How to Make a Shirred Fabric Summer Dress





Introduction: How to Make a Shirred Fabric Summer Dress

This week a special SewingTips 101 will show you how to shirr fabric and create a cool new summer dress. So check out the videocheck out the video and get to work on some easy breezy summer clothes! For more DIY projects, subscribe to Threadbanger on iTunes!

For this project you will need:

Elastic thread
Regular Thread
A Sewing Machine

Step 1: Test It Out

For this dress you'll need to buy elastic thread and hand wind the elastic thread around the bobbin. Then put the bobbin in the machine and, using regular thread for the top, set your machine to a straight stitch with the longest length possible.I suggest first using a test strip for trying out shirring before you start on the actual garment. Make sure you lock your stitches and if the first row works, then create a few more rows at about half an inch apart. Use your presser foot as a guide.

Step 2: Make the Dress

Make a very simple rectangle pattern using the bust width and any desired length. Corinne measured from her armpit to two inches above the knee. Then iron the fabric and align your pattern to be parallel with crosswise grain of you fabric. Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut out the fabric. Repeat so you have two pieces. Place the front sides together and pin down one side. Using regular thread in the bobbin and a shorter stitch length, sew down the pinned side. Press your seam and sew down both sides of the seam. Next add a hem to the top and bottom of the garment.

Step 3: Finishing It Up

Put elastic thread bobbin back in you machine and do about 20 rows of shirring. Replace the elastic bobbin with regular thread, and sew the sides of the garment together. Press the seam and sew down both sides of the seam. For a center next strap cut out a long inch and half wide strip of fabric. Fold the long edges into the center and fold in half and sew around all the edges. Fold the center in half, as pictured, and sew together. Finally, sew the strap to the front top center of the garmen as a halter strap. And your new shirred summer dress is complete- enjoy!



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    how much fabric do you get

    How Much Fabric to Get

    The original poster is not answering questions. Though many were asked long ago, I am answering because it is a popular instructable and I have over 40 years of sewing experience.

    It all depends on how wide the fabric is and how big you are. If you want to use woven cotton fabric, and have a bust under 40", just buy the length of fabric that you want to dress to be in length, plus some extra for the straps. If you are plus and your bust is larger than the 45" width cotton fabric comes in, then you would need to buy twice the length you want the dress. BUT you don't want to use both full widths across of 45" or it will be way too big and bulky. Unless you have an 80" or so bust.

    Let's say you are a big beautiful woman and your bust is 55" and you want the dress to be 45" long. (I am 5' 4" and that is ankle length for me) A nice cotton fabric that's 44" or 45" wide will not fit around your bust (nor mine), so you must have TWO lengths of fabric, one for the front, one for the back of 45" wide fabric. to make a dress that will fit around your girls.

    Oh, I hear you thinking. Why can't I run the fabric sideways? It's best to not try and fudge and run the long length of the fabric around you sideways. Garments should be made up and down the long length of the fabric, the way it comes off the bolt unless the Zombie Apocalypse happens. The manner in which fabric is woven makes it hang all wrong when it is hung sideways on a body. It won't look good or right.

    So 45" length for the front, 45" length for the back, plus 4" for the four hems - a 1/2" one at the top and at the bottom (a double fold of 1/2" at the top and bottom of each of the two pieces means an inch gets used up at top and bottom of the front and of the back). (4 x 1" = 4"). Did that make sense? A half inch seam means that your fold over 1/2" of the raw fabric edge neatly, iron and fold 1/2" over again, iron flat, then sew it down. That's happening in four places.

    You won't be using the full width of each 45" piece across your body so we'll have plenty left over for whatever kind of straps you want to make. Fabric is sold by the yard, but can also cut in one long length with an additional increment of a partial yard if needed. We needed 94" of fabric. Fabric is almost never cut exactly straight across at some stores, so adding a little might not be a bad idea.

    94" is 14" less than 3 yards, so I would just go ahead and buy 3 yards. So any plus person with a bust over 40" or so wanting a 45" long dress needs 3 yards. Any person with a bust under 40" needs to buy whatever length of fabric they want the dress to be, plus maybe 4 inches more to have plenty for straps of whatever style you want. You CAN fudge most straps and cut them sideways on the fabric instead of lengthways if you are trying to be as economical as possible

    I've tried this but the elastic is always to tight. What am i doing wrong?

    Make sure you are using a long stitch length. Also do not stretch the elastic when you wind it on the bobbin. If you still have trouble, try searching with Google for shirring fabric on your brand and model. Some are finicky, but most work easily. You owner's manual may even tell you how to do it on your machine. You can find your manual online if you need to.

    How do you lock your thread? Our sewing machines never had that button of magic!

    She means to "backstitch". Start sewing forward a few stitches (as far as a half inch), and then put the machine in reverse to go back to the starting point at the edge of the fabric, then sew forward in the normal manner. The backward stitches go through the thread of the earlier stitches, locking them to the fabric so they cant be easily pulled out during wearing the garment or washing it. This does not work well with super thin fabrics as they will tear sometimes. It's done a bit slower than normal sewing to make sure you have full control of what's happening.

    The way to lock your stitch is to sew forward, then stop. Sew in reverse over top of your previous stitch and stop. Sew forward again. You can repeat that, but I only do it once or twice so the stitch still looks neat on the finished piece. If you don't know how to sew in reverse on your machine, just refer to the manual. My machine (it's a very basic Brother ) has a little switch on the front right side that you must hold down in order to sew in reverse, then let it go and it will sew forward again.

    ok my machiene does not allow me to put elastic thread in the bobbin and then through to the top of the machiene. What are my options?

    The bobbin thread is the one in the bottom of the machine. It does not go to the top.