SOI Ultimate Shift Dress | The not-so-ultimate dress…

SOI Ultimate Shift Dress | The not-so-ultimate dress…

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer: I made this pattern to practise sleeve insertion, not because I was particularly enamoured with the way it looked. I’m not a big fan of loose fitting clothing in general as I find dresses without waists just hang from the bust which isn’t particularly flattering. I have to say though, I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out and will hopefully get some wear out of it.

The details

Pattern: Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress

View: 1 with ¾ length sleeves

Fabric: Cotton Lawn in ‘Feather Float’ from Sew Over It

Difficulty: easy

Time: 4 evenings

Pattern review

The instructions were really easy to follow and the pattern was in logical steps. I do prefer photographic instructions in general, but these were very clear illustrations. The sleeve was the bit I found the trickiest and I did mess up a little, but that is the beauty of learning new skills. One day I’ll be able to attach a sleeve with my eyes closed. I love that there is a pattern booklet. Instructions printed on big pattern paper is such a pain and I end up getting frustrated with them. Overall, million times easier to understand than the Simplicity skirt I made last and it is a great way to practise basic sewing skills! I’ve already purchased their Eve pattern to make soon as I liked the ease of using the pattern so much.

Fabric review

It is lovely and soft but I do feel the pattern would lend itself better to a fabric with a little more movement to it. I’ll try a silky fabric next to get a fancier, more drapey look. The biggest issue with the fabric is it creases a lot so it bunches up around the arms during the day. I had ironed it just before the photos and you can already see it has creased! Also, although it irons well, I cannot get the facing to lie flat! If you have any tips for this please do let me know.

The finished look

Styled with clutch bag from Dorothy Perkins (similar here), necklace from H&M (similar here), Borjois lipstick in Peach Club and super-posey-pose my own.

You can see the fit issue on the right shoulder in the next photo. It’s one of those problems that I’m in two minds whether to fix as it is still fine to wear and I can’t see it when I’m wearing it. I’m sure I’ll end up fixing it at some point though. I think it will be good to go back to it in a few months when I’ve had more practice and make the adjustments I think are necessary.

On a side note, if anyone is a Harry Potter film fan you’ll get this, the phrase “does my hair really look like that from the back?!” springs to mind

Lessons learnt

The pattern says you need 1.8 metres but this is generous. I used less than 1.4metres for the size I made. Plenty left over for another project!

I’m between sizes in Sew Over It patterns and as this pattern is a straight line from bust to hem i wasn’t sure how to grade it. I went for the size 12 but would definitely make a size 10 next time as it is very loose all over.

As it was so loose I took it up so it didn’t drown me. However I got a bit chop happy so it ended up a little on the short side. I’m contemplating adding a lace trim to the bottom just to give it a little bit more length. What do you think?

Completely unrelated to sewing the pattern but I learnt it is very tricky to focus the camera properly on self timer! I’ll have to rope in a photographer next time…

Sew again?

Yes! This pattern is great for a beginner to get used to inserting sleeves and facing. I’ll definitely give it another go and try to solve the fit issues.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my first foray into dressmaking. I’m already in the process of making my next dress, so that will be up next weekend. I’ve truly got the bug! What patterns did you start out making? Are there any you’d recommend for beginners wanting to improve.

Alice-May x



  1. February 7, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    Love this fabric! The SOI ultimate shift dress was the first pattern I ever purchased and it took me a few attempts to get the fit right. They have a really nice hack on their website too if you want to make the top version. Keep up the lovely work! ☺️

    • February 7, 2018 / 10:04 pm

      It is so pretty, and soft too so it is like wearing pjs! Ooh I’ll check out the top. I bet that looks really nice.

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