Posted by burntmuffin on 24th January 2010

The Shirred Dress

It was 2 am on Sunday the 24th of January.

I was shirring the bodice of a dress for my little girl for the 3rd time. I am thinking, “One day, I’m going to tell her what I went through to make her this dress and she will not believe me”.

So, a bit of documentation is in order.

A bit of background:

Having never made a dress before, I decided it would be cheaper to make her a dress from my stash of fabric than pay $50 for one from the local kids’ clothing stores.

It’s easy, right?

A search on the internet revealed that I could make a shirred dress without using a pattern.

She picked a pretty pink checked fabric. Cool, I have sewing guide-lines.

Back to the shirring:

Instructions on the sites I visited said not to wind the elastic tight on the bobbin. So I didn’t.

My thread tension was too tight the first time, I couldn’t pull at the elastic to gather the fabric (I thought you did that). I had sewn 7 rows, and ended up having to unpick the lot.

I loosened the thread tension the second time round. I could pull the elastic to gather the fabric, but it was an unsightly mess.

I contemplated binning the idea of a shirred dress.

YouTube came to the rescue. Type in “how to shirr fabric” and then it clicked.

“Oh, wind the elastic tight on the bobbin. Oh, the fabric is supposed to gather as you sew.”

It was past midnight by then. But I knew that if I went to bed, I’d be tossing and turning, itching to finish the dress.

So, after unpicking the botched rows, I sewed 8 rows of shirring and then the straps.

I wanted to wake someone and say “YAY!”, but I was nice and didn’t.

It was after 3 am by the time I got into bed, but my brain was so chuffed that sleep was elusive for a time.

I deduced that I will definitely make a shirred item of clothing again.

Check out my related posts:

  1. The Birthday Party Dress
  2. The Bubble Dress and the Bucket Hat
  3. It’s spring… feels like summer though
  4. Singlets for winter – Part 1
  5. Singlets for winter – Part 2

    4 Responses

  1. Cara says:

    Bring on the good ideas!!!! I’m really trying to get some good ideas where I can keep my 2.5 yr old busy once number 2 comes along. What about fun baking to do where the kids can get involved. (Love the dress by the way).

  2. burntmuffin says:

    Ah… my first comment. :)
    Baking (real) is a fun idea – I don’t have the guts to try it with my toddler just yet.
    Pretend baking on the other hand… I just need to get some felt to make some felt food and ingredients. :)

  3. Pam says:

    If you think that was difficult… you should see what I’m going through. Apparently my sewing machine will automatically adjust the tension for different threads…which means it will NOT stretch the elastic thread the way it’s supposed to. So what does that mean?? I have to manually adjust the screw to tighten the tension on the bobbin casing… bad idea cause it will mess up regular thread tension. So I had to BUY a 2nd bobbin casing to adjust the tension so now i have 2 – one for elastic thread, one for regular…. It took me about 4 days to even figure out what was wrong… *Sigh* the stuff we do for our daughters.

  4. burntmuffin says:

    Oh yes.. the stuff we do for them. One day in the future, I’m sure we’ll look back, remember, and think “I am glad that I did all that”. :)

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