Anyone following the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2 will have seen the contestants making a shirred dress for a child in this weeks episode. Shirred dresses are so pretty and it reminded me that I made one a few years ago. Shirring is basically when you put shirring elastic in the bobbin of your sewing machine rather than cotton. You sew lots of lines around the bodice of a dress and it gathers the fabric in but because of the elastic at the back, it is stretchy enough to be able to get it over a childs head.


I found this tutorial on Kitschy Coo’s blog brilliant when I made my dress. In fact I think I may have been inspired to give it another try for Izzy this summer.  Have a look at KItschy Coo’s gorgeous dress below. You can also find it on my Pinterest board here.

shirred dress

My name is Louise and I blog about sewing and all things fabric related over at Sew Scrumptious


4 thoughts on “Shirring

  1. Hi Louise

    Shirring a dress is so easy to do – I sent one to you for the dress-a-girl-around-the-world last autumn. And I saw a little girl wearing it in one of your photos recently! Was I chuffed to see it being modelled by such a pretty little girl! I think I’ll make a few more instead of the usual pillowcase dresses soon. They are sew easy (pun intended) and look so pretty.

    Two little hints: When you get to the end of the first row, gently pull out a couple of inches of thread and shirring elastic then turn and stitch back for the next row. Saves a lot of tying off at the end of each row. And the long end will be sewn into the side seam eventually. Don’t iron over the shirring, but hover a steam iron over it when its finished and this will tighten it up a little.

  2. Sorry! Should have said: You sew one side seam and then shir right across the front and back and finally sew the other side seam. Don’t try making the dress then shirring – much too fiddly. Sorry – brain not in gear today! ;-(

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