Easy DIY Summer Dress | Shirred Dress Tutorial | How to Shirr with Elastic Thread

Easy DIY Summer Dress | Shirred Dress Tutorial | How to Shirr with Elastic Thread

hey everyone its Lisa from the blog Parmesan food calm and today I want to show you how to make an easy DIY maternity dress or regular dress does not have to be just a maternity using a technique called cheery this is something I have not done in a long time when my older girls who are now 10 and 8 were small I used to do this all the time I first learned about it somewhere on internet land I don't even know and basically it is a technique called sharing or sharing up heard it called Bowl where you use an elastic thread to bunch together some fabric to create a super super easy waistband or bodice and if you are new to sewing this is a technique for you it just takes a lot of the guesswork out anytime you do something that's stretchy with elastic you have a lot of room for error which is perfect if you're new now you can do this in just the back of the dress the striped dress that buttons on the front I wear it a lot of times on my Instagram it has sharing on the back and buttons on the front it's a way again to create that flexibility without seeing the sheering all the way around so you'll notice that a lot of garments you have or your kids have probably have some sharing and it just creates a much more forgiving piece if you're brand new so for this project you're going to need two and a half yards of fabric I went with a linen blend because I always do that but anything like a cotton or cotton linen blend I'm staying away from stretchy fabrics on this because I need to adjust the measurement a little bit if you were to do that anything non stretchy that isn't too heavy so more of a light to medium weight fabric is great for this elastic thread an iron some regular thread for the top stitching and a sewing and then of course the usual scissors pins so notions like that measuring tape all right to cut the fabric out we're gonna need a few measurements so we're gonna need two pieces for the main piece two pieces for the ruffle and two pieces for the straps so first take a measurement of your bust at the widest point multiply that by one and a half and then add two inches now the two inches is for seam allowance the one and a half is to shrink it down with the elastic thread for the length go under your armpit and then go to where you want the dress to lay so I'm not gonna take mine super long because I'm gonna add a nice below ruffle to it at the bottom now you could also make yours not a maxi length I'm gonna make my maxi length too high too those varicose veins that I get during pregnancy so it's kind of depending on your goals here you're going to want to add to the length an inch to the top for him allow it's an inch to the bottom for him oh no if you're doing the ruffle it'll be a little bit different now for the ruffle width you're going to want to do one and a half times the width that you got for the main dress piece and then of course the link that you want it to hang down adding in the hem allowance for the straps basically just go to under your armpit so to where the dress will hit and then carry it to where you want it to hit in the back at about a half inch to each side so an inch total to the links that you can tuck those in and sew them in and then I make mine about four inches wide so that I can fold them in half and have that him in there so let me share with you my exact measurements this dress is very flexible so if you are similar in size to me I wear about a small dress and I am 5 foot 5 these measurements could work for you you might take a little bit off the bottom or add a little bit if you're shorter or taller the stretchiness makes this very flexible another thing to remember is I am NOT going to carry my shearing down very far because I have the bump and this is going to be good for pregnancy I only want it to go to where it'll meet my bump now if you are not pregnant you want to make the stress you can carry your sheering down a little bit further into the dress that it's not so high-waisted so I'm cutting two for the main part 27 inches wide by 30 inches long – for the ruffle 40 inches wide by 19 inches long and 2 for the straps 4 inches wide by 18 inches long so if you want to steal my measurements here they are they're also going to be over on the blog with all of the written out detailed instructions if you want to save this for later ok now after you put all of your pieces cut out the next step is going to be doing as much sewing before we get the elastic thread and as possible so I went ahead and sew both ruffle side seams both of the main side seams so basically I just took the two main pieces put them right sides together and then sewed a 1/2 inch seam down both sides I did the same for the ruffle piece make sure when you do the side seams of the ruffle piece and the main piece to finish off those edges with a zig zag stitch or a serger now I do have a serger but I did not feel like getting it out and threading it because they are difficult to thread and I don't have a dedicated sewing space here yet and so I just went ahead and used a stitch that my machine has just a simple zigzag on a very basic machine will do fine next I put a hem in the ruffle piece so I just folded the ruffle piece under a 1/2 inch and another 1/2 inch and then sewed all the way around now you can visit in my simple sewing series I have tutorials on how to do a side seam and a hem if you are brand brand-new you can totally check that out and then I went ahead and put the gathering stitch at the top of the ruffle piece so to do this I just raised the stitch length as high as my machine would go and then I raised the tension as high as it would go now when you do that when you push the ruffle through to put in that gathering stitch it pulls and ruffles it automatically so it's a really great trick to make some very easy ruffles now you want to do a little bit of adjusting later again visit my how to sew a ruffle in the simple sewing series if this is all we still have the regular thread and not the elastic yet and it's time to prepare the shop pieces so to prepare the strap pieces just fold the strap pieces in half lengthwise with right sides together sew a narrow seam down the long edge turn it out with a safety pin and then press it flat with the seam in the back after you've sewn it together and pressed it you can put two top stitches down both long sides and then repeat the same process with the other strap okay another thing is to put a narrow hem in the top of the main piece so to do that I just folded it under about a quarter inch and another quarter inch and then sewed all the way around now the reason that I did it so narrow is with the sheering I don't want a big bulky him at the top sometimes that's a style that people do it's just not what I want for this particular project alright now that we've finished all of the stitching with the regular thread so we've done the two side seams the side seam on the main piece the side seam on the ruffle piece the hem on the top of the dress the hem on the bottom and prepared the straps it's time to get out the elastic thread I picked up some from Walmart some from Joanne's I'll link some in the description below from Amazon if you don't really know what I'm talking about you never seen it before I did not know how much I would need I remember that whenever I used to do this for my girls it took a ton of thread so we're gonna start by winding the bobbin now ordinarily you wind a bobbin on the machine I know some soldiers say that they do use the machine to do this but I've always done this by hand it's just what I learned whenever I first learned do this I'm gonna do that again the reason that it's not like winding a normal thread bobbin is that the elastic does stretch and so when your machine pulls it might pull it a little bit too much so just take an empty bobbin and start wrapping it around now I noticed that when I used to make these for my daughters that if you pull the elastic really tight while you're doing it it will make the fabric cinch up quite a bit more what I'm going for here is about the usual length that you go for with a ruffled I'm gonna take the fabric and make it one and a half times what I want it to shrink down to and to achieve that with this you just want to wrap it without really stretching it now it's gonna stretch some you're gonna feel the stretch whenever you're doing this but don't yank it so just kind of wrap it around now this is gonna fill quite a bit faster than it would if you were doing normal thread it's a lot thicker like a lot thicker so you're going to run out athol astok thread