One Hour Dress Tutorial, originally uploaded by queen puff puff.
You can make this dress in about an hour using elastic thread to create shirring (soft gathers) which will add shaping. Elastic thread is super easy to work with but does take a little practice to get right. Definitely practice on some scrap fabric to get the hang of it.
First, figure out how long you want the dress to be and cut 2 lengths of fabric that length. Stitch them together along one side to make one big wide piece of fabric that is your length and 88″ wide (for 45″ wide quilting cotton). Go ahead and finish this seam by either serging, pinking or zig zagging. Now hem the top and bottom edges. You can do a rolled hem on a regular sewing machine, a rolled hem on a serger or any sort of small hem you want. (You just don’t want lose very much length.)
Now on to the elastic thread! Elastic thread only comes in white or black but that’s OK because you only use it in the bobbin so you’ll never see it anyway. You have to hand wind the elastic thread onto your bobbin and you want to wind it with a bit of tension. How tight you wind it will determine how much it gathers your fabric. So if you wind it really tight you’ll have really gathered or shirred fabric.
Lengthen your stitch length to about 3mm and adjust your tension to 5 (but play around this a bit on your scrap). Load your bobbin and stitch some practice rows. The fabric should start gathering up as you stitch. If it’s not then the thread either got wound too loose, your top tension is too loose or your bobbin tension is too loose. If it gathers too much, then tension is too tight.
When everything looks good, you are ready to move on to your dress. You want to stitch 2 to 3 parallel rows of shirring stitches across the top edge of your dress. Make the rows about 1/2″ apart and start them a 1/2″ from the top edge. It’s helpful to mark your rows on the fabric with tailor’s chalk or an air soluble fabric marker.
Now hold the dress up to and figure out where your natural waist is. Now do 4-6 rows of gathered stitches at the waist that are each 1/2″ apart. Your dress should be fitted above and below the bust creating an hourglass shape.
Finally, you are going to stitch the other side seam and finish the seam the same way you finished the first side seam. Voila! You’re done!