The Jennifer Shift Dress – Spring Inspiration Part 1

The Jennifer Shift Dress

The Jennifer Shift Dress

This week I kicked off the first class in ‘The Jennifer Shift Dress, it is a 2-Part series’ and I want to share the journey with you as it unfolds.

Let me tell you all about The Jennifer Shift Dressmaking workshop. This workshop is suitable for learners who want to acquire a solid foundation with which to kick-start their sewing journey. You will be rapidly learning very important skills as you tackle your first sewing projects. There is more info on the main website about the class. If you are a beginner, you will be starting off with with our Introduction to the sewing machine.

It is also suitable for confident sewers who want learn about drafting their own patterns using their own or someone else’s body measurements. In which case, you will just need to sign up for 2 workshops instead of 3. See more info here.

You will be introduced and eased into the world of pattern drafting fundamentals. The workshops are instructional, stripped-down, comprehensive yet easy to follow.

I like this pattern because you can make a garment which can be simple and yet very stylish or you can make the pattern as elaborate as you please, but you have to put in the work.

What Inspired This Pattern?


This is the very first dress I made which inspired The Jennifer Shift Dress Pattern. When I made this dress, I needed something quick but stylish, so I folded my fabric in half, cut it and hopped on my sewing machine. I made this dress in under 2 hours without a sewing pattern.

Based on how easily I made the first dress, I decided to make a second one. I started off with a plain green brocade fabric. When the dress was complete, I was not quite happy with the finished garment, it looked overly basic. By mere coincidence, lying next to me on the table was a beautiful piece of left over fabric, from a class I had just concluded. I tested the scrap against my finished dress and both fabrics seemed to gel. It was then I had the idea for a flounce, unfortunately the fabric was not enough but I made something anyway.
So, there you go, The Jennifer Shift Dress pattern is a combination of both dresses.

Both dresses were super easy to make and I thought it would be an easy way to introduce dressmaking to beginners. I could not think of a simpler dress.

First Pattern Drafting Workshop

It was at that point I thought the best way forward would be to create a pattern and then teach learners how to make this pattern using their own measurements and easy to follow calculations.


This is my first 1-2-1 session working with this pattern. For our first pattern draft, I advise my students to use large tissue wrapping paper and then when we have revised all our drafts we can transfer the production pattern onto a proper dots and cross pattern paper.


You will find out that your first draft will often come with mistakes, this is fine. Simply trace the draft onto another paper.


This is what our final draft looks like and this is what we will transfer onto the proper pattern paper. You can decide to stop at this point and make your dress or you can go for the flounce.


We used my favourite slash and spread method to construct the flounce.

slash and spread method

The flounce can add so much class to your dress, you can go crazy and vary the fabric you use.

Once our pattern pieces are ready, you lay them on the grain-line of the fabric and then cut. In this class, we ran into a bit of a fabric issue, the learner did not want a flounce, but because the fabric was not long enough for the dress, we decided to add a flounce to give it more length. This is something you may want to consider for other dresses or projects you have. You can add a flounce to a garment just to give it some length, if you feel the garment is too short.

There you go, not too many complicated pieces.

The Jennifer Shift Dress Pattern

Are You Interested In A Tutorial?

I am currently working on the tutorial for this pattern drafting and sewing and I am hoping as many of you as possible will join us in making this dress. The tutorial will be published on my YouTube channel so please make sure you are following me on Instagram as well as subscribe to my YouTube channel, you don’ want to miss out on the tutorial.


Spring is upon us, let’s get sewing

Spring is upon us and it is time to get those colourful fabrics out of hiding.

I will be making one for myself, following my new pattern design and here is the fabric combination I will be using.

Please leave any comments or questions in the section below. Thanks for reading.


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