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Button Up in this Classic Double Breasted Shift Dress

Updated: May 18, 2023

This is Ulla, the ultimate double breasted shift dress, a new pattern release from Seamwork.

Ulla has wonderful tailoring details complemented by a stricking V- neckline and double breasted button closure. It is a semi-fitted cut which makes it perfect for layering over your favourite shirts. I have it layered here over the new Jenny Top, another new pattern release for February. They really are the perfect combination.

The pattern includes bust darts and fish-eye darts that run through the small of your back giving the dress a lovely tailored finish. It is finished with an all-in-one facing at the neckline and armholes. The armhole facing is done using a burrito sewing method which can be a bit more complicated to wrap your head around, but the illustrations, labeling and directions that come with the pattern take you through a step at a time. You will have perfectly faced armholes in no time.

The pattern itself doesn't have very many pieces making the initial construction very easy to follow and to put together. The fitting gets a bit more complicated when you are creating the buttonholes and sewing the buttons on. Make sure you use the pattern markings for the buttonholes. There are 10 in all, so it is important to line them up as pairs and along each row of buttonholes. I used my large quilting ruler and a water soluable fabric pen to make sure the markings were perfectly in line and spaced evenly. Taking this extra bit of time to measure is well worth it, resulting in a crisp clean finished look with buttons and fabric that lie flat. The details really count on a make like this which is why I think this would be a pattern choice for sewists who have a bit more experience. It is definitely not a pattern that can be made quickly and having some experience with long facings and button holes will really help.

Another area that takes some careful measuring is the hemline. I chose to hand stitch my hem as I wanted a very clean finish for the bottom of the dress. Make sure that you carefully line up the hemline across the double breasted section of the dress. You want to measure this exactly and make sure that one section of the dress doesn't hanging below the other so it lays evenly with the rest of the hemline. Again, it takes more time but your finished dress will look polished and chic.

The 10 buttons truly are a feature of the Ulla. It is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite buttons. I used some vintage shell buttons gifted to me by a dear friend. They were from her grandmother's shop in Montreal. I'm excited that they can live on as part of such a classic, chic dress. The lighter weight shell button worked well with the fabric I choose. Be careful not to choose buttons that are too heavy as they will drag the fabic down and complicate the sleek fit of the dress.

For my fabric I chose this core range heavy polyester suiting from Minerva. Suiting fabric like this is known as a bi-stretch fabric despite the fact that it doesn't have any stretch at all. It is incredibly easy to sew with and very comfortable to wear which makes it a perfect pairing for this pattern. As a woven fabric it is strong and durable. The term "suiting" describes any woven fabric that is used to make suits and tailored clothing. The quality of the suiting is an integral part of a tailored garment construction. Choosing this neutral camel means that my Ulla can be worn across mulitple seasons and in a variety of ways to a number of different events.

I am really pleased with how my Ulla has turned out. I know I will wear often with both of my Jenny Tops, wool turtlenecks, collared button downs and on its own it warmer weather. I think this pattern would look wonderful sewn up in a twill or denim as well.

After all... There is Sew Much To Design!

Happy Ulla Sewing,

Lou Sheffer


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