Simple Shirred Dress

Now that spring is here (here in Colorado, we had a teaser spring and then 2 days of snow! in MAY!!!), time to get the sundresses out. And finally step out in what you wear at home and not add on all those layers! So time to make some dresses.

I am starting this season with a very simple sundress. Remember when I said I am shir-crazy now....I meant it. Here is the how-to for a simple shirred dress.

If you need help shirring, refer to one of the tutorials below, depending on the type of machine you have.

Read on for the step-by-step on the dress making...

For the body, you need a rectangular piece of fabric.

Width: Chest circumference X 2 
Length: Desired height of dress from top of chest + 1.25" (for bottom hem) + 3/4"" for top hem

We cut twice the chest circumference because shirring reduces the width by half.

For the straps, 2 strips measuring 2" X 10"

Double fold the top hem. The first fold about 1/4" and the second fold not more than 1/2".

Top stitch.

Double fold and iron the bottom hem as well. But you can make this a little wider, depending on the hem allowance. I allotted 1/4" for the first fold and 1" for the second fold.

Now get your machine ready for shirring by loading the elastic thread in the bobbin. Refer to the tutorials linked above if you need help with shirring.

Make the first shirring stitch along the top hem. For the second and subsequent lines of shirring, you can draw guide lines on the fabric with erasable fabric marker. I used the presser foot as a width guide.

For Big Sister's dress, I added 10 lines of shirring and for Little One's I added 8 lines.

Once you finish all the lines of shirring, iron on top of the fabric to bring the elastic together and even. And bring your machine back to normal stitch mode!

Don't cut off the excess ends of elastic yet. Bring the shirred ends together, the good sides facing each other.

And finish the seam.

Double stitch the seam, then cut off the elastic. I also zig-zagged the edges.

For a cleaner finish, fold in the seam towards one side and top stitch. Repeat the same for the bottom hem as well.

For the straps,  fold in the strip of fabric along both the lengths about 1/2".

Fold over once more in half and top stitch.  (You can also use double fold bias tape, like I did here)

Attach one end of each of the straps to the dress along the top hem line/ first shirred line. Do not stretch the elastic when you stitch the straps. (You  can choose to keep the seam along the center of the back or to one side. Where you place the straps will determine that.)

Before you stitch the other end of the strap, wear the dress on the person you are stitching it for, and mark the desired strap length.  I add about 1.5" to this length and hide it by folding it in. This is so that the dress can grow an inch or so along with the girls. All I have to do is use my buddy the seam ripper and re-stitch the strap to give some height.

Note: While stitching the straps, make sure you stitch back and forth a couple of times for added strength. If you want a wider strap, you can cut accordingly wider strips of fabric.

There you have it. The dress took about 30 minutes from start to finish. Nothing fancy as long as you have the shirring part down.

Happy sewing!

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