According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the shift dress is "a simple dress that hangs straight from the shoulders." This dress first appeared in the 20s - most had decorative trimmings. By the 1960s, the dresses feature designs that were bold, and in the 1980s, the dresses were made with jersey fabric. Make your own multi-wear version of the shift dress today.
The fabric and measurements
The fabric of the shift dress is important. The fabric needs to drape, no matter how the dress is worn. Woven cotton fabric, as it could be too stiff to drape properly. Jersey fabric or silk would work well whether the shift is a printed dress or plain is up to you. This shift does not require a lot of measuring as its construction is a matter of two straight seams. The first measurement needed is around the widest part of your body, either the bust or the hips. The length Next, decide the length. This dress could be long or end just below the knee. Measure from the top of the shoulder to the point where you wish the hem of the shift to fall. Write these measurements down. Add at least an inch for seam allowance for the bottom and sides, and two inches for the top. Buy the fabric as well as thread, straight pins and a yard's worth of wide, one inch ribbon. The ribbon should compliment the fabric for the dress.
Cut the body of the dress The pieces will consist of the front and back which are the same size. Cut them to the width and length that you measured in Step One, with an inch seam allowance for the sides and bottom and two inches for the top.
Sew the hem for the bottom of the dress. Do this for the front and back pieces. Fold over the sides of the shift to make a finished edge. Do this for the front and back pieces. Create a channel for the ribbon. Fold over the top of the front and back pieces, then fold it again to secure it with thread. Lay the front and back pieces together, right sides touching and pin the sides from the bottom to six inches to the top. Put on the shift and check the height of the side openings. If they are high enough, sew along the sides, stopping six inches from the top. If not, adjust the openings. Thread the ribbon through the channels Wear the dress with ribbons tied around the waist and behind for an Empire gown, a seam in front and the ribbons tied behind for a plunging neckline, or any way you choose.