Linen Wiksten Shift Dress with Emily of All My Spare Time

October 29, 2020

Linen Wiksten Shift Dress with Emily of All My Spare Time

Hi! My name is Emily. I’ve been an active member in the Raspberry Creek Facebook group and the online sewing community for quite some time, but this is my first sewing blog post! Today I’m sharing my most recent RCF project using the Indigo & Navy Striped Cotton/Rayon/Linen. I thought this simple dress would be the perfect project to walk through the process I take when creating.


    I originally found the Wiksten Shift Dress while deep down an indie-pattern rabbit hole on Instagram and filed it away for when I could find the perfect striped fabric. (Stripes are one of my great loves.)

    My heart always skips a beat when I see Diana post in the group about a new batch of woven fabrics in the shop. Raspberry Creek’s woven fabrics always take me back to my roots, when I first started learning to sew with my beginner Singer (which I still sew on). I love how every detail matters when sewing with woven fabrics; from carefully backstitching at the end of each seam to clipping notches into every curve and making sure each piece is aligned perfectly because there isn’t any spandex that will help hide the imperfections. Well, one day she announced a new shipment and this striped cotton/rayon/linen blend stopped me in my tracks. It needed to be that Wiksten Shift Dress I had imagined months before!


    My first step when starting a new project, especially a new-to-me pattern, is to plan everything to the “T”. I often imagine a style and research the heck out of it until I know I can pull it off. My favorite ways to do this are by going to the designer’s Facebook group and searching the pattern name to read other sewists’ feedback then searching Instagram hashtags to get a visual of what I might be imagining. I get really nervous to make that first cut into fabric, especially something as fabulous as this striped linen, so planning helps alleviate that worry. This can all be done before the fabric even arrives at my door.


    So, when the time came to begin this project, I sifted through hundreds of posts under the “WikstenShift” hashtag to decide on my favorite fit. I prefer a slimmer dress for my body and found many people were sizing as much as two and three sizes down to get that fit. My muslin was one size down and I ended up going one more for a total of two sizes smaller than my measured size. I also knew I would have to take lots of length out of the original pattern as is typical for me with dresses. It ended up being a full 5” but was very simple since the pattern just has straight side seams. I took half of that length (2.5”) out from above the slit marking and the other half from the hem to make sure the slit didn’t end up too high or disproportionate to the final length.


    My next hurdle was that the direction of the stripes were very important to me. I NEEDED them to go vertical and the back yoke, pockets and tie going horizontal. I wasn’t really willing to veer from this, but with a 2 yard cut, I had to get creative. It took me almost an hour of laying the fabric on the floor and rearranging the paper pattern pieces on top before I finally puzzled together how to make it work. I do this often so I don’t get to the end of my cutting and realize I don’t have enough fabric. Then, I take a picture with my phone so I can reference back once I get the fabric onto my cutting table.

    The threads in the lighter stripes are a very loose weave, so I began by finishing all the edges of my cut pieces with my serger and running a stay-stitch around the neckline so they wouldn’t warp or unravel while I was putting it together. I’m very glad I did this, because the neck facing inserted like a dream. I used a scrap of navy blue quilting cotton for the facing as I didn’t want the textured stripes to get bulky around the neckline.


    I saved the pocket placement for the end because I wanted to see where I liked them once I could try the dress on. Though it was a little tricky getting all the fabric under my needle, the stripes helped me keep everything straight. I’m glad I waited because I found that I like the tie quite high on my waist and wanted the pockets to fall right below the tie.

    This fabric has a little more structure to it than a lightweight linen and the stripes add a bit of thickness to it making it perfect for fall. The dress, when paired with some flat shoes, is a perfect comfortable option for running errands during the afternoon with the kids. But, by adding the waist tie and some boots, it is dressy enough for an evening out. I love the diversity of this dress and I’ve found myself looking forward to each time I get to wear it next.


    The dress just wouldn’t be everything I dreamed it would be without this fantastic linen though. I keep wondering how many garments I could get away with using this fabric. It would be perfect for a pair of shorts in the spring, a button up top, or a summery dress. I could go on and on, I absolutely love it!

    Thank you for following along with me. You can find me and more of my makes on Instagram as @AllMySpareTime.

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