I have been pattern cutting for nearly 2 decades, and it’s something I take a huge amount of joy in… helping people have clothing to wear that fits them is just a wonderful thing. The thing is though, custom fit clothing is expensive so it’s just not accessible for a lot of people so i’ve been working away on producing patterns using all my knowledge of bodies to try and ensure that they fit as many different people well as I can.

So I’ve started with The Ally Shift Dress… the name inspired by my best friend who I have been making dresses like this for for a lot of years. The classic, the wardrobe staple, the versatile number! There is so much to be said for this type of piece: The dress thats easy to wear, the dress that can be worn across all the seasons with layering or by using different weight fabrics, The dress that can even be dressed up for an evening out too.

I wanted to start with patterns that were accessible to all too, because sewing really is for everyone if you break down the construction into steps anyone can learn to sew and produce wonderful wearable pieces. So this is a lovely beginner sew, the zip isn’t a necessity but if you’re feeling brave please try putting it in because opening your world to be able to put zips in will really increase the number of sewing projects available to you. I have tried to make the instructions as clear as possible, and have used my years of experience teaching people to dress make to guide the layout… so the bold instruction at the start so its clear what the instruction wants you to do quickly but with extra information below if you want an extra tip.

Now a note about the sizing because how i’ve done it is possibly slightly controversial… I’ve totally done away with the dress sizes! Now as annoying as that may seem at first, being forced to measure yourself, its a lot less annoying than sewing an entire garment and finding the sizing was off. Dress sizes vary so hugely not only across pattern brands but across the high street as a whole… a 10 in H&M for example is a vastly different sized garment than a 10 in M&S and its frustrating. I meet so many people who tell me their dress size and want to start sewing a garment in that size without checking their measurements and are shocked when I measure them and tell them they need a size 2 or 3 up or down from what they thought they needed by reading the measurement charts. Getting the sizing wrong is just an annoyance that I wanted to avoid, so by not even hinting at which dress size each may be referring to I’m hoping it’ll leave you feeling empowered at making something for your body rather than for a dress size label.

The other thing I felt passionately about with my patterns was having the option to buy a printed one. PDF patterns are one of the most convenient in terms of having it immediately and yet a lot of people don’t like having to print them themselves. So, I’m offering both to hopefully ensure you can have the format you prefer. Both contain all the same pieces/instructions but the printed pattern comes beautifully packaged with a lovely little instruction booklet to put in front of you as you sew.

I have so many more designs in my brain ready to add to this range so please keep checking back, and hopefully you really love this pattern. Please tag me in any posts on social media about The Ally Shift Dress and don’t forget to #allyshiftdress


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