throughout this project and have to refill your bobbin so that's a little bit of a pain but I think you're gonna appreciate how laid-back you can be with the measurements in this dress and that's the biggest thing that makes this perfect for a beginner now you can also buy pre sheared fabric so if you go to Joanne's or wherever Hobby Lobby over to get fabric you'll see on bolts fabric that has about 12 inches of shearing at the top and then it's just plain fabric at the bottom basically you take that fold it in half and sew a seam down the middle and you can make a super easy dress they also have it in kids prints and with smaller amounts of sharing so you can make it for your daughter or granddaughter and then you could customize it so you could take that and add pockets on it or add a ruffle at the bottom right I'm gonna stop here because I got a knot in my elastic and so that's just a good place to stop and then I'm just gonna load this into my bobbin however yours works some are front-loading some are top-loading if you're brand new to sewing I have an entire sewing course it's completely free I'll link in the description below but there is a section on threading bobbins and braiding your machines so you can check that out normally with my machine I can just loop that through like that and I'm good to go with this I like to actually do it the way that I used to do those kids and pull the thread back out the back just make sure everything's in there okay okay now to do the shearing the way that this works is you put the fabric in with the dress face up so you want the elastic thread to hit on the bottom of the garment and on the top you also will want to raise your stitch length so I did mine as as it would go that helps to make the elastic thread gather a little better and then just start running the dress or whatever you're sharing or showing through your machine so I started right on top of my top hem that quarter inch hem I did I pretty much stitched over the hem stitch with the elastic thread on the bottom and regular thread on top and I just go all the way around now instead of starting and stopping at each next row because the way shearing works is you should just sew around and around and around and the elastic pulls it in you don't want to start and stop so instead I just simply raise the needle out of the fabric raise the presser foot shift the garment over just until the stitching from the row before lines up with the outside of the presser foot and then continue around and I always like to move on to the next row at the same spot so I come all the way around shift over go all the way around again shift over all the way around again now don't worry if you notice that it's not gathering a whole lot in the very beginning usually it takes several rows for it to really show that gathering now if you do find that you get to the end and it still didn't gather as much as you'd like it again there's still tricks to get it together even more so again don't worry now the further you space out your rows of elastic the less bunched up it'll be the closer together the more bunched up it'll be I wanted my to be pretty close together because I was shrinking it from one and a half times the size down to fitting and so that required me to basically just line up each next row with the presser foot from the row before now if you're brand new to sharing a stripe pattern like I have here is a good one to start with because if your rows start getting off a little bit you know as you go you can always realign everything at a stripe so I found myself doing that a lot but one thing to note is that if it looks really bad now whenever you make it scrunch up more with an iron and washing and drawing which I'll tell you about in a moment it will be so scrunched up that you're not even gonna be able to tell if your lines are crooked now you're going to have to change your bobbin out a few times because a bobbin will not hold as much elastic thread as it does the regular thin cotton thread and so to do that just pop the bobbin out put the new one in I like to do a little front and back stitch another thing you could do would be to start and then just to tie off the elastic from the previous bobbin to the elastic from the next one just so that nothing unravels now go down just as far as you want now I might not go down quite as far as you might want to because I need mine to go above the bump alright next we're going to attach the ruffle piece to the main piece so after the gathering stitches in just slide the ruffle piece on to the main piece with right sides together and just pull those gathers out until the width of the ruffle meets the width of the bottom of the main piece just go ahead and pin it in place and then so all the way around but with the regular thread here again not the elastic thread again make sure this exact stitch that open seam there all right now after you get all of your shearing in get a hot iron that has steam and apply it to your sheering stitches this will just help to shrink everything up even more right after you have it all ironed you can put it through the washer in the dryer I did this just to make sure I knew where everything was because that will really shrink it down and nowhere to put my straps all right now here's how the dress looks after coming out of the washer and dryer and being steamed very scrunched up you can see it really creates that waistline it's all the same width of fabric but the top is very shrunken by the elastic thread now I'm just gonna try this on figure out where I want the straps to hit and then just sew them on in the front in the back right now after the straps are all sewn on I decided that I want to make a little waistband so I'm just cutting a very long strip from the excess fabric three inches wide and then preparing it in the exact same way as the straps so just folding it in half sewing down the long edge turning it out with a safety pin and then top stitching now this I like for maternity dresses especially because instead of everything kind of just going flat it defines that bump so you don't just look you know large instead of pregnant I kind of like that four dresses no matter whether I'm pregnant or not the dress I'm wearing currently does have one and I really like that definition so that steps totally optional but I'm definitely going to do it right well I hope you learned something new about sharing and making a really simple dress this would be a great thing to make if you find a bunch of fabric at a thrift store or maybe a sheet that looks really pretty or if you want to take something large and refashion it down to something small it can be made for maternity it can be made for not maternity I actually saw a dress like this at Target and it was not in the maternity section although it would work great for maternity I used to make it a lot for kids so it's perfect for that you can use sharing on the back of a dress and keep the front nice and flat but it makes it easier to fit something anytime there's a little bit of elastic involved and it's so easy because the measurements just don't have to be that precise with the way the elastic works you can stretch it out if you make it a little bit too small but it's very forgiving right well I hope that you enjoyed this video please visit the simple sewing series I actually just put a page on my blog that has all the tutorials so it's basically a sewing course for free on my blog several videos walking you through every single step from threading your machine to creating a hymn a ruffle I mean we go through buttonholes everything as you advance there's several easy projects for you to try and it can walk you through the entire process perfect for beginners if you know someone who wants to learn to sew hey maybe you're a seamstress and you get asked all the time to teach people to sew just send them there because I've already walked you through everything I know that I've personally been asked to teach people and that is why I created that course because I don't have time to sit down with every single person and so now it's all there on the blog I'll link in the description below it's a page on my blog called learn to sew if you go too far Masamune comm click on learn to sew in the top navigation you'll go straight to that series and you can just work your way through it and I promise if you know nothing you can go from watching that to knowing how to sew all kinds of things for you your home your baby your kids whatever alright well for brand new to my channel please hit that subscribe button I make two new videos every week on food from scratch not you're living in a handmade home thank you so much for stopping by the farmhouse you


