DIY Summer Shift Dress

Sewing

Having trouble looking cute while staying cool this summer?  Check out this DIY sheath dress with a nursing friendly option!

Hey, hey!

I’ve been holding on to this gem of a dress for a few weeks now, anxiously waiting until I had a chance to share it with you!  It may not look fancy or super duper exciting, but now that our Phoenix temps are regularly topping 110 degrees, I can confidently say that I reach for this dress probably 3 times a week (don’t worry, I wear lots of deoderant :).

It keeps me cool, it’s easy to wear, it’s cute and did I mention keeps me cool??  Read on for the pattern details (including my pet peeves about it) and a quick overview of how I made this little number nursing friendly.  Check it out!

Ok, so first things first: I used pattern McCall’s M7562.  When I saw @alexiasotelo’s version on Instagram in this same fabric I thought – “Hey! I have that fabric in my stash and I bet I could make that dress nursing friendly!” So off I went.  (I found the fabric at my local Joann Fabrics)

In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say that this pattern took quite a bit of adjusting to make it work.  First I added about 3-4″ to the length because I wanted it to come just below my knees.  Then when I did my first fit test, the thing just swallowed me.  My measurements were right in line with the size 12 but in my experience, the Big 4 patterns always run big.  Now to be fair, I usually size down in storebought patterns for this very reason, but I thought this time I could get away with it since the dress is so loose fitting anyway.  NOPE.  It looked like a gunny sack.

In fact, after looking at these pictures, I still didn’t love the fit so I took it in even more and raised the hem about an inch.  So the sum total of my alterations included taking off about 4-6 inches on each side, lowering the hem about 2″, as well as taking the armhole up a bit since it was huge and showed my bra.  So if I make it again, I’d probably size down 2-3 sizes.

Now on to the button placket…guys, I’d never tried a hidden placket before and I loved making it!  I kind of just scrutinized a RTW dress and top I have with one of these plackets and figured it out.  It looks so seamless and neat and really wasn’t hard at all.  In fact, if you’re nervous about buttonholes at all (aren’t we all??) then this technique is great because it hides any goofs you may make!

There are lots of tutorials out there for making a hidden placket in a jacket or shirt that opens all the way, but I couldn’t find one for a partial placket (i.e. one where the dress doesn’t unbutton all the way to the bottom hem).  So I’m making a video for ya!  You’re gonna love how easy this technique is.  Stay tuned!

More full disclosure: I ran out of time to finish the buttons and buttonholes before taking pictures so it’s just pinned shut here.  HA!

Lastly, if you want to save yourself the headache of retrofitting this pattern, instead you could use my instructions for this nightgown tutorial to make a dress instead! It’s basically the same shape; you’ll just need to make it a little more narrow if you want to slim down the silhouette a bit.  But ain’t nothing wrong with making a street-friendly muumuu either!

If you do decide to use the McCall’s pattern to replicate this, the only modification you need to make for the placket is to leave off the little V-shaped neck opening; in other words, don’t cut into the neckline as instructed in the pattern, only do so once you’re ready to make the placket.

That’s it!  Let me know if you have any questions about this one. I can’t recommend this style enough for the perfect mom-friendly summer outfit!  Check out the widget below for links to my shoes (I wear them more often than this dress!) and similar bag & earrings.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessica
    July 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Love this! I can’t wait for the video!

    • Reply
      Bonnie
      July 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks Jessica! You’re gonna love how easy it is!!

  • Reply
    Emily
    July 5, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Ooh fabulous!! Love the hidden placket! You look gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Bonnie
      July 5, 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Thank you, my sweet friend!!

  • Reply
    Katherine Huson Finch
    July 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I looked at your nightgown pattern and noticed the bottom with seems to be 64 inches
    But is your grey dress that big around at the hem ? It looks smaller. I have this pattern, so I appreciate info
    For making it a success. Thx

    • Reply
      Bonnie
      July 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Katherine! Yes, it is most definitely smaller – you’d need to cut down the nightgown pattern quite a bit to get a similar fit. This dress ended up being about 48″ around the bottom hem, and I’m about a size medium (8/10) right now. Hope that helps!

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