Saturday, May 1, 2010
"In the Garden" Shirred Twirly Dress
Many times I want to sew something but am too lazy to trace and cut a pattern. This dress is the result of one of those times and I love how it came out. It is full and twirly and easy to sew. This dress is essentially made out of rectangles of fabric. Perfect for summer and can be made in any size! I'm also going to give you instructions for three different strap options. Keep reading and I will give you the scoop! Wondering where the shirring is....
Let's get started!
Measurements and Pieces:
Front BodiceFirst you need to know you will be cutting pieces for the front of your bodice and the back of your bodice. The first thing you need to decide is how wide you would like your bodice to be. My daughter is 4 1/2 and the bodice on this dress I wanted to be 4 inches tall. This may be perfect for you or you may want to make it smaller for a toddler or slightly taller for an older child. Whatever you decide add 0.5 inches to this measurement for seam allowances. Now lets determine the length of your front bodice. Measure your child all the way around their chest. My daughter's measurement is 23 inches. Now measure around the chest from armpit to armpit (including the sides of their body) just leaving off their back. For my daughter this measurement is 13 inches. This will be the lenght of the front bodice but we need to add 1 inch for seam allowances.
So, I will cut 2 (the front bodice is lined) pieces 4.5 inches X 14 inches
For the back section of the bodice we will be cutting one piece. Remember your chest measurement (mine was 23 inches) and remember the front/sides of chest measurement (mine was 13 inches)? take the difference (for me this is 10 inches) and multiply this by 1.75. If your machine does not do tight shirring multiply by 1.5. So for me this is 10X1.75= 17.5 inches. This will be the length of the piece we need to cut. For the height it will be your front bodice height + another .25 inches.
I will cut 1 piece 4.75 inches X 17.5 inches
Measure your child from the top of their chest (where you want the top of the bodice to sit) down to where you want the bottom of the skirt to fall. For me, this measurement was 21 inches. Now subtract what will be the finished height of your bodice (remember for me this is 4 inches). So my skirt portion will then be 17 inches. I want my skirt to have a hem band in a contrasting fabric though. I have decided I want this 3 inches. So, 17-3= 14 inches + 0.5 inches for seam allowances.
For my main skirt I will cut 2 pieces 14.5 inches X the full width of the fabric (I want a very full skirt)
For the contrasting band I am going to cut 2 pieces 6.5 inches X the full width of the fabric (we will be folding this in falf to create a 3 inch hem band that we will not need to hem).
Now all we have left to cut are the straps. I am going to show you three different options.
1. Tie back Option
Strap thickness is personal preference. I wanted my straps 1 inch wide. Whatever you choose, double this measurement and add 0.5 inches for seam allowances.
I cut one long strip 2.5 inches X fabric width. I then cut the long strip in half to create two strap pieces that measured approx 2.5 inches X 21 inches.
2. Thicker Non Adjustable Strap Option
Let's pretend you only see my nice photoshopped in red straps!
You will need to measure your child from where you want the top of the bodice to fall on their chest, up over their shoulder, stopping on their back at the same spot you started the measurement. Add 0.5 inches for seam allowance. Whatever you would like your thickness to be multiply by two and add 0.5 inches. You will need to cut two straps!
3. Tie Shoulder Option
This is a nice adjustable option as well and no need to measure your child. You will need to cut 4 straps and you will want them fairly long. I would cut them at least 12 inches long. They will also be easier to tie if they are on the thinner side. For width I would go no wider than 0.75 inches. Whatever you choose for width double this measurement. No need to add seam allowance.
Time to start sewing!
Let's work on our straps.
Option 1: Sew each strap in half right sides together lengthwise and sew down long edge and along one short edge. Clip corners on short sewn edge and turn right side out through open end.
Option 2: Sew each strap in half right sides together lengthwise leaving both ends open. Turn right side out and press.
Option 3: Press each strap in half lengthwise. Open up and press each edge inwards to the pressed line. Fold in half along pressed line enclosing raw edges. One one end of each strap press edges in about 1/4 inch
All options: Topstitch edges of straps. For options 1 & 3 you will also be topstitching one short edge.
Ruffle Jeans Tutorial.
hand wind the elastic thread onto your bobbin with a slight amount of stretch. Don't wind tight or loose, somwhere in between. I have to set my top tension to about 2.5. Sometimes I leave it normal and it works just fine.
There is no right or wrong to where you shir on the back of your bodice. I started my first line about 1/4 inch from the top. When you shir you sew on the right side of your fabric. Sew the full length of your bodice back. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and ending of your stitching to secure your elastic thread.
For my buttonhole, I did one approx 3/4 inch and placed it directly in the middle of my bodice.
After you are done your shirring it may not look tight. Take it to your ironing board and steam iron over top and it will shrink up to what it looks like here.
If you have chosen option 2 and 3 for straps now is the time to try your dress on the child and measure strap placement for the other side of your straps (option 2) or where to add your last two straps (option 3). Pin and sew them in place. Don't worry about your sewing lines as the shirring will help to hide that.
My poor sweetpea here has a squinty look. We had a Webkinz accident. My two girls were throwing one from bed to bed (as they were supposed to be sleeping) and the plastic code thing hit my girly straight in the eye. She got a little scratch on the white part of her eye. :( I guess they should listen to me and go to sleep! Maybe that should be the subject of another post!
If you make this dress, you know I would love to see it! If you upload it to our Flickr Group it will also show up on the Flickr stream to the right of this blog post!
I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend. If you like this dress, show me some love, this tutorial took me forever!! :) The dress was fast and easy but uploading all of these photos was painful!