Tag Archives: Dallia Shift Dress

How to sew an in-seam pocket – Dallia Dress

Continuing with my chosen theme of sewing with floral fabrics in March, I have selected this very crisp cotton print of florals on a black background.

Do you like to step outside your comfort zone with different fabric choices from time to time, to experiment with your style?

Dark florals are a print style that I have taken a while to warm to, however I can now declare quite confidently that I really do like them. It’s one of those strange facts about life that the more you look out for something, the more of it you see and I now see dark floral fabric on everything, everywhere I go, from clothing, including men’s shirts, to lunch boxes and home furnishings.

Dallia Shift Dress Side Pocket
Dallia Shift Dress Side Pocket

Dark floral dresses seem to have been hitting the worlds runway shows for a few seasons now and the designs have filtered down to the high street collections. As home sewers and dressmakers though we know we can make it better than the high street! Better quality fabric and a much better personal fit and usually for a better price too. That said, inspiration has to flow from a starting point. I have put a link to my pinterest board which contains a small collection of the big name designers, like Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Alexander Mcqueen and Michael Kors, who have all explored this idea of the dark floral in their various different ways.

Follow Sewing Avenue’s board Dark Floral Inspiration on Pinterest.


When I was creating the pattern for my Dallia shift dress I wanted to make it a very wearable garment and nothing makes a piece of clothing more practical than the addition of useful pockets.

They give you somewhere to keep your tissue or your loose change. They can however have a down side when it comes to creating elegant lines on a dress, skirt or shirt. It is very tempting to fill your pockets with items which really pull the cloth out of shape.

There are many different types of pockets, the Patch, Welt, Kangaroo and In-seam Pocket, to name just a few, and each has its uses on different styles of clothing. I wanted to include pockets on my Dallia Dress which would give it a relaxed day wear look and be useful but not change the line of the body, so I have gone with the inseam pocket style here.

How to sew an in-seam pocket


This is a technique which uses a separate in-seam pocket piece. It gives you the option of having pockets on both sides of the dress, just one side or even leaving them out of the pattern all together.

In this project I am putting pockets in both side seams.

Dallia Shift Dress - In Seam Pocket Placement
Dallia Shift Dress – In Seam Pocket Placement

Start by marking the position of the pockets that you want, they are suggested on the pattern, however you can adjust the positioning so that it is perfect for you.
With right sides of the pocket and the dress fabric facing one another, pin pocket piece in place between your markings. Stitch along the seam allowance between your markings, leaving the 1.5cm/ ⅝ inch unstitched at each end of the pocket piece.

Repeat this for the other side.

Place the back and the front of the dress pieces right sides together with the pockets extended to the outside of the seam.

Dallia Shift Dress - In Seam Pocket Construction
Dallia Shift Dress – In Seam Pocket Construction

Pin the seam including the pocket pieces in place.

Stitch the side seam from the hem up to and then around the pocket pieces, reinforce at the pocket markings by sewing a few back- stitches, then continuing up to the under arm edge.

Press the pockets flat.

Under-stitch inside the pocket pieces ¼ inch/0.5 cm from the side seam to prevent them from rolling out.

Dallia Shift Dress Seam Pocket
Dallia Shift Dress Seam Pocket

Take a look at all the new patterns in my pattern store which updates regularly as new PDF downloadable patterns are added.

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Dallia Shift Dress

Hello and welcome to my blog

Easy shift dress


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Dallia Shift Dress Sewing Avenue
Dallia Shift Dress Front View

So iconic and every woman’s best friend but how did it all start, how did it come about?

A quick google search for the shift dress will bring up so many choice options. You can have them with long, short or no sleeves, collars or no collars, round, ‘V’ or square neckline and in virtually any length and colour you choose.

This is a classic and timeless dress shape which is incredibly easy for any woman of any size, shape or age to wear. It is a fabulously simple design which hangs comfortably from the shoulders and is roomy enough to “shift” about over the body rather than cling to it’s curves. Making it the perfect dress for those days when you want something a bit less clingy!

Who conceived the shift dress?

Well there are three contenders who claim that they were the designer of the first shift dress and all have a valid claim in their own way.

Firstly there is Lilly Pulitzer. She was an American socialite who lived in Palm Beach Florida. She had asked her dressmaker to design and make simple dresses for her to wear while she helped out on her fruit farm. The dresses had just two basic bust darts and were made in bright, summery, cotton colours. When her friend Jacqueline Kennedy was photographed wearing one of the dresses on vacation and the picture appeared in Life Magazine, the world started to want them. Lily began selling more dresses than fruit and in 1959 the Lilly Pulitzer clothing label was born.

Secondly is Hubert de Givenchy who designed the famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961. It was a simple black Knee length shift dress. He also made very similar dresses for many of his clients, including Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Thirdly is the designer Mary Quant. Famous for creating the mini skirt in 1966, she gave the shift dress a new twist by making it much shorter and bringing the style to a whole new audience.

So why after fifty years is this enduring style still with us?  What is it’s appeal?

Just  last week at the Mercedes Benz New York fashion week, there were designers sending their shift dresses down the runway. Henry Holland had bold floral designs, Desigual used bright colours as did Vivian Tam and Hanae Mori to name just a few. Even current celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Kate Middleton have been photographed recently in versions of the dress.

For the sewist, the style endures because the simplicity of the shift dress means that it is the ideal first dress project to make for yourself as the pattern alterations and fitting are so minimal. For the more advanced dressmaker though, the shift dress lends itself to adaptation and design experimentation. The lucidity of the basic pattern means that it can be easily manipulated to take advantage of changing fashion trends such as a more generous or a slimmer fit. Gathers or pleating can be added, it can be a shorter or longer length, with sleeves or no sleeves and embellishments such as collar, button down front and colour blocking.

Dallia Dress Pattern - Fashion Flat
Dallia Dress Pattern – Fashion Flat

The shift dress I’ve made today is in a black and white patterned crepe fabric. I didn’t worry too much about the pattern matching as it is a very busy design but it is matched across the back seam.

Dallia Shift Dress Back View Sewing Avenue
Dallia Shift Dress Back View

There is no zip, Just a  loop and button fastenung in the back. It is a dream dress to make, very easy and would work well in most fabrics. I have decided to make this version just above knee length but I have made them longer and shorter before. By changing the type of fabric used, you can ensure that this is truly a dress for all of the seasons.


Dallia Dress Construction Back detail Sewing Avenue
Dallia Dress Construction Back detail
Dallia Dress Construction Back loop detail Sewing Avenue
Dallia Dress Construction Back loop detail

I am excited to announce that I am calling this dress the Dallia Shift Dress and it is going to be one of the patterns that I make available for you to download from my collection later in the year.

Dallia Shift Dress Sewing Avenue
Dallia Shift Dress with short sleeves


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Happy Sewing