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.

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

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.

If you simply can’t find pre-shirred fabric anywhere near you, why not buy your favourite cotton lawn or cotton voile fabric from Fabric.com and use this fantastic tutorial to shirr your own?

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

Here’s how I made my flowery summer dress in under 20 minutes:

Supplies:

  • 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.

Directions:

If you’re making straps from the shirred fabric too, cut two 4″ strips of fabric off of the un-shirred side.

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

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:

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

You’ll cut the straps to size and finish them later (disregard that in the photo above)!

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

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!

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

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.

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

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.

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

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!)

Sew an easy summer dress with pre-shirred fabric.

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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