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).
(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.