Happy belated Fourth of July to those who celebrated! Do you remember Amelia Bedelia? She randomly popped into my head when I saw “Camelia” written on the selvedge of this fabric. Anyway, I hesitate to call today’s creation “self-drafted” because it’s really just a rectangle, but I’ll tag it that way nonetheless. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry makes the joke that people think they’re artists simply because they can draw a 3D cube. 😉
- Fabric: 1 yard of Alexander Henry “Camelia” cotton
- Pattern: One rectangle (34″ x 44″) and two rectangles folded up for the straps – aha!
- Notions: “Chestnut” rayon seam binding at the neckline; white elastic thread for the shirred bodice
I whipped this dress up over the course of a day to wear to my friend’s wedding in Virginia Beach. The photos in this post are from the reception! The neckline and hemline were created by snipping into the fabric and ripping the rest of the way – instant rectangle with a length of 34″. I cut the lone rectangle on the fold and used the whole width of the fabric, which was 44″. This meant I only had one seam so I decided to use a French seam.
You may remember the lengths I went to with my first sundress. So many steps that just weren’t necessary! Tanit-Isis left her no-brainer method in the comments and I instantly felt silly for over-thinking, but, hey, that’s what I do. 🙂
The longest part of the process is shirring, but I found my blind hem foot to be so useful for spacing the lines 1/4″ apart as I went from neckline to natural waist (8″ total). Using this foot is a tip I picked up from Rachel over at My Messings (check out her beautiful Liberty dress!). Not sure how I’ve ignored this foot all this time; it’s definitely my new best friend for edge-stitching as well (used on this dress at the neck and hemlines).
For the shirring, I set my machine’s tension to 4 and used a 4 mm stitch length. I also hold the fabric flat as I go since it wants to start gathering. The process starts to get old fast, but it’s important to hold your concentration to keep the lines straight and to prevent the fabric from bunching incorrectly.
To wind the elastic thread around the bobbin, I kept the tension loose as I did with my first shirred sundress. This time, however, I used the oh-so-helpful advice of Sandra, a finalist on The Great British Sewing Bee, by using my sewing machine’s bobbin winder to do the work for me! As she did, I held the thread so it wouldn’t tense up as it made its way around the bobbin. I definitely can’t do it as fast as she can, but it really does speed up the process! And I’m happy to report that the results were the same as when I wound the bobbin by hand. So…many thanks, Sandra!
I used a chestnut-colored rayon seam binding along the neckline by lining it up with the edge of the right side of the fabric and then stitching 1/4″ in. The binding and dress fabric were then folded in about 5/8″ and stitched down. I wanted to keep the neckline as bulk-free as possible (hence trying this technique!) so that I could have a ruffle effect for visual interest. It turned out nicely, I believe. Perhaps the seam binding will even keep the neckline from stretching out of shape over time?
I was going to leave this dress strapless, but I wanted to add another element (couldn’t just leave well enough alone) so I created two straps that are stitched to the front and wrap around my neck halter-style. I kept the straps long in back because, well, it feels glamorous that way! The dress could be worn strapless by wearing it backwards and having the ties form a bow at the back. Hmm…
And that’s it. Another stash buster project and a cheap one to boot. Have a good one!