Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer dress

Since I didn't have enough projects to sew (HAH!) I agreed to help out a friend, who's daughter needed a white dress for a sorority function. I have admired this dress on Jamie's blog for some time, but it is totally unsuitable for me, alas. Perfect for Nikki, though! I like it for the clean lines and simple design. I also thought it would be a fun project. I've done a bit of shirring, but nothing of this magnitude, so I was looking forward to that. I think it turned out quite pretty. Although it looks a little weird on my dressform. Nikki is smaller than I am, so it will look nicer on her! So, the shirring... Wow! It really isn't hard, but it is time consuming and labor intensive. It took 7 bobbins of hand wound elastic thread to complete the eight inches of shirring on the bodice. It wasn't hard work, just mind-numbing. A few things that helped it along-
- Make sure that you wind a few bobbins at a time, so that you have backups for when you run out. There is nothing more frustrating than having to stop to hand wind another freaking bobbin!
- Periodically check your bobbin to be sure that you have enough elastic thread to complete a row. You do NOT want to run out in the middle since you won't have been able to lock the ends.
- If you do run out in the middle, don't fudge it. Rip out the row you weren't able to finish. You don't want the shirring to come out as the garment is being worn. Tacky!
- When you cut off a row of shirring, pull the bobbin out and make sure that it isn't stretched when you cut or it will spring back into the bobbin case and you will have to fish it back out and re-thread the bobbin. You might swear. Be warned.
- Make sure that you lockstitch or backstitch several times to lock the elastic thread in place. I also tied off each row of shirring, just to be on the safe side.
- While you are shirring, pull a section of fabric taut, sew it and then STOP, reposition, pull another section taut. Don't try to sew and position your fabric at the same time. You'll end up with your lines of stitching curving.
- After you have finished all your shirring, Congratulate yourself! Go get some Motrin for your carpal tunnel and then be sure to clean out your machine. The elastic thread is unbelievably dust producing.
The other fun gadget I got to use on this project was my new binding foot. How freaking cool is that thing!?! I love it! It positioned the binding perfectly. The stitching is less than a millimeter from the edge of the binding on BOTH sides but never slipped off. This is the most amazing thing. If you like to bind - go get one!!
I also took a picture of the fabric of the dress, since you really couldn't appreciate it from the other photos. Isn't it lovely? It is quite sheer, as you can see, but the dress is lined with gauze, and the two together are pretty opaque.
Now back to my sewing list!


  1. That's just gorgeous, Katie! Perfect for the summer/early fall!

  2. That is lovely! Very nice details.