Teal Shift Dress

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was trying to sew more for others, as my wardrobe is rapidly reaching bursting point. I made linen shorts for Hamish, and at the same time I made a Pauline Alice Xerea shift dress for my lovely Mum. She was looking for a nice breezy dress to combat the hot weather we were having, but something that was still stylish and nice enough for the office. I’ve got a few sack and shift dress patterns in my pattern library, so I got her over to have a look, but  wasn’t surprised when she picked Xerea! I thought she would like the pockets and the shape of the dress, and she did. Then she picked out a lovely teal milled linen from The Fabric Store, and I got sewing!

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The first thing I did was lengthen it by about 30cm. As drafted the pattern is really short, and Mum is several inches taller than me, so I thought I would hedge my bets and add loads of length that I could trim back later! It turned out to be about the right length, I trimmed off 2cm and then turned up a 3cm hem to get it sitting just at the knee.

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We also opted not to add the short sleeves on, so I trimmed the armscye back a centimetre or so and then hemmed them with the same bias tape I used around the neckline. This is the third time I’ve made this pattern, and it always comes together really quickly and neatly! I love the princess seams/dior darts/curved pocket combo (not that you can see any of those details particularly well in this plain linen, but they’re there and are really nice), and the V neck at the back is also a lovely detail.

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The only thing I’d change for next time would be to scoop the front neckline out slightly, as Mum finds it slips backwards a bit and can become a bit restrictive, depending on how she’s sitting! She’s worn it heaps, which is gratifying, and we’re talking about trying out a long sleeved woolen version for winter. I think I’d change the back neckline to be a standard high curve, drop the front neckline, and add a centre back seam with an invisible zip for a winter version. Or maybe put a keyhole and button in the back yoke? I’ll need to have a think about it!

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Maybe I’m coming around to sewing for other people, it is nice when you can make something for someone who really appreciates it! It’s a chance to make stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily make for myself either, which can be fun. Though I think my sewing time this year is going to be a bit limited now that I’m back to studying, so it might be a while between sewing projects for other people…

Thanks for modeling for me Mum, I’m glad you like your dress! xx

11 thoughts on “Teal Shift Dress

  1. Love this Pauline Alice Xerea shift dress in linen! I have this pattern but haven’t made it up yet – I’ll take your lowering the front neck line a bit advice when I do. This one is on my list for this summer and I have some lovely linen in my stash that would be perfect for this dress. I would make it the shorter length and wear it with longish shorts 🙂

  2. Lovely dress.
    You mentioned that the dress slips back slightly causing the front to rise. You might want to check your mums shape. You might find that she has a curve high in the back towards the neck, so the dress is trying to ‘steal’ fabric from the front. Doing a small high round back adjustment might stop the fabric moving. A good way to check is to see how a ‘normal’ shirt sits on her shoulders and compare the distance from the neck seam to the pronounced bone at the bottom of the neck (when you put your head forward)
    Or, you could just scoop out the front neck a little lower.
    But thought you might like the option to make changes, when you obviously care enough to make something wonderful for your mum

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