1. Okay, the offer of a slumber party AND a shift almost put me over the edge! Hoping to get to one of your classes, in person, sooner than later. I love the collage of all your images. And finally, I misread your post title and thought maybe things weren’t great – Hah!

  2. hee hee! i do hope i get to have you in a class at some point claudia! slumber party would be a bonus! and yes, i did consider changing the title for that reason… ;n)

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