shiftWorks – the idea

shift dressCelebrating 50 years of the shift dress, textile processes and collaboration

Our idea is that seam textile artists/designers/makers will take one shift dress pattern and creatively explore their craft to each make a dress that showcases textile design. The shift dress will be a canvas for our ideas.  And not all garments will be wearable.

It is 50 years since the mainstream adoption of the shift dress, from 1965 to 2015.  To celebrate we are inviting everyone to collaborate  and email us your photographs of your favourite shift dress that you, your family or friends have worn and tell us why it is your favourite. In the 60’s the shift dress was part of the ‘youthquake’ phenomenon, embracing mobility, fun and freedom. We would love to know what you think about your dress and how times have changed.

Nine seam artists are taking part: Anna Glasbrook, Desiree Jeans (Goodall) , Anna Gravelle, Joy Merron, Angie Parker, Linda RowTabitha Stewart, Penny Wheeler, and Samon Yechi.  All nine artists will be blogging at seam Collective throughout their research, design and making of their shift dresses.


Our idea would not have been possible without funding. We are very pleased to be awarded funding from the Arts Council, South Somerset District Council and Somerset Art Works, and we are hoping to be successful with our other matched funding.  A big thank you to Carol Carey from Somerset Art Works who gently guided us through our first attempt at funding applications.  And thanks to Lizzi Walton from SIT Select for her support for shiftWorks.


Please check the shiftWorks exhibition page for details of our current exhibitions.

shiftWorks funding logos


In concert with the Yeovil exhibition we will lead a set of workshops in educational establishments in South Somerset and on Saturdays in our exhibition space.  The workshops will be based around the shift dress and the textile techniques used in the project with the aim of encouraging creativity and collaboration in textiles.

What is a shift dress?

The shift dress is ‘a straight-lined basic dress of 1960s, hanging away from the body’[1].

[1] Totora, P. G. and Keiser, S.J., The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Fashion, 4th edition, Fairchild Books, London 2014

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