There is a certain designer store which is really popular here in Cayman, full of simple shift dresses in fun tropical prints – with exotic price tags to match! As much as I admired the style, they simply weren't within my budget.
So as people who love to sew, what do we do about that? We make our own designer dresses!
Sometimes a simple shift is all you need to look elegant. Pick the right fabrics and trims, change up the length, and you can create a wardrobe of your own designer dresses in every possible style to suit your lifestyle. Check out designer fabrics and trims for inspiration, and recreate the designer look for yourself at a fraction of the cost.
Mix and match your shoes and jewelry and take this dress from beach, to shopping, to work, to evening wear. Check out some of the ideas below from our pattern testing team.
Check Out Our Free Sewing Videos
Features of the Lilly Shift Dress Pattern
- Fully lined
- Invisible back zipper, or add an exposed zipper
- Bust darts and back shaping darts
- Just two pattern pieces
- Layered PDF – just print your size
- In sizes 32-46 inch bust, 36-50 inch hips
Pattern difficulty rating:
Intermediate (invisible zipper and lining required)
The Pattern Tester versions and their comments
Judy at Stoney Sews – Pattern seems between Advanced Beginner and Intermediate because of invisible zip, being fully lined and the sewing of curves. I love the pattern Deby! 2 pattern pieces with a couple of hours and one has a new dress. This is the best and easiest way I have seen of attaching a lining to a dress. Thank you Deby for doing this pattern. It is all I could imagine and more!!
Sue at Fadanista – I loved the checklist idea in the instructions. The layered printing is also genius – I have never seen this before, and it was wonderful. The Lilly Shift itself is simple and elegant, and I can imagine making a few of them. I didn't embellish my first one as I had nothing appropriate in my stash. I think a lace one would be stunning.
I might add pockets to my next one…
Diane of Two Chicklets – Your dress is gorgeous on you and I absolutely love this style. I knew immediately which fabric I would use for mine and have decided I need one for every day of the week! Yes, it's that comfortable! I shortened the bodice and the length for my height. The bust darts ended up a little too low. For the next one, I'll have to adjust that a little.
Sarah from Musings of a Seamstress – I like the dress. It is pretty basic so it has a lot of room for personal embellishment choices and possible variations. I did a cursory glance at the instructions and mostly went by the quick reference list for experienced sewers.
Emma– Lovely simple style, Just two pattern pieces which is really easy. The pattern pieces went together perfectly, especially when I learnt how to just print my size!
Jemma – I thought it was a great pattern but I would have to lower the neckline for my preference. I also had to take the waist in a little and shorten the dress at the waist line but that is because I am under height and over curvy! Because this was only 2 pieces the adjustments were easy to do. I also had to narrow the final hem area a little as it looked better on me slightly less A-line. You can see the dress in action at a wedding party!
Ruth – I love dresses and I love classic style, so this dress appealed to me immediately! Although it appears simple (only 2 pattern pieces!), there are definitely some techniques that require a bit more than basic skills. I haven't done a full lining in a few years and this was a great refresher for my skill set. I definitely plan to make several more!
Diane – I have always loved a classic sheath dress and was anxious to try it. Seeing it was lined and had an invisible zipper, I was a little nervous but it was a simple make! I substituted an exposed zipper for the invisible one and everything else was a breeze! Even though I usually make some adjustment to your patterns, Deby, I always learn something new, (this time doing a lining and the lace hem facing. And every technique you use is explained so well – thanks!
Linda – Great dress pattern! This dress is flattering and so comfortable for summer. It does show up woman's curves so nicely. I love all the options of making it with a trim or without, in a nice print, a nice solid color or a combo of both. You can easily dress it up or down as you wish. I love the addition the option of printing only one size and the quick step by step checklist. Your instructions looks very professional and the pictures are great. I love all the tips for making the dress look very professionally done.
Stephanie – A classic dress! It's great to find a simple silhouette that can be done with a woven fabric. I love that this dress can have so many looks based on the fabric picked and the accessories.