Wednesday, September 11, 2013

imagine gnats Bess Top: Shirred up

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you've probably noticed that my typical aesthetic is fitted at the waist. I love the fit and cute details of the Bess top, but I tend to wear it like this.
I'm wearing it here with my Vogue 2657 vest to cinch in the waist. It also looks fab belted, so I thought it would be fun to add some easy waist shaping with shirring. I'll show you how as well.
Here's how it looks! Just a few rows of shirring make a big difference, don't you think? And so easy to do!
Once you have completely finished your Bess top per the pattern. For this one I used the tunic version, but any of the three styles will work. I think the dress would look awesome shirred! Try on your top and pin a wide piece of elastic around your waist, then blouse your top so that you like the way it looks. I actually did this on my body, but put it on the dress form for pictures.
Now mark the top edge of your elastic, using whatever method you prefer. I used my handy dandy Frixion pen.
Next, lay the top flat on your work surface and even out your markings. Some will look too high or too low. You want an even line around your top. You can connect the markings if it is easier to sew a straight line that way.
Now shirr away! If you haven't done this before, you are missing some serious fun!! Check out this great tutorial from Make It & Love It to get you going. Start by shirring a line around your top where you marked and continue shirring even lines below your first one until you have the cinched in area as wide as you prefer. Be sure to do at least 3 lines, or it may not be elastic enough. I used five lines spaced 1/4 inch apart.
And you are done!! Put on your top and strut your stuff!
And if you still want to accessorize or belt your top, the shirring keeps it nicely in place, so you aren't tugging on your hem or blousing out your Bess top all day.


  1. it looks so great, Katie!! and that color is amazing on you :) thanks for sharing your process, especially the placement tip! that's a great way to do it.

  2. I love this idea! I'm definitely going to have to buy this pattern and try a version that is shirred.

  3. Cute pictures -- and what a great color!! I love it! Congratulations on another fantastic look!

  4. Cute Bess top! The color is gorgeous! And a great tip for figuring the placement of the shirring. I linked to your post on Craft Gossip:

  5. Nice customization to this top Katie. :)

  6. Love this Katie! I loved it the first time, but I think I'm making another Bess today and I wanted to check again to see if I should shirr it. Yup, totally doing it!