  1. Ok Lisa, I buy one LOL I flunk home ec (sewing class in school) I can do a little mending sewing on my machine but that’s as far as I can go. I tried watching ur sewing classes n just can’t get it. I’m one of those type of people who has to have one on one ( in person) The dress is really really cute . I love it!
    It’s so hot in the summer in Florida n I’ve got the vein problem too. No shorts for me anymore. Darn it!
    Would love to have a couple of those dresses u made. Wish u sold them on ur blog or whatever. I’d buy em in a flash. Even tho I’ll never be able to make one I like to thank u for taking ur time in showing all ur other viewers how it’s done. ♥️

  2. Oh my God Liza, I consider my self a very active, multitask person, I only have two kids, they're young adults now. I had a daycare at home, still working with children… etc etc, but r u a robot?? You're very talented!! Love hard working people 👏 👏 👏. I hate when women complain "can't do anything because of this or that" awsome example for your children 😉.

  3. Hi new subbie here and I absolutely love love that dress. I'm definitely going to your blog because I do want to know how to sew. Thanks for sharing

  4. Thanks for this, I've been wanting to do shering but the books make it sound so difficult. The dress looks great on you,

  5. I love seeing you teach this sewing technique! I haven't seen anyone even reference "sewing" in years! I'm 62, and me and my 3 sisters grew up sewing all our clothes. I think sewing is going to have a come back… Not only is it thrifty, but you can personalize and make things the way you like them. Love that you have videos available that teach sewing. Great video 🙂

  6. If the shirring isn't as snug as you want, just steam it with an iron. I just hold the iron a couple inches away and press the steam button on my iron and it just shrinks up like magic 😁

  7. I've done shirring on lots of garments but when I purchased the elastic thread from Walmart, it wouldn't work. I thought something was wrong with my machine. But realized the Walmart stuff is a lot more thin than the stuff I purchase at the sewing machine store.

    I wound up throwing that stuff away and went back to the thicker elastic. It could just be my machine. Idk

  8. Hi Lisa. Do you think this dress would work with gauze fabric. I was thinking for a bathing suit cover up or a nightgown after bath/shower dress. I know gauze is kinda hard to work with but I love that fabric. Thank you and blessings to your family. Carolyn from 🇨🇦

  9. Hello Lisa! Fantastic job, it looks so nice on you. I just love the background view with the large open windows and seeing the trees. 🥰

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