Ann Normandy Shift Dress Tutorial

This cute little summer frock is an Ann Normandy Design pattern. The sleeveless shift dress is a unique minimalist design with sharp geometric lines along the neck, and the armscyes are squared. With a heavy weighted woven fabric suggested, I used a 6.5 oz denim. After I had made this beauty, I was ready for a hot summer day at the beach wearing this breezy make.

Sew … Here we GO!

Naturally, before you sew always put a new needle in your machine and ensure it’s clean. Test drive your stitches on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure your tension is good. I used a Microtex size 12 needle for my denim. Prep your fabric before you cut. I tossed mine in the washer and dryer about 3 times before I was ready to cut. Lay your pieces out to ensure you have enough fabric for your project. I love my pattern weights instead of pinning my pattern to the fabric. Using a rotary cutter really helps me be more accurate in cutting, and this pattern is drafted with super precision!

Mark all your dots, notches and whatever else helps you keep accuracy in your construction. Various seam allowances are used throughout the construction, but most are made with a 3/4″ SA to allow to do FLAT-FELLED seams. If you don’t know what a FLAT-FELLED seam is, you will learn in this tutorial.

Let’s get going…..I used a piece of interfacing to re-enforce the V of the neckline facing (binding).

Sew your neck facing pieces together using a 1/4″ seam allowance starting at the dot and sewing out to the point of the corner. (See below)

With right sides together, place your neck facing onto the front of the dress matching all corners and raw edges. Sew in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance along the neckline, pivot and turn at the corners, sew down to the dot at the V, re-enforce your stitching at the V, come back up the other side.

Clip into the corners and to the point of the V without clipping through the stitches. Turn right side out and press.

Turn raw edges of the facing under and press. Sew in place close to the folded edge. Pivot and turn at the corners. Set it to the side for now. We are going to move on to the pockets.

Overcast stitch the three edges of your pocket that are not on the seam line.

Overcast stitch your pocket edges.

Next, I used some stay tape to re-enforce the pocket area where the seam line runs on the wrong side of the front dress piece, ensuring there was stay tape past the two dots where the pocket opening is. Seam allowance for the side seams is 3/4″. We will be making a flat-feld seam down the side seam.

Re-enforce stitch 3/4″ from raw edge of fabric over dots. Clip to the stitches without cutting through them.

Fold over twice the clipped edge and press. Stitch using a pivot / turn at the edges. Sew close to the folded edge. Re-enforce the stitches at both ends.

Lay your pocket piece over the WRONG SIDE of the front dress matching dots and pin in place.

Sew pocket piece in place sewing very close to the overcasting stitching .

This is what it should look like from the right side of the front dress: see below:

OK… time to set the side seam pockets to the side for now and we are going to work on the shoulder seams. The shoulder seams are really well designed in that they are flat-feld seams that finish off the back neck edge. SOOOO COOL! Can you tell I LOVE THIS DESIGNER!!! Let’s talk about flat-feld seams for a moment. They are the coolest way to hide raw edges in a way that can be used in reversible garments because they look good from both the right and wrong side of the garment. You have seen them in the construction of jeans. Yes.. those are flat-fled seams. And they are easy to do. What you do is sew the seam, usually a 3/4″ seam. Trim one side of the seam, the side you want to fold over with the flat-feld. The untrimmed seam allowance side is folded over twice to hid the raw edge and then stitched close to the folded edge. Waa Laah! A flat-feld seam.

So… with right sides together, line up the shoulder seams of the front and back pieces. Sew the shoulder seams using a 3/4″ seam allowance. Trim the back piece seam allowance to a 1/4″ just to about 1/2″ from the end of the front piece edge. (See pic below:)

Fold over twice the back edge and sew in place close to the folded edge. See Below:

Flat-feld seam along back neck edge.

OK. Job well done! Let’s move on to sewing the side seams. Those are flat-feld seams too! With right sides together on the front and back pieces, match your markings and sew a 3/4″ seam down the sides ensuring you don’t sew your pocket opening down. Best way to ensure you don’t make that mistake is to feel your way along and avoid the pocket. See below:

Below is what it should look like on the right side of the dress:

Again, trim the back dress piece seam allowance down to 1/4″. Fold the front piece seam allowance over twice, pin in place and sew it down close to the folded edge.

Trim seam allowance on back side piece.
Fold front SA over twice and pin in place.
Sew in place close to the edge.

On right side of dress, re-enforce pocket ends with a nice tack stitch.

Moving on.. Sew the armscye facings with right sides together using a 3/4″ seam allowance. Trim down to 1/4″

Trim seam allowance down to 1/4″

With right sides together, pin armscye facing to main dress and stitch in place using 1/4″ seam allowance. Use pivot and turn at corners. Re-enforce corners with a little extra stitching. Clip corners without cutting through the stitches. Turn and press the facing to the inside of dress.

Clip into corners.

Fold over twice the raw edge of facing. Stitch in place pivoting and turning at corners.

Fold over twice to hide raw edge.
Stitch in place close to the folded edge.

Believe it or not, the only thing left to do is hem that puppy! WAAAAH LAAAAH! What a great pull over dress for the beach, pool, or where ever you want to wear it.

Ann Normandy sleeveless shift dress

4 thoughts on “Ann Normandy Shift Dress Tutorial

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