The Time Has Come

As some of you have guessed, I am not going to be re-opening Wear the Shift any time soon. I have loved making so many cute dresses for all you hot and thoughtful ladies, but I just don't have the time to do it properly. So, no more shifts for sale. At least not right now :(

BUT! If you have ordered a shift from me in the past, and you want a copy of your pattern, you can order one here. I'm only going to keep this link active for a few days, because I'd like to draw a line under Wear the Shift in the next few weeks. And I won't be drafting new patterns -- this deal is only on offer for folks who've ordered dresses before. But I want you to have all the cute custom-fit dresses you want, even if I can't sew them for you.

If you decide to order, I'll send you a copy of your shift pattern (and your slip pattern, if you bought a slip from me) as well as instructions on how to put the dress together. It's a good beginner sewing pattern, and it's also an easy thing for any experienced stitcher to sew for you.

I want to thank you, so much, for your support over the last few years. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed meeting you lovely people and putting you in cute dresses that make you feel good about yourselves! My ultimate goal of overthrowing mass-produced ill-fitting fashions in favor of bright green, custom-made dresses has not yet been realized, but there are folks working on it. I have a few more ideas up my sleeve, too, and it's possible that I may yet get the opportunity to flesh them out.

Either way, the whole project has been amazing, and I can't really put into words how much I appreciate your faith in me. I may continue to update this blog with fashion rants and sewing projects, but you can keep up with what I'm doing and thinking a little more often over at Be Less Crazy and The Hairpin.

Peace, love, and cute dresses to us all, Madge

I Wrote A Book!!!! Also, Bribery!

And it is out TODAY!!! I hope you like it! If you do, will you tell me? And maybe leave a review on Amazon? I'm giving 20% off your next WTS order to everyone who leaves a review in the next week! What? Yes, bribery!!

Woo hoo! Let me know what you think!

(Also you should know that you don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books -- check out these apps for reading on your computer, phone, or tablet.)


Best Week of the Year

I love the week between Christmas and New Years!

You got your new presents to play with, plenty of leftovers to eat, and it's also my birthday! Everyone thinks I probably get shafted on presents being born so close to Christmas, but I've never found that to be the case ... plus I never have to go to work or school. I think this year we're going to see the Muppet movie and maybe to get some sushi. Can't wait.

In the meantime, you should know a few things:

1) I am obsessed with shifts. Okay, you already knew that. But I started a board on Pinterest to collect all the cute ones I see in my daily perusal of the entire internet. Check it out and if you spot any unmissable shifts, can you let me know at info at weartheshift dot com? Because I love them, you see.

2) I've been going through my fabric stash, and I'm sick of looking at a bunch of it. Consequently, get those clicking fingers ready for a sale tomorrow.

That is all -- I'm off to drink another cup of tea! Hope your last week of 2011 is fan-freakin-tastic! MWAH!

Happy Birthday To Us! And A Christmas Wish for a Very Special Nerd -- Can You Please Help?

It was one year ago today that Wear the Shift was born -- we launched our Kickstarter project on Dec 9th, 2010, and by Dec 10th, the major 2 levels were sold out. I remember sitting at Kelly's with Kelly, drinking a celebratory cocktail or 10 ...  giggling uncontrollably ... and being a little overwhelmed in the best possible way. Since then, we've made a couple hundred garments, moved our studio three times (yikes!), and gone from a two-person shop to a one-lady show.

I can't believe how much I've learned and how many super wonderful and adorable people I've been lucky enough to dress. Personally, it's been one of the most gratifying and educational years of my life. I am totally living my dream here, and I can't thank you enough for being interested in a new kind of fashion and helping me build it.

What's next for Wear the Shift is the most exciting thing of all: TOTAL AUTOMATION.

Right now, our algorithm spits out a pattern that's about 80% complete; there's still a bit of work for me to do by hand to finish it up. But my goal is for you to be able to go on the website, purchase a pattern, put in your measurements, and download it on the spot.

I have a lot of experience in software development, and I can see the whole thing in detail in my head, but I sadly lack the skillz to implement it myself.

So my Christmas wish this year -- and I'm hoping maybe you can help me? -- is to hook up with a special nerd who can get us to full automation. Once I'm not needed to finish each and every pattern, WtS be able to grow so fast and offer you so many more styles and garments ... there's really no limit to what we can build! This is the all-important next step.

