Making a shift dress can be an easy project for a beginner sewist. Depending on the style you're looking to make, you can use a pattern, trace an existing dress you like or adjust the fit to your measurements. Below are several videos about sewing a shift dress, including one that works from a vintage pattern, another that copies a new style and even one for girls.
The Crafts Channel and Sew Magazine teamed up to make a video tutorial about how to create a shift dress based on one of your existing dresses. To make things simple, they recommend choosing one that has no darts or zipper. You'll need dressmaker's chalk to trace the shape of the existing garment onto your new fabric. Of course, you'll also need enough fabric for the new dress and pins. While some creators prefer taught fabric with little give for the material, this tutorial recommends a stretchy fabric. Keep in mind that this tutorial goes in depth and is spread out over several videos. Here's the second part of the tutorial on making a no-pattern shift dress.
Teach Me Fashion explains how to sew a dress based a pattern that can be downloaded for a price. With darts and a zipper, the style is more form fitting and requires close attention to the existing pattern. While the dress is made according to the pattern used, there are a lot of tips about hems and machine sewing that can be applied to making any shift dress.
Brooklyn fashion designer Heather Klar explains the importance of picking the right material when making a shift dress, since that influences how challenging the fabric will be to cut as well as sew. Stretchier materials, not surprisingly, can be harder for new sewers to use.
Stitchless TV takes inspiration from Tommy Hilfiger for its sun dress, which, given the attachments of the straps, is able to be worn several different ways. The video lesson also offers great tips on how to take fabric that's typically used for upholstery and adapt it for a dress (all you need to do is a little washing).
Want to make a shift dress for a little girl? This video explains how you can make an easy ensemble by measuring the intended wearer. Keep in mind that the measurements are in centimeters, so you if you're used to working in inches you may need to convert.
Lauren from Rosie Wednesday held a shift dress sew-a-long on her site, giving tips on how to make the vintage-style shift dress pattern from Simplicity 3833. In addition to tips on measuring and sewing darts she also explained how to adjust the pattern for plus-sized shapes and more.