Plaid Shift Dress


Yup. It’s ANOTHER shift dress!

How could I say no to this awesome plaid knit? Such a big print cried out to be something with few seams, and I think (hope?) the short hem keeps the print from being overwhelming. It just had to be a shift dress!


I’m pretty casual about print matching, but look how nicely the side seams line up!

And even better: BAM! Look at the print-matching on the sleeves!


To be honest, I was only aiming to line up the plaid on the sleeve itself, but somehow that matched up the plaid on the sleeve cap/armscye as well. Would that always happen? It must depend on the amount of ease and height in the sleeve, right?

darts Collage

I did find that the fit is boxier in this polyester knit. No problem – I pulled out Sewholic Alma (which I previously used to adjust the sleeves on this Sew Over It shift dress pattern) and added Alma’s darts to the back of my dress. Next time I’d make them a bit deeper… but considering I almost never sew darts now that I’m all knits, all the time, I’m just happy the darts came out symmetrically on the print!


(Take a minute to enjoy that piece of leaf stuck to my leg… Where is my photography assistant to tell me I need fixing?) 

To be honest, I both love this pattern, and wish it was better. I’m loving the shift dress look, and Sew Over It was really quick and friendly when I had a question about the pattern. The neckline is nice – not so high you choke, not so low that you lose the column0effect of a shift dress.

On the other hand, the sleeve cap has a ton of ease, which is why I modified it after my wearable muslin. I really wish the pattern came with option darts for the front and back, so that it could be loose, semi-fitted, or a more fitted sheath dress style. Christine Hayes released a shift dress this fall, and I’m curious to see the two compared… and of course, there is a world of Big 4 shift dresses for those who prefer that route!


(Side note: this pompom scarf is one of the oldest things in my hand-sewn wardrobe. It’s such a useful accessory!)

Do you go mad for plaid in winter? What’s your favourite plaid piece of clothing, me-made or otherwise?

53 thoughts on “Plaid Shift Dress

  1. Oh I love the back! The darts and plaid are on point (ho hum, literally!) I love you in this blood black white and red too – it can mean holiday festive or it could be your power business attire. Nice work lady!

    MaLora Ann



  2. Oh wow, I love this dress Gillian and you look fabulous in it! I’ve been rather ambivalent about shift dresses, but your recent makes are changing my perspective on this style of garment — I need to make one (or a few)!


    1. I’ve never been tempted by shift dresses either, but I”m really enjoying them these days! I hope you give them a try too! 🙂


  3. Oh I do love a shift… I kind of feel like they’re the unsung heros of the dress world 🙂 Perfect pattern for a bit of plaid and how good is that accidental pattern matching!


    1. I usually cut one piece, then lay it on top of the second before I cut to make sure it will line up. Once I”m sewing though, I don’t pin anything – just try to line it up every 10″ or so as I serge!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic job on the print matching! And those darts in the back look fantastic.I love plaids, but I tend to prefer bold ones only in pyjamas (like the lovely ones I’m wearing now) or dresses. Not that I have a plaid dress. Should get on that. Not that I need more dresses…


    1. Well, for what it’s worth, the first version of this pattern I made has become pyjamas (it was cotton friench terry, so it doesn’t drape well but it’s cosy.) Love a bit of secret pyjama clothing!


  5. Wonderful use of plaid and perfect matching on sleeves. Bravo! This bold red is your colour. I also love your styling with boots and thighs – you look great, girl!


    1. Oh, and I wanted to add that I’m crazy for plaid. Just bought a piece of Robert Kaufmann soft and thick plaid flannel for an Archer. But now, I’m tempted to turn it into a shift dress!


    1. What is it about winter and plaid that makes them go so perfectly together? i guess it’s that it’s traditionally wool in these colours… every winter I just want all the plaid to be mine!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love it! I noticed how perfect to darts worked out in the back…tricky with a plaid. Well done. Your scarf is super cute too. I never thought about doing this with the pom pom trim…I may have to copy yours! I am just putting the sleeves on a plaid dress. I love plaid in the fall…


    1. A scarf like this is perfect for pom pom trim, because it doesn’t have to get washed all the time. I’m not sure how long the pom poms would hold up in the wash!


  7. I love shift dresses but I’ve never made one with sleeves. Sleeves are my secret sewing fear, lol. This plaid’s amazing…love it! My favourite plaid is the one I just made – a jumper (without sleeves)


    1. Sleeve are easy when you are sewing knits! I always sew the in “flat”, after the shoulder seam is sewn but before the side seam. Easy peasy!


    1. Thank you! 🙂 The darts lines up almost perfectly with the plaid, so I fudged them a bit side to side until they lined up with the print perfectly!


  8. This is pattern-matching loveliness! And I’m super impressed that you aligned those back darts – that’s no mean feat with a fabric that shows every inconsistency. I am impressed.


    1. Would I horrify you to say that I draw my darts on the fabric in either pencil crayon or, if that won’t work, crayola marker? Not classy, but it seems to work! ;)Gives me a nice clear line when I’m stitching darts.


  9. Where did you find plaid knit?! Gah! I love it!

    Great job on pattern matching and I love what the back darts did to the plaid print – so cool. You look terrific! Red is definitely one of your colours.


    1. Knit shift dresses: The long t-shirt that somehow looks classy. ooh, and now I want one with a ruffle on the bottom, because RUFFLES, as I’m sure you’ll agree! 😉


  10. You’re making me WANT a plaid shift dress for the winter! I even have a copy of Colette’s Laurel that would probably do the trick too.

    ACK YOU ARE NOT HELPING I STILL HAVE TO SEW THOSE ELLE PANTS. Thanks for all of the inspiration. 😉


  11. Great dress…Your plaid is fabulous! I’ve made one plaid top this fall and thought I was ‘so over it’ but then fabric shopping today and ended up with two more plaids! Your dress makes me want more, more, MORE!


  12. Wow, your dress is fabulous. It looks really smart but I bet the knit makes it very comfy to wear. I love a good plaid/tartan (definitely genetic for me) and this one is brilliant, although I have never seen a plaid knit. What a score. Xx


  13. You rocked the pattern matching! I have a lovely yarn dyed pink/grey flannel I pull out each fall, with intents to finally make something up in it. Four years later, I still have it and nothing to show for it. 🙂 Maybe this year…


  14. The first thing I noticed scrolling through the photos was how on-point the plaid matching is on those back darts (and everywhere else, too)!! I would never have guessed that they weren’t put in originally. I love this dress on you, and I especially like your punky footwear with it! 😉

    Plaid is my idea of casual perfection as far as Fall/Winter fabric goes. Maybe some day I will actually sew some, preferably in a flannel to satisfy my inner 90’s grunge wannabe AND to keep me from freezing…


  15. Lovely winter dress! Those back darts look rather pretty, and yay for accidental plaid matching!
    I don’t really go mad for plaid in winter. I think I have four plaid garments (three of them me-made) at the most? Though my favorite is the thrifted sheath dress that’s almost too small, the plaid is such a lovely shade of blue-violet…


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