Friday, May 28, 2010

Shirr Madness

It’s the shabby chic shirred madness summer top!
Once I started shirring, I couldn’t stop.  It’s just so easy and turns out so stinkin’ cute! 
Here’s how I made a cute summer top for my daughter out of a shirt I had in my closet:
(Don’t be alarmed at the difference in colors of the shirts.  I did not dye anything.  I just worked on this a little bit at a time, and photos were taken at different times of day, when the lighting in my craft room was either great or nonexistent.)
Cut the top of the shirt off, right below the armscye (that’s a fancy schmancy word for arm hole.)
Set the top piece aside, as we will be working with the bottom so that we can use the existing hem.  I’m all about little shortcuts.
If you have a serger, serge away at the edge that you just cut.  If you don’t have a serger, you can fold the edge over and run a zigzag stitch around the entire length.
Now get your machine ready for shirring.  There are some great tutorials out there such as this.  You can also check out my other shirred project.
I did 12 rows of shirring and then my favorite part: blasting it with a steamy iron and watching the elastic crunch up tight.  Don’t worry - it will stretch nicely back into shape.
Now get the top portion of the shirt and cut off those armscyes.
Now we’re going to make the strap for the shirt.  I cut two strips that were each 2 inches wide.
So, now you have four strips of fabric (two from the front, two from the back of the shirt.)  Sew the right sides together to create one long strip.
Take the long strip of fabric, fold it in half longways and right sides together and sew.
Finish off one end of the strip and leave the other open so that you can turn it right side out.
You can use a dow rod or a safety pin to scoot the fabric around to turn the tube right side out.
I decided that I wanted my strap to be thinner, so I folded it in half and sewed again.  You can skip this step if you are happy with the width of your strap.107_4546 Next find the center of your strap and create a loop that looks like an awareness ribbon.

Find the center of the front of the shirt and stitch it in to place.  I did this by hand because I didn’t want to change the thread in my sewing machine (lazy) but you could easily run a few forward and back stitches over this by machine.107_4548 I decided that I wanted something shabby and chic for the front of the shirt so I made a fabric flower using the very few pieces that were left of the original shirt.
I cut out a variety of squares in all sizes.  I didn’t measure or cut straight lines – I just winged it!
107_4549   Fold each square into a triangle and then fold again to get the start of a flower form. 107_4550
Stitch the point at the bottom with a needle and thread.

Place each piece onto the shirt, one by one, and stitch.  I was very random and haphazard about where I placed them.  I wasn’t looking for a pattern or specific flow…
I also did nothing to prevent fraying.  With washing, the flower should begin to fray, creating more of a shabby look.
I continued placing pieces until I ran out of fabric and was happy with the flower.


  1. I so admire your talent. You have learned a lost art and you create amazing things.

  2. Great blog you have here! I host a link up party every Tuesday called Tot Tuesdays where you can link up crafts, activities, teaching resources, parenting stories or tips, recipes and things you’ve made for your toddler. I’d love it if you’d stop by sometime & link up!


  3. more thing I must make!!

  4. HELLO! That is so stinking cute! Link it up over at my place too! I want to try shirring so bad... Im afraid! This looks so easy though :)

  5. This is so stinkin cute and looks like something I might actually be able to make. Thanks for sharing the details!!

  6. This is amazing. I can't believe the before and after. Thanks for linking up to my linky party. I hope you'll come back next week too. Amazing!!!

  7. sew cute :) come on over and link up to making monday marvelous! happy memorial day!!

  8. I just featured this on my blog.


  9. Hey thanks for linking up at Sharing Time!
    It would be great if you could add our button.

    Such a cute top! I will have to give shirring a whirl!:)

  10. Wow! The before-and-after transformation is just amazing- I don't think I could ever do this...although I'd love to try. My daughter would look so cute in this:)
    Found you from All Thingz Related- have a great night!:)

  11. Wow! I love it. I like how it turned out, looks very professional :)

  12. LOVE IT! Thanks for the great tutorial and for linking up with Sugar & Spice.

  13. Adorable!! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

  14. Super cute! Love this and I think I want to make some for myself! Fantastic job and great tutorial. Thanks so much for joining The Sunday Showcase. I greatly appreciate it! Hope you are enjoying your week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  15. Im not that great at sewing...but she looks SO CUTE in her new shirt! Thanks for joining us for Anything Related! ~Bridgette

  16. Very cute! I like how you changed up and made the straps go to the center of the chest. Your little one is very cute! Glad I found your blog, you will have to come check mine out too at

  17. Very sweet top. I too, love the centered straps. I hope you'll stop by and link up to Make It Wear It @!

  18. I just got some elastic thread & have this on my list of to-dos. I like the flower idea too. Thanks for linking to Craftastic Monday:)

  19. You are amazing!!! It looks wonderful, and your daughter is adorable! Thank you for linking to It's Stinkin Cute Thursday!

  20. I included this in my Fun Feature Friday post today. ;)

  21. What a great project! Thanks for sharing with Sister Sister! Please link up to our party again!


  22. oh it's darling! Thanks for sharing with me. I love that flower on the front. the perfect touch!

  23. Ok girl you are AMAZING! I really want to learn how to shirr! You have definitely got me excited to give it a try! Thanks for linking up to Hoo's got talent!

  24. You're sewing skills a-MAZE me!!!

  25. I still can't get over how cute your daughter is!!! SO CUTE!
    Thanks for linking up with my very first "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" party, Tina! Hope to see you next week as well!

  26. You are very creative!! I look forward to following your blog to view all the new projects.