A few weeks ago I saw this post about making skirts out of t-shirts. It looked like a fascinating idea, and I really wanted to try it. I've never tried my hand at shirring, so I looked it up and found this tutorial and bought my elastic thread.
I haven't had any luck finding a good t-shirt to transform, and while I was waiting to find the perfect shirt our daughter asked to have a lemonade stand - right before the Fourth of July. I suddenly remembered this stripey blue-and-white fabric and decided it would be perfect for my first shirring attempt.
Here's what I did:
First, I cut out a large square of the fabric, about the length I wanted the fnished dress to be and about twice the width. Then I folded it in half and angled it a bit so that the front would be higher than the back. I pressed seams in the unfinished edges and sewed those seams.
I spread out the fabric on my ironing board and grabbed a piece of chalk. I drew chalked lines on the front of the dress all the way around, about 1/2" apart, starting at the very top, down as far as I wanted the shirring to go.
Then I wound the elastic thread on a bobbin by hand and got my machine ready with the elastic on the bottom and matching thread fed through the top. I began to sew the the lines I drew with the chalk, backstitching at the beginning and end of each line and then starting over on the next one. (On the next dress, I'll alternate directions on these - I think that will help the lines stay straighter, but I'm pretty happy with this first attempt.)
When my shirring was complete, I cut two long pieces of ribbon to be the ties and two short pieces to be loops. Then I sewed the two short pieces as loops on the back sides and the long pieces on the front sides. To put the dress on, I crossed the straps, fed them through the loops on the back, and tied them in a bow in the middle.
My Big Girl was happy with her twirly new dress and loved the texture of the shirring. I liked how patriotic she looked - and best of all, this whole new dress was made in about an hour! Both of us could work with that timeline.