Do you know anyone who is good with math, interested in clothes, and capable of thinking/coding in 3D? If so, can you please connect us? There will be rewards for fruitful hookups for sure! I will be more than happy to talk to anyone who is interested!

All I want for Christmas is a programmer. Thanks so much for any help you can give me in finding one!

Clutches Are Coming! And Last Day For 10% Off Sale!

Just a quick note today to let you know about a few things: 1) Today is the last day of our wee Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale -- enter SHIFTYGOODNESS to get 10% off everything, including gift certificates!

2) I made clutches this weekend! And they are so much fun -- folded over, they are just the right size to stash your wallet, phone, and keys ... unfolded they will fit all that plus your iPad, too! Just a few tiny details to hammer out, and they will be in the shop -- hopefully for Thursday.

All 3 prototypes:



What do you think?

What Should We Make Next?

Hi folks! My wardrobe staples are skirts and tank tops (and cardigans & jackets when it’s cold). Easy peasy, done. So, I’ve been working on a couple of these staple items for Wear the Shift, and we are trying to decide which to pursue next.

Our process generally works like this:

  1. I make something cool for myself.
  2. Madge says, "Want."
  3. I figure out how to make one for her.
  4. We collaborate on the techy/mathy side and come up with a pattern generation algorithm that works for both of us.
  5. We rope in our friends and make them stuff to test and perfect the algorithm. The goal is to ensure that it works for a bunch of differently shaped folks.
  6. When things are fitting well, we launch a beta test to work out even more kinks.

Right now, these 3 pieces are hovering between steps 1 & 3. It takes a good amount of time and resources to get them to the beta phase, so we need to choose one to move forward with first. Can you help?

Check out the choices and vote at the bottom!

We anticipate offering each of these options in both vintage and eco-friendly fabrics, and at a variety of price points, so let us know if there are any features you'd like to see in the comments.

The Skirt

Try to ignore for a moment how short this skirt is, because we'd offer this style in a variety of lengths. We think this style is great for just about every body. Zippered, woven A-line skirt with retro-modern crescent patch pockets and a pair of adorable booty pleats. Anticipated price range: $89-159.

The Blouse

This is an easy-to-wear loose-fitting tank top with cute neckline pleats and gentle waist shaping. I love pairing neutral bottoms with a print top...and topping it with a colorful cardigan. It's a super easy way to look colorful and pulled together. (Okay, my coral skirt may stretch your definition of neutral). Anticipated price range: $49-99.

The Tap Pant

These are so wonderful under skirts (slippery vintage nylon keeps your tights from grabbing your skirt). And as sleepwear. And these would be *fantastic* in a wool-cotton blend or thermal cotton for keeping warm in the fall/winter. Anticipated price range: $39-59.

Please vote! And we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

xo, Kelly

Bye bye PayPal, Hello Etsy

So, Wednesday was fun! We launched our beta skirts and, at the exact same time, our PayPal integration started working on only about 20% of our orders! Woo hoo! We have been working on this problem ever since with limited success -- since we didn't change anything in the way we accessed PayPal, we are kind of at a loss as to why it's suddenly failing. We appreciate you guys being willing to bear with us through this, but it's clear that our current process is not sustainable.

How to solve the problem when it doesn't appear to be in our sphere of influence? Switch to Etsy and let them handle it!

So, this holiday weekend, Kelly and I will be declaring our independence from PayPal and moving our shop over to Etsy. When we unveil the finished product, it will look different from the site we have now, but it will, you actually allow you to BUY STUFF, which is the most important thing.

To start, we've listed our last 3 beta skirts on Etsy, so if you want to get in on the beta test, you can do so HERE.

Thanks again for hanging with us through our growing pains. We love you!

This week: Skype with us about your shift!

We've heard from a few customers that, although they love the idea of what we're doing, they are a little overwhelmed when it comes to picking a fabric, taking measurements, etc. It's true that this is not a typical shopping experience! And although we think it's much better than trial and error in a poorly lit dressing room, we know that we want to get better at guiding you through our process.

