I've been so loving my Lilly ‘designer' dress that at last I found the time to make another, and add on a few variations. With this simply shift dress pattern, it's all about the fabric and the embellishments, and you can use this versatile pattern to create any number of different looks.
Here is the original Lilly Shift Dress in a floral print and with a bright blue floral trim.
I still wanted a tropical look, but something a little more formal, a little understated and so I found this great blue and white print at my local store and matched it with a plain navy contrast strip at the bottom of the skirt, and some wide lace.
To make the Lilly Shift Dress – contrast band variation
Check on the length of your finished dress, and then decide on how wide you want your contrast band to be. Remember to include how much you will turn up for the hemline, and a 1/2 inch for the new seam you will create by joining the contrast band to the main part of the dress.
Fold up the bottom of your pattern accordingly and cut your pieces. Your lining piece will not need a band and still uses the full pattern piece.
Prepare all of your pieces with the darts as per the usual sewing instructions. Mark or press a line down the center front to use as a guide when sewing on your trim or lace. Allow your lace trim to overhang a little top and bottom.
I added two rows, making sure the scallops were even with each other. Proceed then as per the regular sewing instructions.
Once the dress is assembled, the zipper is in, the lining completed and the sides sewn, then trim and square up the bottom bottom edge of the dress if necessary.
Try on and check the length, and use the bottom part of the pattern (that you folded up earlier) to cut your contrast band. Sew the sides of the contrast panel to form a big loop and check it carefully that the side seams on the panel match to the side seams on the dress. Adjust if needed.
Match up the side seams and sew on the contrast panel. Give it a press and then try on and check the length again.
Hem the dress using a method of your choice. I used a wide flexi-lace hem facing and then a hand catch-stitch. I don't hand sew much, so this was actually quite enjoyable. The design in the hemming lace helped me to keep my stitches nice and even.
Add the lace, trim or embellishment of your choice around the top (or the bottom) of the contrast panel, and your Lilly Dress is completed.
Has this given you some ideas of how versatile the Lilly Shift Dress pattern can be? You can create a whole wardrobe of designer-look dresses with this simple pattern, by varying your fabric, print and trims or by adding a simple contrast panel.
Now after all that sewing and modeling, I deserve a quick dip in the pool.
What variations do you have in mind to create your own ‘designer' Lilly dress?