Warning, these one yard – almost zero waste garments, are not in the order I made them. Naturally, I chose the hardest first, which was a big mistake. I don’t want that to happen to you. I am releasing them in the order of easiest construction to the most challenging, pants. Part one last week was a very simple zero waste top.

For part two I chose the simple shift dress to make with my one yard of 60″ width Spoonflower fabric.

The Pattern

The shift dress has a long boxy shape with two simple side seams and an invisible back zipper. I used bias tape binding to finish the neckline and arm holes. There are two simple french side darts. I love these type of darts because they give the dress a little dimension without messing with the overall casual shape.

The best thing about this dress is it can be made in one morning session.

This pattern for a size 12, 32″ bust says it needs 1 3/4 yards of 60″ wide fabric. To make this dress work with one yard I omitted the belt, shortened the length and nixed the facings.

Here is how I did it, I hope you like my illustrations.


My Pattern Layout

I got my Juki machine a year ago and am still working on getting the invisible zippers to look hidden. The first thing I did was the invisible zipper in the back. Why not get the most stressful part out of the way first instead of last.

Invisible Zipper Tips


I quickly sewed the darts with my regular sewing machine first.

All the rest of the seaming was done on my serger (shoulders and side seams). I have been altering a lot of dresses that are simply serger sewn together. Life is too short and if you can not tell the difference than who cares. This is my opinion though and you are free to choose your own methods for everything.

For the finishing I added my bias tape to my boat style neckline and a simple topstitched hem to the bottom of my dress.

Bias Tape Tips


I wore my dress to my besties 50th birthday party and everyone complimented how comfortable I looked. I wish you could have seen their faces when I told them I not only created the fabric print but I made the dress with zero waste from one yard of fabric.

The downfall with a large print and very little fabric is that pattern print placement is not an option.

Behind the Scenes~

I have moved on from studying patterns, repeats and fabric designs to frame by frame animation, GIFs and videos on my art journey. I am on day 131 of making art every day to learn Procreate. It does so many awesome things and I have really enjoyed the process. This is my first video with voice over.

Basics class was last week and it was one the best yet.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!


Tracy McElfresh
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