Draw it Sew it: Shifty Dress


Today’s post is coming to you super late. I finished this with Celeste today, but didn’t get a chance to take pics until 8pm. Days like these I want to kiss my camera. 2500 ISO never looked so crisp.


Last week’s winner was the floral chiffon, but only by a little. After sewing up the muslin in a similar fabric I changed directions. The muslin sewed up quite puffy. A puffy drape plus a slip would add too much bulk for my taste. I’m glad I switched courses. I love how this fabric drapes! It really feels like I’m wearing nothing which is perfect for the hot days ahead.


I also opted for a straight hemline because as I was cutting out the material, I realized that I would have just enough fabric for a maxi skirt if I cut it straight. So straight it was!


It’s a simple enough dress, but this rayon was pretty shifty. The stripes weren’t printed straight, either, so matching up stripes wasn’t an option.


I modified this pattern for wovens. I’m sure you could do the same with the seafarer top or just go for the staple dress pattern. I had something so similar on hand, I figured I’d save time and money by modifying my pattern not printing and taping a pattern together.


PDF patterns are great, but my printer is not working at the moment and my time is worth something. I would rather purchase a regular pattern. I would LOVE it if pattern makers would actually provide pattern downloads in 24×36 dimensions. I have to send it off to a copy shop anyway, why not get it printed on a large format printer and save myself some time taping?

Just my little beef. Sorry I just had to get that off my chest. Anyone out there feel the same?


I also added a polka dot print for the sleeve cuffs. I can’t get enough of this polka dot print. It, too, is incredibly soft.


I’m just a bit too excited about my new shift dress. I jumped into the office while Chris was working and begged him to compliment me on my new “muu-muu”. He just smiled and said, “I love you.”

I’m glad he still does.


Outfit details:

So what should I do for next week? I want to make a swim cover-up. Do you like the long, dramatic dress or the shorter, subtle dress? What do you think?

@melissapher: Dramatic (yes) or subtle (no)? #sewing #fashion #swimsuitcoverup #diy


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    1. Kristin H says:

      Love the polka dot cuffs and that crazy picture of you. I really need to make something similar, since 95 degree heat + no air conditioning =’one sweaty mama.

    2. Katie says:

      Whoa, did not know about this pattern. I love it and must make one!

      I feel like there’s so many independent designers and not enough ways to get to know them.

    3. What a lovely dress! And I prefer the shorter cover up :)

    4. Danelle says:

      Melissa… I LOVE THIS DRESS! Stripes AND dots? It couldn’t get any better. Looks awesome on you! :)

    5. Oooooh! So pretty! And where is this super soft, adorable dot fabric from? I feel like it would be right at home in my fabric stash! :)

      I vote for the shorter cover up! Can’t wait to see it!

    6. Elisa Clark says:

      Looks great and super comfy for summer. Can’t wait to see what you do next. I vote for dramatic!

    7. Lizzy says:

      Very pretty dress, I like a lot rayon fabric, and that style too, I have done like 10 tops like that becaue it is very easy and fast to sew, just I don’t know why my serger makes the fabric “run”, sorry, I don’t know how to explain.

      • Melissa says:

        Run, like do the needles snag the fabric? You might be using the wrong needles, try universal needles. You may have ball-point ones in there for knits. I wish I could help you. That’s gotta be frustrating!

    8. Camille says:

      I agree 100% about large-scale printing. They design it that way to begin with, why not just leave it as an option?!

    9. Heidi says:

      Good choice to use the polka dot fabric on the cuff-awesome contrast. I am constantly amazed at your ability to make something new every week (or more often??) I’m lucky to make 1 new item a month.

    10. Tilly says:

      Ooh pretty dress! I have to check out this pattern now…

      Re. your large scale printing beef, from my personal POV as an indie pattern designer (working on a micro scale!), it hadn’t occurred to me when developing my first two patterns that people would want to take the patterns to a copy shop, but if that’s something that more people want then I’d definitely consider it for the future. I won’t go into the long and boring logistics details of why it’s not available on my current patterns, but it’s on the to do list so thanks for the suggestion!

    11. Melissa I am constantly amazed by your creativity and love that you are the primary breadwinner and still having a great time while you’re at it. I’m seriously considering your calligraphy course and would love to learn more about how you make your art profitable.

      • Melissa says:

        I’d love to see you take my workshop! Making my art profitable boils down to a lot of hustling and honing my craft. I’ve been doing a lot of logo designs lately and I love it! I would make logos all day, every day if I could.

    12. I’d love to know where you got your polka dot material, or what brand/style it is. Thanks!

      • Melissa says:

        I found it at Angel Fabrics in LA. I’m not sure of the fabric content, but I think it’s a modal Rayon, or a Rayon challis. I wish I could be more helpful!

    13. Marcia says:

      When will I be able to root for you on Project Runway? Love, love, love your style!

    14. Speaking of hustling (I was reading your earlier comment) maybe you could do a post about that? Selling myself is always so intimidating! And… for the next dress, I vote whichever one gets picked that you do the short sleeves- they are SO cute!

    15. Love this dress! The fabric is too great and I love the little bit of polka dots on the sleeves. Great job!

    16. alicia says:

      So cute, love the polka dot cuffs!

    17. Sunny says:

      Hello Melissa, I love your page and follow the RSS feed :) Just wanted to let you know something funny I discovered. I was looking for stripe fabric sewing ideas on google. So? Enter “stripe fabric sew” or “stripe fabric sewing” and you’ll find lots of pictures of yourself, lol!

    18. Sunny says:

      Hello Melissa, I love your page and follow the RSS feed :) Just wanted to let you know something funny I discovered. I was looking for stripe fabric sewing ideas on google. So? Enter “stripe fabric sew” or “stripe fabric sewing” in google image search and you’ll find lots of pictures of yourself, lol!

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