Retro Shift Dress – Free sewing patterns


Fabric, 2m (1.14m wide)Contrast fabricConcealed zip, 22in



Dimensions List

Front: cut one on the foldFront side panel: cut one pairBack: cut one pairSleeve: cut one pairPocket bag: cut one pair1.5cm seam allowance used throughout except for at the neckline, where 1cm is used.

1 Download and print the pattern at, cut out all the pieces from your main fabric according to the cutting guide, then transfer all of the markings. Make a bias strip from 5cm-wide contrast fabric that is the length of the curved edge on the front piece, and stitch in place. Repeat for the other curved side.

2 Sew the pocket bags to the lower curved part of the front piece as far as the small dot on the pattern. Clip the seam and press it down towards the hem. Stitch the darts into the front side panels, then press them up towards the shoulders. Match the side panels to the front piece and around the edges of the pocket bag, pin, then stitch. The bias strip should show on the right side of the seam. Press the seams towards the centre front.

3 Neaten down the front and side panel seam, around the pocket bag, down the side edges of both the front and back dress, the centre back edges, and across the shoulders. Match the centre-back seam as far as the zip notch and stitch from the base of the dress to this point.

4 Fold and press the seam allowance along the two sides of the back opening, then open out and with the right side of the fabric facing up, place the opened zip face-down, matching the teeth to the crease line in the seam allowance. Pin, then stitch. Backstitch, then sew the other side of the zip in place. Carefully thread the zip pull through to the right side at the top of the centreback seam and pull up to close.

5 Match the shoulder seams of the front and back dress, right sides together, pin, then stitch. Press the seam allowances open. Make a bias strip as before that measures the length of the neckline, then fold and press in 1cm on either side. Open one side of the bias strip and position it around the neckline. Pin, then stitch along the fold line pressed into the strip.

6 Fold the strip over to the wrong side of the neckline and position the remaining folded edge over the stitching line. Pin and edgestitch in place, sandwiching the raw edge of the neckline inside the bias binding; alternatively, slip stitch by hand. Trim any excess binding at the edges of the centre-back edges, fold back the ends and slip stitch to secure. Match the side seams together, pin, stitch, and press the seams open.

7 Cut another 5cm-wide contrast bias strip measuring the length of the sleeve hem and fold in half lengthways. Position along the base of the sleeve and stitch, then repeat for the other sleeve. Neaten all the raw edges together and press them up into the sleeves so that the contrast bias shows on the right side.

8 Sew a row of gathering stitch around the head of the sleeves, starting from the front notch and finishing at the back notches. Neaten the underarm edges of the sleeves. Match, pin and stitch the underarm sleeve seams, right sides together, press them open, then turn the sleeves to the right side. Pull the gathering threads up slightly and place the sleeve into the armhole of the dress.

9 Match the side seams and the underarm seam of the sleeve together, positioning the notch in the centre of the sleeve against the notch at the end of the shoulder seam, then adjust the gathers to fit the armhole. Pin, stitch, then neaten around the seam allowances of the armhole. Repeat to add the second sleeve.

10 Cut another 5cm-wide contrast bias strip that measures the circumference of the dress hem plus 3cm. Fold the strip in half lengthways, then stitch the two ends together. Position this along the base of the dress and stitch in place. Neaten all of the raw edges together and press up into the dress so that the contrast bias shows on the right side of the dress.