One of the first things I made last year was a Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress whilst on their Introduction to Dressmaking course (where I met the lovely Harriet of Sew Me Sunshine). I could actually make clothes fairly competently at that point but I wanted to make sure I was doing the basics properly and it seemed like a good thing to use my birthday money on!
Plus, a full weekend of sewing and socialising is never to be sniffed at. We made a circle skirt which involved so much hemming that I wanted to just leave it partially unhemmed at one point, and then the shift dress on day 2. Now of course I'm tall at 5'10" so I had to add 4" to the pattern to have it a reasonable length but thankfully that was really easy to do. I find the fit to be a little boxy on me as I have wide hips and a reasonably large chest but I do have a smallish waist. The shift dress obviously doesn't pull you in at the waist, so I lose the hourglass shape completely. I could get around that easily by adding a belt but then I'd need to add a couple more inches to the length to stop that pulling the dress up.
Because I was a little more experienced than some of the other ladies in the class, I took the time to sew neatly and even hemmed the edge with handstitching. It really does make a difference, I'd highly recommend taking the time to do it! I made my dress with some gorgeous Atelier Brunette Twist Dark Blue and I'm really pleased with the results. It's a great dress for when I'm teaching as it's comfortable and doesn't show any cleavage when I'm bending over desks. I just need to make another a little longer and with a belt!