Introduction: Shirred Summer Dress

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Learn how to add shirring to an easy to make summer dress to keep you looking stylish and keep you cool all summer long~

Step 1: Materials

Here's what you need:
-Cotton fabric (the length that you want your dress + approximately 4" for hems)
-regular thread, elastic thread, wooly nylon thread
-sewing machine

Step 2: Top Hem

Before you do anything you need to pull out your manual for your machine to learn how to do a rolled hem.  I used my serger and added wooly nylon thread to the upper looper.

Step 3:

Every machine does this differently so I'm not going to get into settings and plates and all that, just take a look at your machine manual and it will tell you all you need to know.

If you don't want to venture into rolled hem land, just do a regular narrow hem along one end of your fabric.

Step 4: Winding the Bobbin

Hand wind your bobbin with your elastic thread, pulling just slightly as you wind.

Step 5: Threading the Machine

Place your bobbin in your machine as usual.  If you have a quilting arm, insert that now to help you to space your rows of shirring evenly.

Step 6: Shirring

Once you're all set up you can start sewing straight lines of stitching, 1/2" apart to create the bodice of your dress.

Step 7:

As you go along your fabric should start to gather itself up and look like this:

Step 8:

Now, if you're more voluptuous and curvy than I am, you might be able to leave the stitching as is.  If you're more on the petite side, then we'll have to do an extra step.  Pull your threads along one side until your fabric width measures somewhere in the following ranges:

Small: 16-19"
Medium: 20-23"
Large: 24-29"

In all likelihood, you had some lines of elastic stitching that started or stopped in the middle of your line.  That's OK.  Just pull from the start of the stitching, making sure to knot it when you're done.

WARNING: Do not get carried away and pull your stitching way, way, way too maybe I did.  Also, don't start pulling your threads until you've finished sewing ALL of your lines.  If you do, continuing to add lines will become more and more challenging....again, I may have learned this the hard way.  Come one, gathering is fun though right?  It's easy to lose control~

Also...DO NOT CUT your elastic bobbin thread until you are absolutely sure your bodice is going to fit around your body.  Yeah, yeah, OK, add that to my list of learnings from this project that I got the hard way.

Step 9: Creating the Dress

OK, now that you've not done all the things I did, and you're absolutely sure that your fabric will fit around your chest area, you can sew a seam down the open edge of your fabric.  This will be the back or side seam, depending on how you decide to wear it.

Make sure to leave an opening from about the knee area down (unless you're going for something ultra sexy and then you can go as high as you want).  If you don't leave an opening, it may be difficult to walk in this dress, and you may end up looking a bit like a well dressed up penguin...and that's just not so attractive in the middle of summer~

Step 10: Bottom Hem

Last step, hem the bottom to fit your body