Bloody Shift Dress

Hey there! I’m back to show you a dress that I made several weeks ago. On the hunt for my perfect shift dress I have stocked up on a few patterns – and am tempted by so many more especially Deer & Doe’s new Arum dress.

Simplicity 1609

For my first attempt I decided to go with Simplicity 1609. I like all the darts – bust, french darts to the waist, and fish eye darts in the back plus darts in the back neck. Combined with the center front seam this made it pretty easy to get a good fit while sewing. I even like the facings in this pattern and for once didn’t substitute bias bound neck/arm holes. I used a linen-rayon blend fabric though next time I may try something a little heavier. So – this was a pretty easy & satisfying project. But I still managed to make things interesting…


First a near disaster. This is the first whole garment I sewed on my new Bernina (yay!) and I was still learning to coordinate the knee release and pedal (uh-oh). I was feeding the fabric through and my finger got too close to the needle and I managed to sew right through my index finger! The Bernina handled it much better than my finger. I guess they should add that to the sales demo? Glad that the dress is red since I managed to bleed on it quite a bit… In case you’re wondering I’m fine now, but have gained some respect for the power of this machine.


Second I’m pregnant! I managed to survive the first trimester (boy that morning sickness totally kicked my butt). Now that I have some energy for sewing again I’m thinking about things I can wear for the next several months. Any suggestions for maternity patterns or ways to adapt existing patterns? I’ve got my eye on a couple Megan Nielsen patterns, but would love your ideas!

Details: Simplicity 1609, graded from sz 10 (shoulder) to sz 12 (bust) to sz 14 (waist) with corresponding darts, removed additional 3/4″ of width below each arm scye, narrowed back neck at zipper by 5/8″ on each side, and took in the front neck at the center seam 3/8 on each side, removed 2″ in length


  1. That is a beautiful red! I really like the dress on you, it fits great! I’ve heard from some people who had the same accident and I’m horrified that the same will happen to my finger so day. Congratulations on the pregnancy, I’m looking forward to seeing your self made maternity clothes. I don’t have any experience in that territory, so I’m sorry that I don’t have any patternwise tips for you.

    • pinned says:

      Thank you! Well, the good news is that my finger recovered pretty quickly. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Me neither! But I think it will be fun to figure it out!

  2. Ingrid says:

    I love this dress, and the whole look. Those sandals look like the most comfortable thing in the world. And huge congratulations on the bump ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Inder says:

    Oh my goodness!! Congratulations!! Wonderful wonderful news: BABY!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    So, ouch, did you have to go to the hospital for your finger? That is horrible! I once hit my finger with a needle, but for whatever reason, a combination of several factors and various quick-moving body parts, I’m sure, it only badly broke my fingernail but did not puncture any further. That hurt like holy molasses, though. OOOOWWWWWWW.

    I do love your bloody red shift dress, though! The fit is just right and it’s the perfect thing for the heat we’ve been having. I sewed some when I was pregnant – knit skirts and tops, mostly. I did use Megan Nielsen patterns, her ruched t-shirt is pretty great! Can’t wait to see what you make!

    • pinned says:

      Thanks! Very exciting.

      No – it sounds more like your accident, although the needle went all the way through my fingernail and I had to extract a complete stitch (worst unpicking ever). The needle broke when I jerked my finger & luckily it was easy to remove. Oh gosh – it was painful! And I almost passed out from the shock.

      The ruched t-shirt pattern looks pretty appealing – will definitely be trying that one soon! Now I’m going to go haunt your old blog posts looking for maternity inspiration… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Margo says:

    Congrats!!!! That’s wonderful and so it your dress. Very pretty.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Your dress looks gorgeous! I’m sorry about your finger but so fortunate that the fabric is red and could disguise the accident! How lucky!
    But mostly, congratulations on your pregnancy. I wish you and happy and health time ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have any suggestions, it’s been a long time since I sewed maternity clothes for myself! but there are tonnes and tonnes of patterns. Just go and browse the pattern catalogues!

    • pinned says:

      Thank you! I suspect I’ll end up improvising quite a bit despite all the good patterns available – just can’t help it. Yes, best case scenario with a sewing accident is that it doesn’t ruin the garment! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Michelle says:

    Oh my goodness I’ve always been so scared of sewing my finger! Thank goodness it healed fast and you were able to recover! And congrats on your pregnancy!!! I used the Meghan Nielsen tee shirt which was fun, but I personally had to add a LOT of length to it, once my belly got bigger that thing was not covering much! Your shift dress looks great, I keep on being tempted to try them …

    • pinned says:

      Foolishly it didn’t even occur to me as a possibility until I did it! Thanks for the congratulations and tip about the Megan Nielsen shirt. I will keep that in mind! I guess it’s impossible to make a shirt that works for the whole 9 months. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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