Monday, May 10, 2010

Tutorial: The Shirred Dress

A few weeks ago, I did a guest post over at A Little Knick Knack.  Meg was such a gracious hostess to me and my little project:
Let’s get shirring!
Let me start by saying that I purchased three spools of elastic thread last summer and they have sat unused since.  I have no idea why, but I was so intimidated by it!  I found this tutorial and with warm weather approaching in Ohio, I knew it was time to get to work.
I started out by taking my daughter’s chest and length measurements and cut my fabric, adding about 5 inches to the width.  I sewed one seam down the side.  Following the steps in the tutorial, I began sewing rows of elastic, creating the shirred effect.  For the first row, I drew a straight line with chalk for a guide.  For each additional row, I followed the previous one.
Here’s the outside of the dress.
And the inside.
I continued sewing until I had completed 12 rows.  I followed the instructions on the tutorial to tie off each row of elastic.
Next I cut 4 strips of coordinating fabric 2.5x12 inches.  You can make these much wider if you want thicker straps for your dress.  Rotary cutters are great for this type of thing.  I just bought my first one this year and I heart it.  I can’t believe I ever sewed without it!
I folded and pressed about 1/4 inch on each side, folded in half and pressed again.  
I then sewed down the left side of each, creating four straps.
Next, I attached the straps to the dress. 

Now comes the fun part!  l cut a piece of the coordinating fabric 3.5x26 inches (the chest measurement plus 6 inches) and sewed a  1/4 inch hem down one side.  (For more pouf in your bottom ruffle, simply make this piece longer.) Then I sewed a nice wide basting stitch down the opposite side and gathered the entire thing into a ruffle.  You could also use your ruffler presser foot to create the ruffle. 

Then I sewed the two end pieces, right sides together, to make one large circle of ruffle.
The next step is not difficult, just tricky to show in a picture.  Taking the right side of ruffle, I lined up the basting stitch along the right side of the bottom of the dress and pinned it in place.  You may have to adjust the gathering in your ruffle to make it even all the way around the dress.
Then I sewed it in place, making sure to stay to the left of the basting stitch, so that it didn’t show when I turned the ruffle out.
Super cute and really easy!
I'm linked up with:


  1. You make it sound so easy! I'll have to find that elastic I bought and never used...

    Just popped over from The Girl Creative...

  2. That is such an adorable little girl's dress! Girls must be so fun to craft for!

    Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skill party!

  3. thanks for linking - great job! I just used elastic thread myself (I'll blog about it tomorrow) - Mandy,

  4. Hi..I’m Barb….I am from Tip Junkie.. I am your newest follower. I hope you will get a chance to visit my blog @
    & get inspired by something for your family/home. I hope you will follow me as well. Nice to meet ya new friend!!!

  5. That is SUPER cute! I love it!

  6. That is so cute! I love the shirring! You did a great job!