Shirred Summer Dress Tutorial

 Hey peeps!
I am really excited to share this Shirred Summer Dress tutorial with you.  
It is truly the easiest dress to make!  
My Mom and I created over twenty of these ~ check out more variations here.  
And for my original post on UCreate go here.
March 2012 346   This is my adorable niece, B.March 2012 345She’s wearing a size 4 {I have instructions for a size 4 and a size 6 dress}.
Ready to sew?
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1.  Choose your fabric. 
Lightweight cotton blends work best.  You will need about 1/2 yard to 1 yard depending on the size of dress you are making.  Be sure to wash and dry your fabric ahead of time to pre-shrink it. 
For a size 4 {21 inch circumference at the chest}, use the following measurements:
Main fabric ~ 31 inches x 17 inches
Accent fabric ~ 31 inches x 5 inches
Ties/straps {cut four pieces} ~ 8 inches x 2 1/2 inches
For a size 6 {23 inch circumference at the chest}, use the following measurements:
Main fabric ~ 33 inches x 22 inches
Accent fabric ~ 33 inches x 6 inches
Ties {cut four pieces} ~ 8 inches x 2 1/2 inches 
For other sizes, measure the child’s circumference at the chest and add 10 inches.  Then create it as long as you want.
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2. Cut the fabric to size. 
At this point you may want to serge all of the edges of the fabric.  You can also double fold and sew the fabric or use a zig zag stitch on the edges to prevent them from fraying.
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3.  Place the main fabric and accent fabric right sides together.   Pin. March 2012 306 
4.  Sew the two pieces together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
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5.  Fold and iron the top of the main fabric using a 1/4″ fold.  Pin.  Sew into place.  Fold and iron the bottom of the accent piece of fabric using a 1/2″ fold.  Pin.  Sew into place.  March 2012 309
6.  Line up the raw edges of the fabric, right sides facing.  Pin into place.  Be sure to line up the seam where your main and accent fabric meets. 
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7.  Sew together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  I alternate between using a zig zag stitch and folding my material to prevent it from fraying.  No need for a serger! March 2012 313 
8.  Turn the material right sides out.  Now you have a tube of fabric.  For an even easier version, cut a longer piece of fabric, skip adding the accent piece and simply sew together a tube of fabric.
March 2012 3159.   Now the fun part.  Shirring!  Begin by hand winding elastic thread around a bobbin.  I found elastic thread in the notions section of our local fabric store.  Using a machine to wind the bobbin will cause the elastic thread to be stretched too tightly and it will just rebound out of the bobbin.  Place the bobbin into the sewing machine as usual and thread the all purpose thread through the top of the sewing machine as usual.
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10.  Begin sewing at the seam of the tube and a little over 1/4″ from the top of the tube.  Sew all the way around the tube of fabric in a straight line.  Use a regular straight stitch.  Sew from the right side of the fabric so that the elastic thread is on the wrong side of the fabric March 2012 317 
11.  Repeat these rows of shirring, about 1/2″ apart, 8 to 10 times depending on how long you want the bodice to be. 
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12.  When the shirring is complete hit it with some steam from an iron.  This causes the elastic thread to shrink.  
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13.  Now you will need four pieces of coordinating fabric to create shoulder ties.  Having the dress tie at the top makes it super adjustable!
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14.  Right sides facing, sew the fabric together lengthwise using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Sew one end of each strap closed as well.   Use a Quick Turn kit to quickly invert each strap so that right sides are out. March 2012 326 
15.  Iron the straps flat. March 2012 331
16.  Pin the straps into place {about 4″ apart}. March 2012 333     
17.  Sew the straps to the top of the dress.

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Ta da!

Easy right?!

March 2012 353Would you let me know if you make one?  
I would love to see it!!
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1 Comment

  1. Kristin says

    This looks awesome! I have a question though. I tried to do some shirring on a skirt waistband last week and my elastic thread didn’t lay flat like yours did. It’s a wavy pattern. Do you think I don’t have my elastic loose enough on the bobbin? Thanks for sharing =)

    Visiting from Sugar Bee Crafts

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