Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Wiksten Shift Dress: Long Length in Double Gauze

I tried to resist the Wiksten Shift Dress pattern, it was all over social media a few months ago and I wait to see if it's just a passing fancy or a style I think will suit me as well as a style I would actually make, wear and enjoy.   I recently updated my desktop computer and as I saved files and swapped data over, I could see many PDF patterns that I've bought and never sewn.  In the end,  I'd seen so many people on Instagram looking great in the midi dress version that I bought it as a PDF.  It is pricey (another reason I was resisting) but now I've made two, I can see why.  It is deceptively simple, but carefully and thoughtfully designed.  

I made a size 0.  I ummed and ahhed between sizes 0 and 2 and as soon as I cut the PDF pattern out and did some measuring, I could see that the smallest size would be the best match.  I'm 5'5" and my measurements fell between sizes 0 and 2.   There are detailed size recommendations and examples here.  On the dress, the back section under the yoke is gathered to create the extra volume- that gives the dress it's movement and ease when walking so there's no sense of restriction.  The dress front is much narrower so creates more of a column effect when viewed from the front.  I made a couple of changes- I did the forward 1/2" shoulder adjustment from the Wiksten journal (on my second, I also made a small high round back adjustment of a scant 3/8" which stopped the neckline falling back at all).  My sleeves are about 1/2" too as I accidentally lopped 1/2" off the paper pattern when sorting the shoulder adjustment out!  I corrected this for the next dress!   I also added some interfacing to the waist tie, just a small section along the centre back- it adds a little more body to the area that lies against that part of your body (see pic below)...

Top sewing tip coming up:  I added a bar (from small hook and bar fastenings) on the inside of each split, right at the top (example below is on dress two).  This adds some strength to a vulnerable area and it has worked well as I've worn both dresses a lot with no wear on the splits.

Otherwise, everything else is as the pattern stated.  I used a double gauze that I bought from Stitch at a show.  This had a standard gauze front layer and a loose weave underlayer which meant it frayed like crazy!  But it is soft, opaque and quite drapey so it suits the style well.  

Seeing the dress without the belt shows a little more of the shape- the straight front and the fuller back. I sometimes wear it unbelted if I'm working from home or it's the latter part of the day and I want to relax. 

Like Jenny's other patterns, the design is timeless and there is a top option (the back narrower) which I can see myself making too.  I have worn this version and the second (in Nani Iro Bird's Eye double gauze) so many times that buying the pattern has definitely paid off.  I took both dresses to London for a weekend away last month and they were perfect for travel.  I could roll them up in a holdall on the train and then happily wear them for a day of sightseeing or with a close-fitting cardigan for meals out in the evening.  A classic summer into sunny autumn dress!


  1. The dress looks wonderful on you - with the belt or without. Love how you can dress it up - or just wear it to relax in. Love the little stabilizer idea you used on top of each split - what a great tip!

  2. Beautiful! Great that's it versatile and looks lovely tied or not. Those fasteners are also amazing, world famed!


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