Friday, September 30, 2011

A Dress So Pink and Shirred

Another dress completed, and just in time for my upcoming vacation! I'm going to be in Florida so the color combination still works even though we're now in the midst of fall here in Virginia. I'm on a wee bit of a roll here, 2 dresses in a week, very satisfying indeed. The dress color is a little washed out in these photos, but scroll to the end to find a detail shot for the true pink color.


...The Basics...
  • Fabric: 2 yards of pink and white striped seersucker from Joann's
  • Pattern: None! Self-drafted, but based on this dress photo from a class offered at Sew L.A.
  • Details: Straps forming an X in the back made from the fabric's selvege; handmade self-fabric belt
  • Time in Stash: (fabric) a little over 1 month; (pattern) in my imagination for about 4 or 5 months

My aunt gave me these 2 yards of fabric from Joann's last month after I told her I liked her seersucker blouse. I knew I wanted to make a dress with it, but most of my patterns call for more than 2 yards. I had seen this pretty dress on the Sew L.A. Facebook page called "That '70s Dress" (link above) and being on the other side of the country from my old stomping grounds I had to give it a go on my own. 

On a side note, I contributed this dress to the Sew Weekly theme challenge this week, "Think Pink", which is in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As I mentioned, this fabric was given to me by my aunt, who is a breast cancer survivor. I didn't know that would be this week's challenge so it was just a neat little coincidence.



...The Construction Process...
I used my basic sloper to draft a front and back piece and lined them up so the neckline would be defined by the selvege. Since the bodice would be shirred to the natural waist, I added what seemed like a whopping 8" to that portion. I used the elastic-thread-in-the-bobbin method for shirring and my trusty 1/4" foot for spacing each row. 

At first I backstitched at the end of each row and started again (like a typewriter or a cartoon character eating corn ;) but then realized it was faster and more economical thread-wise to just rotate the fabric at the end of each row, stitch down to the next row, rotate and start the process again. 

I left the thread tension at 4, wound the elastic thread on the bobbin without stretching it, and held the fabric taut as I stitched. I ended up shirring the front and back pieces separately, but in the future I think I'd stitch one seam together first and then just shir across the seam. It all came out even anyway, but it's a thought. 

Before...

...after!

Love this shirred effect of this
lightweight cotton, a practice effort.
I do like how the selvege neckline "ruffled" from shirring, gives it a nice dimension there! The remaining selvege turned into dress straps, which form an X at the back. I used French seams for an extra pretty look on the inside! I love French seams and hadn't used that finish in awhile. I was this close to figuring out how to add pockets to French seams, but need to give it more thought before my next attempt.

X strap detail
I decided to add a self-fabric belt, just to visually break up the shirred area from the full skirt. It's easily removable for a more casual look, but I quite like the belt!



Sans belt
Verdict? This dress is SO comfortable! Seersucker is my new favorite (once again a wrinkle-free fabric, yes!). Okay, well, I'm off to enjoy the warm Floridian sun for a bit. This gal is no fan of winter, that's for sure!

4 comments:

  1. It's adorable! (And you put MUCH more thought into it than I probably would've... "sew a rectangle into a tube and shir the top of it" is about as elaborate as I usually get with these patterns. Love the belt and the little crossed straps, too. :D

    Oddly, I just got some pink fabric from an aunt, although I doubt it'll get made up in time for the Sew Weekly challenge...

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  2. This dress is very cute on you ! I like the belt too !
    Thanks you for the tip on " ...just rotate the fabric at the end of each row, stitch down to the next row...". I'll keep it in mind for when I sew a shirring dress :-)

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  3. Tanit-Isis, my first thought was to simply cut a rectangle and shir away, but I'm a bit busty so the rectangle would've been too tight around the bust if it was fitted to my waist (or too loose at the waist if it fit at the bust). Although I guess I could've just gone with the bigger size and taken it in at the waist! I'm a classic over thinker.

    Lasandrou, glad my ramblings are helpful! :)

    Katy, thank you!

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