Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shirred Summer Dress with Tiered Skirt for Little Momo

For the 4th summer dress for little Momo, I decided to try a shirred dress. I have seen shirred summer dresses and pre-shirred fabric, and I thought basically what I need to do was to shirr the fabric and make it into a tube. But I searched for shirred dress tutorial online to get a better idea, and found a beautiful one: Shirred Twirly Dress -From An Igloo 

What I loved about this design is the shoulder straps that tie in the back as a bow.  Isn't this a pretty idea?

The tutorial shows you how to make a full gathered skirt with a band hem.  I decided to change the skirt and do something else I have been wanting to try, a tiered skirt. For this I refereed to this tutorial: Basic 3 Tiered Skirt -Make It & Love It.  

The dress uses shirring in the back, and has a clean flat front. 

I have done shirring once before, but it has been while.  I also was making a tiered skirt for the first time, so I used inexpensive quilting cotton I had in my stash to try out.  And it was good thing I did that...because I made several mistakes making this dress :(

Mistake #1: Not winding the elastic thread properly to the bobbin.  I could see the elastic thread showing up on my right side fabric, so it was obvious the elastic thread was too loose.  I shirred 11 rows, and had to re-do a couple of rows.  You are supposed to hand-wind the elastic thread not too tight or loose, and my winding was not even...

Mistake #2: Not cutting the back bodice in correct size.  The dress is made with pieces cut in rectangles.  I like this kind of design, making cutting the pieces easier.  But I still managed to make mistakes... I calculated the sizes I needed, cut the pieces out, and I had a long piece of fabric left to cut out the back bodice.  Then I completely forgot to cut out the back bodice, and used the large piece as-is...  I sewed the front and back pieces together,shirred the back bodice, steam ironed the shirring, and then finally I realized my mistake.  Looking at the bodice piece that looked like was meant for myself than my little 3-year-old, I felt so stupid.  I took the pieces apart, cut the excess and sewed back them together.  I cut off about 10 inches off, and that was already shirred fabric ;)  Maybe I should at least cut my fabric during the day, while my brain is still functioning...even though I can only sew at night.
Mistake #3: Not cutting the skirt pieces  in correct sizes... I decided to use the fuller skirt measurement from the tutorial, and added a couple of extra inches to the third tier, thinking that would not matter much.  Well it did matter...the third tier is fuller than the first two, making the tiers uneven.   At least I added those extra gathering to the last tier and not the first two...

Mistake #4: Made the button hole for the straps too big.  My straps are 1.5 inches width.  I made the biggest button hole the settings allowed.  When I tied the straps, I realized the hole did not need to be that big.  Also I tried to make the buttonhole on the back piece without applying the interfacing first.  The back bodice is just one fabric, no lining.  I failed to make the button hole and then I realized I needed to add the interfacing.

So despite all those mistakes, the dress was completed ;)  I do like shirring and the dress design, so I will definitely make another one again.  Hopefully I won't make the same mistakes next time...

The dress is light and airy, great for the hot Texas summer.  The skirt  is full and it does not prevent Momo from doing what she wants to do.
...till she is burned out.

Linking up to those fun parties.


  1. What a cute little post! I'm beginning to recognize Momo as soon as I see her and just have to click! Your outfits are always so cute and worth the read. I'm new to sewing and would love to try more new outfits like this for my daughter. Thanks for listing all your mistakes! That is so helpful! It looks wonderful! Great job!
    Gina @ Gina's Craft Corner

    1. Me too! I always stop to see this little girl!!

      I love shirred dresses...I haven't made a ton, but some if the older ones still fit as tops! They last a while:) I like the little bow in back too. Buttons are fiddly, & I always worry zippers will pinch.

      Another great summer dress!!

    2. See what I mean?! I popped over from a party & realized I've already been here:) lol!

  2. How lovely dress! Great job! I love the fabrics combination and the sweet pics! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Have a fabulous weekend!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  3. Mistakes are only mistakes if they matter and from where I'm sitting, it all looks perfect, Annie!!!

  4. Cute! Love the yellow and black together.

  5. My first time visiting. I used to love to make my children's clothes when they were small (44,41,40 and 27 now) so I haven't made any in many years. I didn't have a working machine when I had grandchildren, so I made them quilts. I am totally impressed with the tie-in-a-bow straps. How clever is that?? I also love that you told your mistakes. So many give up when mistakes are made and they feel they aren't talented enough to sew. What a good Do-Bee you are! Your daughter is adorable in that dress What a cute post!

  6. I miss having a daughter to sew for. I keep telling my kids to give me grands so I can make cute outfits and babysit.

  7. Love the sun dress you made, so cute! It looks wonderful on her… Have a great weekend, Laura

  8. Such a sweet dress, you did a great job :)Aww lovely pictures, thanks for sharing with us ar Creative Mondays :)



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