Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday - smocking / shirring tutorial - summer dress from a sarong.

Some time ago I bought a bargain piece of material on ebay.

Digression :- Got to love ebay and those buyers who don't try to rip you off for postage abroad. Just because I live in France I have not had all my brain cells removed and I KNOW one paperback book does not cost £15.00 to post!

Anyway back on track - this is the material.  It is hard to tell from the photo, but it is various shades of blue in a tie-dye style with sequin stars and dots.

It was a rectangular piece, 115 cm x 149 cm, in a nice light viscose but thick enough not to need lining for decency.

The first thing I did was hem all the edges to prevent fraying. Then I joined the 115cm sides to each other sewing about three quarters of the way down from the edge that will be at the bust line, leaving the last quarter open for a split on the legs.

Left with a tube, too big to wear as is even with a couple of shoulder straps, I decided to have a go at creating a smock (shirred) top to this dress.

I am sewing all of the smock section on my trusty sewing machine - the first time I have ever tried this.

Thread your machine as normal with a strong poly cotton thread, but not too thick.  Then take your bobbin and some thin elastic (I stole mine out of my jewelry making kit, it is normally used for beading bracelets).

Hand wind the elastic around the bobbin taking care not to pull and create any tension in the elastic.  I had to wind the bobbin about 4 times in total to finish the smocking, each bobbin did about 3 rows of stitching.

I opened  back the seam and used some pins to mark the spacing between each row of stitching.

To sew the smocking you will be sewing on the right side of the fabric, so that your thread shows and not the elastic.

Remember to reverse back over the start and end of each row in order to secure the elastic otherwise it will just pull straight out as soon as you tension it.

Then start sewing.  The first row is the easiest, as the material stays flat as your run around the full diameter of your 'tube'.

As you move down to the next row, you will need to pull the material out flat as you go around, don't let the material bunch up with the elastic.

 Sew several full rows around the top of the tube extending approximately 15 cms from the top hem line.  This creates a shorter smock effect top with an empire line dress falling below.  If you are graced with a more forgiving figure then you can continue smocking for another 15 cms to create a skirt that falls from the waist.

Now I think it is time to try it on, mix myself a cocktail and relax by the pool.

Take that Gok Wan!


Helsbells said...

Excellent sheering (is that the right word?)
I got some elastic, just need to muster the courage to try it out.

Emma said...

I love the effect of shirring, but it's a right pain to get right. well done!!

(flibble from ish by the way ;) )