In the spring and summer, I like to wear dresses. I like to wear them A LOT. There’s something to be said about throwing on something that’s just one piece and lightweight and breezy… ahhhh. Plus, if I find just the right dress I can even wear it when I’m nursing Baby B! I made this sweet, floral shirred dress in less than 20 minutes. No joke! There’s a secret, though: I used pre-shirred fabric. It was such an incredibly fast and fulfilling project – perfect for a busy mom.
Where can you buy pre-shirred or shirred fabric?
I found mine at Fabricland in Edmonton. They usually bring it out in the late Spring and have it in a variety of patterns and widths (some suited to adults and some for children).
I’ve also seen it online at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, and my American friends have confirmed that they’ve seen it in-store as well.
Here’s how I made my flowery summer dress in under 20 minutes:
- pre-shirred cotton fabric (buy enough to wrap around your hips + about 4 inches for seam allowances and ease – it’s measured along the un-shirred side)
- a sewing machine or serger
- a hard ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter
If the fabric isn’t wide enough to cut about 8″ from the bottom to make straps, grab a 1/4 yard of coordinating fabric to make straps.
If you’re making straps from the shirred fabric too, cut two 4″ strips of fabric off of the un-shirred side.
Fold one of the strips in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat with the other strip. Turn the straps right side out and press:
You’ll cut the straps to size and finish them later (disregard that in the photo above)!
Fold your shirred fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together. Cut along one side so that you have a front and back piece. I suppose you could just skip this step and sew one seam, but I think a garment needs to have two side seams to sit right!
Pin your pieces together (right sides together still), and sew along each side using a 1/2″ seam allowance. I used a serger to make it nice and quick, but you could also use a straight stitch on a sewing machine and then finish the seam with a zig-zag stitch.
Now, try the dress on and measure how long you’d like your straps to be. Add 2″ to this measurment, and cut the strap pieces to this size. Finish the raw edges of the straps with a serged seam or zig-zag. Pin the straps to the wrong side of the top of your dress, 1″ from the top edge. I place mine about 4″ in from each side seam. Sew them in place.
Hem the bottom of your dress (I pressed mine up 1/2″, then 2″ and stitched) and you’re ready to go!
(It was a bad hair and – let’s face it, haha – face day, so I just chopped off my head in these photos. Problem solved!)
This dress makes a fabulous maternity, post-partum and/or nursing dress because the top is so stretchy and the straps can easily slide of the shoulders if you want them to.
You could also make this dress without straps, but I like to cover my bra straps for more flexibility – I don’t always want to feel like I need to wear a sweater or jacket.
Have you ever sewn with pre-shirred fabric? What did you think?
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