Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finished Project: Patternless Boho Maxi Dress - and when I went shirring

Fabric: A tribal print voile from Spotlight
Cost: 2m @ $5 per metre (on sale) plus some shirring elastic
Pattern: None

I have seen a few people getting around in soft, flowy maxi dresses like this one and it made me think of walking on the beach in Thailand with a cocktail.

I wanted to have a go at shirring and this looked like a good opportunity. I bought a wide voile and before I sewed it up I shirred the top and the middle. Very, very easy. Once I had finished the shirring, I sewed up the centre back seam which is the only seam. As I had used the whole width of the fabric I didn't finish the seams but just left the selvedge intact.

The only extra piece is the band over the bodice which I sewed wrong side to right side of the bodice so when I folded it over the right side was showing. I top stitched the two layers together to stop it rolling in or out.

I'm a size 12 and this has lots of room in it so I would imagine a 150cm wide fabric would do a 12-16. Smaller sizes could get away with a 112cm wide fabric. The shirring reduces it by about half but the elastic has a lot of give so it is almost one size fits all.

Shirring is very easy. You just buy some shirring elastic - mine was $2 from Spotlight - and wind it by hand onto your bobbin. Use regular thread in the machine. Everything then is as usual. You just sew parallel lines until you have an area that suits your purpose. I did four lines for the top and four for the middle.


  • Play around with a scrap to adjust your tension and stitch length. I just used a slighter wider stitch length, about 2.5 whereas I would usually use about 1.5-2. Each machine will probably be different. 
  • Sew on the right side so your regular cotton is on the outside and the elastic on the inside.
  • Line up your presser foot with the edge of your fabric for the first line of shirring and then line up your presser foot with the previous line of sewing.
  • Don't pull the fabric through the machine just use your hands to keep the fabric flat - you may need to pull gently from the front to keep the elastic flat.
  • To secure the beginning and end of each line just reverse a stitch or two as usual or you can tie it off.

No comments:

Post a Comment