Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Sewing Circle: The Tri-Color Shift Dress

Welcome to Sewing Circle!
I take your questions, do my best to answer them, and then turn it back to readers to throw your two cents in, too!

This time, it's a question from Emily:

Q: I just started sewing a couple months ago and am obsessed, but I have a hard time finding patterns for things I want--and I refuse to pay over, like, $30 for anything in a store. 

I've noticed that some of your posts are people writing in about things they've seen that they'd like to make, and I've had this problem for a few weeks now. I saw this dress and I immediately fell in love with it. It reminds me of the Oliver + S Ice Cream dress for little kids, but I'm not little-kid sized, so I can't just make that one work. Have you seen anything like this? It looks pretty easy, and while it's made of silk, I'd probably opt for cotton or linen because it will be hot and humid here in DC before I know it, and silk will not be my friend in that case.

A: Hi, Emily!  You absolutely can copy that cute Anthro dress! I did a quick search of Simplicity patterns and found these options that you could easily convert by making them the length you want and cutting and piecing the three fabric colors together:
As for the buttons on the shoulder, the easiest would be to just sew some buttons on the center of the seam when the dress is done. The three fabrics: I suggest using the same weight and type of fabric for all three. I would also give the whole thing a lining rather than a neck facing.

Anyone else have any ideas?  Have you seen or made a similar pattern?  It looks like a cute, easy-to-wear dress!

Thanks for checking out Sewing Circle!


  1. I have a very similar dress that I love...it's so comfortable! Instead of anything on the shoulders, though, there's a hidden zipper under the armhole on the side. It makes it very easy to get in and out of, in case you were looking for an alternative to functional buttons on the shoulder. I tend to pop straps off dresses if I'm not too careful, so I'd personally want to make the shoulders as sturdy as possible. Good luck!

  2. She could lengthen this free pattern into a dress:

    Or she could use this pattern - the shape is a bit different but it is designed to be made in 3 pieces/fabrics like the original: http://butterick.mccall.com/b5456-products-10839.php?page_id=155

    The Built by Wendy patterns are out of print. I'm sure they can still be found online, but maybe not for .99 at Jo-Ann.

  3. I had real problems opening the link to the anthropologie site (I'm in the UK and it kept automatically sending me to the homepage for the European site!). I'm guessing from the link address that the product number for the original dress is 20751558 ? And,it's this blue/grey/yellow dress here: http://reviews.anthropologie.com/5310/20751558/reviews.htm ...

    I think the top/bodice part of the Anda Dress (pattern from BurdaStyle - as a $3.50 USD download here: http://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/anda) is pretty similar! And on Kathleen's blog she did a sewalong for it too :) http://grosgrainfabulous.blogspot.com/search?label=Anda

    Or pattern no. 8001 here http://www.leko-mail.net/zak-e.php?mod=8001&mnk=1&f=1 is pretty close at the top too. Or their other dress patterns http://www.leko-mail.net/mod-e.php?t=0&a=1&n=0 5144 (page 19 - bottom of the dress has a good shape to it), 5813 (page 7), or tunic 5901 (on this page http://www.leko-mail.net/mod-e.php?t=0&a=10&n=0) are close-ish in shape too - plus you can download a small size on PDF format from them for free, and maybe grade it to your own size? (I found some links to grading tutorials and posted them on my blog here: http://sew-incidentally.blogspot.com/2011/01/making-grade-how-to-score-a-in-pattern.html)

  4. Thanks for your pattern-hunting!

    @The Yellow Rose, I don't think the buttons are meant to help you get in the dress, but they probably have cute little silk self-fabric button loops or some other time-intensive detail. They are cute either way. I think the dress just slips over the head.

  5. As for buying inexpensive patterns...I live in South Florida and there are very few fabric/sewing stores. In fact the only one I know of in my area is Joanns. They often have discounts on patterns, $1.99 for Simplicity and McCalls and $3.99 for Vogue. I don't know if you have a Joanns in your area but you can sign up for email updates and flyers with coupons.

  6. Here is something I saw many moons ago and I thought of it when I saw this dress, not the same but similar :)

  7. You guys are all so awesome :) McCalls and Simplicity patterns are on sale this weekend at JoAnns and Hancocks (respectively) so hopefully I'll find some and see what I can do!

    Thanks again!

  8. So sad that I lost all the comments on this post! Everything that came in after whatever time on Wednesday through whatever time on Friday is gone because of the Blogger shutdown.

    So if you don't see your comment... I didn't delete it! Blogger did! =(



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