My mother-in-law has the best intentions in regards to sewing (and crafty things in general). Her problem is finding the time. She's a super busy woman and well, doesn't get around to things as often as she'd like. Sometime in January, a local JoAnn Fabric store went out of business and she bought a ton of fabric at a steal of a price. She's been doing some cleaning and purging at her house and knowing I sew and would get around to using the fabric well before she ever would she graciously offered it up to me. Some of it's not really my taste, but now that I have a daughter, cutesy fabrics work well for making her some clothes.
So, combine free fabric with the 88 cent elastic thread and you have my day. Of course, I already had the regular thread in my collection, so I didn't even need to run to the store to pick up some more thread. Best of all, I still have some elastic thread left on the spool, so I'll get another project (or two) out of that 88 cents.
I'm not one to entirely follow patterns, rather I pull what seems like will work for me and sort of put it all together and see what I come out with. I mainly, pulled from this site, but ended up changing a crucial part by gathering the elastic into my seams. Sometimes, my mish mash of ideas works out, sometimes they don't. This time, I was not dissapointed.
I had to take the elastic spool and hand wind a bobbin. If I would have thought about it ahead of time, I would have wound a few extra bobbins, since I have extra. I ended up needing almost two full bobbins (she typically wears a size 12 months).
If there's any advice I could give, when someone would start shirring the fabric is to make sure that you always sew on the same side of the fabric. Sure, I knew this intellectually, but I did forget that important fact. Just once, mind you. Once I have to use a seam ripper in a project, I'm more apt to pay closer attention. Shirring the fabric was actually pretty fun.
Once, I shirred both the front and the back sides of the dress, I had to pull the elastic tighter in order to get the desired effect. The website I posted earlier mentioned that you had to pull gently because you could snap the thread, and boy - she was sure right!
My next step was sewing the seams together. I gathered all of the elastic thread into the seams and doubled it up in the shirring portion of the dress. Once the sides were tightly sewn together, I trimmed up all the elastic. Then I zig zagged the edges. Other people use pinking shears, but I was never taught that way - sure seems a bit easier though. Of course, the easiest way of all would probably be a serger, but I lack one of those.
After hemming the dress, I went ahead and added the straps to the dress.
And that was that - an afternoon of sewing with free fabric equalled one cute dress for DD - oh, and cheap too!
I don't have a modelling shot yet, but here is the finished dress on a hanger.