Shirred Top Dress

This project was new territory for me, and it was a lot of fun.  After making the sleeveless pool wrap for Z, her mom was nice enough to buy these fabrics, ribbons, and thread from Walmart (yes, more dresses will be coming!) –

It was a challenge to find threads and ribbons that matched well, so if possible I’d recommend going to a store with more selection.  The ones we found are great, though!  Don’t worry about a perfect match, you won’t find one – just get as close as you can.

This tutorial is for the light blue fabric on the left.  As you can see the fabric for this dress came already shirred and hemmed so it was a big time saver.  However if you don’t want to spend the extra bucks, there’s a great tutorial here for DIY elastic shirring.

Whether you shir or not, this is a pretty simple project.  I would recommend getting some measurements from the child who will be wearing it: height, waist, chest, and mid-shoulder to mid-shoulder.  But if you’re not making it for anyone specific you can find size and measurement info online.

The first step is cutting the right width of fabric.  The waist measurement was about 19 inches, so I cut it 22 inches – leaving two inches to fold and hem the rough edges and an inch for growing space.  Once you’ve cut, measure one inch in from each side and mark (I use neon markers because it doesn’t show and it will wash out). Make sure you do this on the shirred part and not the skirt; the shir is slimmer.  Fold the edge over 1/2″, and another 1/2″, pin and sew – tada, rough edge is gone!  After doing that I also sewed the dress back shut, but you can wait if you like.

Now grab your ribbon and cut shoulder straps.  I cut them a little over 8″ long which left some growing room.  If you’re using a regular kind of ribbon, fold it over and hem it, hiding the rough edge.  However long you cut them, keep in mind that at least an inch on each end should be inside the dress, so don’t count those 2″ towards the length of your straps.  I also sewed on some snaps so that the straps can be shortened if they’re too long.

This picture shows three because that was my original plan, but I decided on two instead.  The snaps should be on the wrong side of the fabric, with the bottom one and the one above it being opposites.  Confused yet?  Don’t worry, I hate unclear directions so I took pictures.

See how they compliment each other?  The pink snaps in to the green, hiding them both.

Neat, right?  On a side note, you may want to sew the straps on first and then add the snaps, so that you can take the snaps off when you no longer need them.  Of course the snaps aren’t something you have to do, just an idea I went with.

Now comes strap placement, because I know this can be confusing.  I mentioned needing to measure from mid-shoulder to mid-shoulder – that’s so you know where to put the straps.  If you haven’t already sewed your dress back shut, fold it right side out so you’re seeing how it will be when it’s done.  Take your measure and find the middle of the fabric (middle of the childs chest).  My shoulder to shoulder measurement was 6″, so I counted out 3″ in each direction, and that’s where your straps will go.

In this picture the fabric is right side up and my straps are pinned to the wrong side – you don’t have to pin yours to the wrong side, but I think it looks better to have the ends hidden.

Pin and sew your strap ends, with our without the snaps.  If you haven’t sewn the dress back closed yet, I recommend you at least pin it.  It’ll be a challenge to get the back of the straps sewn on right if it isn’t closed.

So, straps attached?  Back sewn?  Now is a time to sew on waist or bottom trim, a pocket, bows, etc. – anything you want.  If not, well you’re done!  You should have a cute, shirred top sun dress for your little one to enjoy.  Yay 🙂

Click here to go to my project index.


~ by Ashlee on March 12, 2012.

2 Responses to “Shirred Top Dress”

  1. […] Scrunchy Top Dress Eatables […]

  2. […] A very simple dress and bandana set.  It was fast, easy, and really needs no explanations   However if you’d like some basic guidelines you can find a similar tutorial here. […]

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