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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shirred Sundress with Bow

Wow summer is so so busy and flying right by, we have a summer bucket list going.  One of the things on my list was to make some matching sundresses for my girls,  yep I am one of those people that doesn't mind being matchy, matchy.  In fact on little girls it is probably one of my most favorite things and  I have to take advantage of this time when they aren't embarrassed so....

I saw these dresses on Ashley's blog over at, she is amazing. These little dresses went together so quickly and didn't overwhelm me at all and that's saying somethin cause I have four kids eight and under...yeah these dresses are super easy!

The bow in the back is nice and fluffy and also serves a purpose in keeping the dress right where it needs to be.

Awww they look so pleasant and they actually didn't fight at all during their photo shoot...major accomplishment! 

Like I mentioned before something about the matchy, matchy dresses just makes me giddy.

They are also very dresses, church dresses, swimsuit cover ups...whatever you want dresses.

If you're interested in making some for yourself click on read more for the tutorial

I bought two yards of my patterned fabric and still had plenty left over.  Depending on the size of your subject you can easily get one dress out of a yard of fabric.

Cut your fabric 1 1/2 to 2 times the chest measurement, you want the dress to be full enough but not so full that the shirring won't cinch snug around the chest.  

Hem one edge of your fabric, I just kind of eye ball it folding over the fabric and ironing as I go.  Fold it over twice.  Do this to the bottom of your dress as well, I did a narrow hem for the top and wide for the bottom.

Now sew your fold down with a straight stitch.

 Fold the fabric in half, right sides together with your hem at the top and sew.(sorry, no picture for this)

Now we are ready for some shirring, which looks like smocking but is super easy.  You will need some elastic thread that looks like this.  You can find it at most fabric stores.

For the shirring the elastic thread will be in your bobbin and regular thread on top like normal.  The elastic thread has to be wound onto the bobbin by hand, which doesn't take long at all.  You don't want it to be tight or loose just in between.

Load into your machine like usual, I did bring the elastic thread up by hand rather than letting my machine do it for me.

The stitch used for shirring is a regular straight stitch set at the longest length.  (this is what works for my machine but may need to be adjusted) Start shirring right on the top of your hem stitch, being sure to back stitch to knot your thread or you could tie it by hand.

For the next row line the outside edge of your foot up with your last row of stitches, I have found this to be the perfect spacing.... of course you could adjust it to your liking.

 You may not notice it bunching up until about your second or third row of stitches.  On my first dress I cut my threads after each row and then moved to the next, on the second dress I just sewed in a spiral all the way to the end and it worked just fine and went a lot more quickly.

 Be sure and kinda pull your fabric flat as you go...this is what makes it bunch up. 
I did about 18 to 20 rows for my dresses, a dress for a baby or toddler would only need about 8 to 10

Once you're finished shirring all you need are some straps and loops to hold the straps.  
For the loops cut a rectangle of fabric that is about an 1 1/4" by 6".  Fold in half right sides together and turn.

 To turn a tube of fabric I use a safety pin hook it through one side of your tube and close.

Turn it into the tube

 And start cinching your fabric along the safety pin until it reaches the opening.

That's it now pull it all the way through and iron flat.

The straps will be done basically the same way but bigger.  I cut two strips of fabric 45" by 4".  Fold in half right sides together sew and turn right side out.
You'll want to finish the ends of the straps by tucking them in and sewing.

I had my little girl put the dress on so I could get the right placement and pinned the straps and loops on.

Pin the loops on like this

 Now sew two straight lines through the strap to secure it.

And do the same for the loops.

Trim all your threads and that's it enjoy your new sundress.
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