Waste Not Want Not / Buy 1 Get 1 Free

So, after completely messing up  a slight miscalculation when scaling up a childs skirt to adult proportions, I had to chop off just over half my fabric to make a wearable skirt.  Which meant I had over half my gathered, tiered, beribboned fabric left.  Which needed something doing with it.  

Obviously I could have made a second, marginally larger, skirt. But it wouldn’t have fit me and I couldn’t think of anyone else I knew wanting one (apart from the recipient of the first one and I didn’t think she’d really want two). Besides the whole point was that it was a one off special skirt.

I could’ve unpicked the fabric and reused it, but that felt a little soul destroying, after I spent so long gathering yards of fabric. 

I could’ve sneaked it upstairs to my unfinished projects box.  But I was on a high having just completed several projects.  Plus it was on that pile, which I promised myself I’d vanquish in order to justify a selfish sew.

Actually I did know someone who’d like another skirt like that, the recipient of the original skirt, but it would be a little long for her.  But maybe a dress? Maybe a dress made with shirring, like they made on the Sewing Bee, that didn’t look so hard. But how to go about it and did I have the right amount of fabric?

Well, a quick internet search yielded a clear and concise shirring dress tutorial from Leila of Where the Orchards Grow. Which revealed the magic proportion of 1 and a 1/2 times pre shirred fabric width to chest size. I measured the fabric. I measured a small girls chest. Taking seam allowance into account the former was almost exactly 50% bigger than the latter. It was meant to be.

The top purple floral panel of my fabric had a generous strip at the top that had been allowed for making waistband casing. I lopped it off and made two wide, flat, rectangular straps and topstitched them. I french seamed the sides of the dress, including a self drafted pocket (for a small girls hand and including ease) made from skull and crossbone fabric (just like the skirt, I like to think my daughter is quite tough under all the flowers) in each side. Then the top was hemmed (the bottom was aleady). I hand wound my bobbin with specially purchased shirring elastic and set to work (after a test on some scrap fabric).

After the first couple of rows I wasn’t sure. But a few more and the magic started to happen. It started to look like a proper dress. I kept going for the whole purple section until just above the ric rac (not sure shirred ric rac would be a good look). Then after a quick fitting to pin the straps on, I sewed them into place and voila one super quick dress (if you forget the hours needlessley preparing the extra fabric when making the skirt).

Wanna see?

'Scuse the post wearing crumpled look

‘Scuse the post wearing crumpled look

(I do have a decent camera, I just can’t get it to talk to an internet enabled device right now, hence more dodgy shots from a fixed lens flashless devices, sorry, I really must sort that out.)

I love it, she loves it and amazingly her brother isn’t sulking about it. It has taken some persuading to get her to wear t shirts and leggings with it as it’s not summer dress weather at the moment, but I think it’s got enough growing room to last through next summer. Here’s a bad photo of her wearing it.


Somehow the silouette (with the extra flare of the tiers under the shirring rather than using a tube) makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. I’m really pleased to have made the most of my mistake. And don’t tell, but I think I may prefer this to the skirt version.

5 thoughts on “Waste Not Want Not / Buy 1 Get 1 Free

  1. Such a cute dress! Love it when mistakes turn out to become something fab! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Presido Purse no 2/1 aka Blue Birthday Bag

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