There are so many cool fabrics out there these days. And I don’t just mean cute prints, but the types of fabric you can buy sometimes blows my mind! I recently discovered fabric that is pre-shirred – basically, it’s already smocked with elastic thread when you buy it! How brilliant is that?? I found some adorable 19″ fabric to make Peach and my niece each a dress (because what’s cuter than little girls in matching outfits?), and I’m not even kidding, you can literally sew one seam and be done! So read on to see how easy it is to make your own adorable dress!
To figure out how much I needed for each dress, I measured the kiddos around the chest and subtracted 2 inches. Cutting this fabric is a little different than regular cotton, but the measurements are based on the shirred section, not the bottom of the dress. I am generally not a fan of tearing fabric to cut it (in fact, I cringe when they do this at the fabric store), but in this case, you pretty much have to in order to get a straight line. So, use your ruler to measure the fabric at the top, cut to the bottom of the shirred section with your scissors, and tear down to the bottom of the fabric (you’ll need the scissors again for the selvage).
Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, and line up the top, bottom, and the shirring threads. I used a serger so that the seam would be finished, but a sewing machine would also work. If you use a serger, jump on your regular machine to zigzag the tails in place, like we did on the pillowcase dress before.
Technically, you’re done at this point! However, I chose to add little straps made of 1/2″ ribbon, since it would be very easy for the girls to pull them down without straps. For Peach’s dress, I used 7″ ribbons that were 2″ from the seam (which I centered in the back). For my niece’s I used 8″ ribbons 2.5″ from the seam. Just fold them over and stitch above the shirring. For the front, line the seam up with the center and fold the ribbons forward; secure as on the back.
As usual, I bribed Monster to model the dress for me – I am going to have so many blackmail photos when he’s in high school! Peach wasn’t as cooperative, but she really loved holding his hand.
One of the really great things about these dresses is that they can grow with them. As the girls get taller, the dress goes from full-length (like it is on Peach now) to knee-length (like it is on Monster now) to a cute shirt with leggings. And you can always put a t-shirt or long-sleeve T underneath to be more weather appropriate. That’s what I call a versatile piece of clothing!
In case you’re wondering, they also make shirred fabric in 45″ and 53″ wide options for adults… I have some already, so be on the lookout in the future for a similar post for grown-ups!