So this week, we're experimenting with something new. Any items purchased this week will come with a Skype chat with one of us, so we can talk you through the process. We will help you:

* choose a fabric that works with your body shape * take your measurements accurately for a great fit * come up with some styling ideas to use your shift in your wardrobe

Go ahead and pick any fabric you like -- if you decide to switch it when we talk, we can take care of that for you. Once we receive your order, we will contact you to schedule a time to chat.

Fun right? Let us know what you think!

Come see us tonight at GA/GI!

Heading down to the Geek Arts/Green Innovators festival on Penn Avenue tonight? Come by the ground floor of the Glass Lofts (i.e., the massive lime green building near the corner of Penn and Fairmount) and say hi to us! We'll have lots of fabrics for you to check out and lots of ideas on how we can dress ourselves with more creativity and less waste. Look for the bicycling robot and the Gigapanorama -- we will be inside along with Jessica Rutherford's beautiful jewelry, Don Jones' robotic cuties, and several other artists displaying their fabulous wares.

Hope to see you there!


And the winner is ...

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the giveaway! Thanks to your efforts we got about a bajillion new visitors to our site! The big winner is ...

BRANDI LEMBURG! Congrats, Brandi! We'll be in touch later today with details on claiming your prize.
Thanks again to all y'all for helping us get the ball rolling. We appreciate your support and your ideas more than we can say. <3 <3 <3

We are officially open for business! And we're giving away a dress!

Yes, today is the day! You can finally place an order for a shift or slip of your very own! And we have lots of great new fabrics like this one, The Purple One. You can see all our new slips and shifts in the shop. We're trying to spread the word, and we're bribing you to help by giving away a shift! For real!

Here's how it will work. Tell your friends about us on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, whatever you're into, then come back here and leave a comment letting us know what you did. On Friday, Kelly and I will choose one commenter at random to receive an adorable custom-made shift at absolutely no charge.

So get to it, ladies and gents. And thanks, as always, for your kind support.

Pre-order week: New dresses, new measurements, and a video!

As of today, the beta test is officially over. Thank you SO MUCH to our lovely guinea pigs -- through making your dresses and listening to your feedback, we've been able to learn a ton about how to make a cute and beautifully-fitting dress. There are still some beta testers we haven't heard feedback from -- if that's you, please do share your thoughts with us! And we still have a few dresses to get out which should make it out the door this week.

In the meantime, onward and upward to pre-orders! This week, the Kickstarter backers who chose the pre-order option have the run of the site. And we added a bunch of awesome new fabrics for you to choose from. Like the one at left!!!! You can see all the new dresses here.

We've also spent a bit of time revamping our pages on How to Order and How to Measure to make them more clear. And we made a little video to help guide you through the measuring process.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the updates. And mark your calendar, because everyone can order shifts starting next week!!

How the beta test is going so far

It's been about 2 weeks since we launched Wear the Shift in beta -- 2 very busy, slightly nerve-wracking, and strangely fun weeks. About half of the beta test orders are in, and all of those are in production. We will we sending out the first batch in just a few days! Of course, there have been some blerps -- exactly the kind of stuff we hoped to run into during the beta test, so we could learn how to deal with it.

As things crop up, my tendency is to freak out -- what if we run into a problem we can't solve? The stakes feel high! I know we're just making dresses, but they are dresses that I love. It surprises me how much I want to see them out there, bringing cuteness to the people. So I really, really want to make it work, and so does Kelly.

The funny thing is, we're not freaking out. Instead we've been seeing everything as a chance to learn. Thanks to the infusion of cash, enthusiasm, and ideas from our Kickstarter backers, we have a little time to work out all the little logistical stuff. Which is amazingly helpful, and for which we are super grateful.

What kinds of things are we learning? What people are attracted to fabric-wise. How to organize the way we do our work. How to get folks the information they need to get the dress they want. Who to buy zippers from. How to photograph fabrics so you get a sense of what they'll be like in person. Every day we go home with brains full of stuff to digest and ideas to try.

So ... the test is going exactly as we hoped it would. Experience points. We like it!

Gearing Up!

This has become quite the adventure...learning, trying, thinking...and I think we're honing in on where we need to be to launch on time.  I'm so heartened by the response we've received. I'm not a web developer, and am relying on the generous support of my web developing partner, Dean, to get built.  I assure you that your information is safe on our site.  Unfortunately, we may still be working out the nits and squiggles of the design.  Please bear with us while we grow.

xo, Kelly