Wednesday, June 22, 2011

At your leisure.

A few weeks back, when we returned from the beach I had a mini sewing crisis.  I suddenly didn't know what I should sew anymore.  I texted Liz in a wee bit of a panic, that I thought my sewing days were behind me!  She calmly sent me an email in reply with a few super helpful hints.  Liz suggested that I start, where I almost always start, sewing something for my two favorite ladies.

Liz sent me a linke to a FREE pdf file for a dress called the Leisurely Dress that was recently showcased on Sew Mama Sew.

I read through the whole pattern and thought it would get filed away and bookmarked because it required the ever elusive technique of sewing with elastic thread in my bobbin.  I know it's all the rage, and seemingly so totally simple, yet it's a technique I have stayed away from, thinking it wasn't for me.  In short, I was afraid of the elastic thread.  Can you imagine I had Liz mail me elastic thread to Korea several years ago because I thought I was on the verge of shirring something with it.  I backed out, and so the elastic thread has sat in the thread box for over two years!

Friends, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF ELASTIC THREAD.  Here is what I did.  I took a 12 inch piece of a fabric scrap.  I hand wound a bobbin with elastic thread (I thought this was the hardest step, but seriously, just wind up a bobbin, by hand with the elastic thread.  That's all there is to it.).  Then, I simply sewed a straight line across my 12 inch piece of fabric.  Like magic, the fabric started getting a bit gathered and stretchy.  When I finished, I walked over to my ironing board, where I blasted it with some hot steam, and the whole thing shrunk up, just as the instructions said it would.

With that simple success, I was convinced that I have every skill required to make some Leisurely Dresses.

And so I did:

I made them out of the Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush fabric that was collecting dust on my shelf.  At one point I thought I was saving it for a quilt, but then after some careful introspection I realized I didn't actually want to do that.

So I turned it all into dresses!  And I'm so very glad that I did.

The pattern comes with two variation of how to finish the top.  In the dress above you can see that I made a 3/8" wide casing, which is used to slipped a single piece of elastic through which measured their chest measurement, minus an inch.  This is Jane's favorite variation.

The second variation is to simply do four rows of the elastic thread along the top, just like you do at the waist.  Ruby doesn't mind it this way.  Jane had a real problem with that ruffly top under her arm pits.  She's a bit more fastidious in her preferences.  But you know, all kids have different things that bug them.  I loved these dresses, but that doesn't matter at all, if they aren't comfortable.  I was glad to have the two different variations to test out, and get it just right for Jane and her arm pits.

Once I overcame my fear of the elastic thread, these became the easiest dresses I've ever made.  I think I made the second one in less than two hours!  Who can resist a summer project that is so speedy?!  The Leisurely Dress, I highly recommend it as a quick summer sewing project.  The instructions were clear and well written, I didn't have any frustration with the pattern.  Have fun!!

1 comment:

Liz said...

Absolutely adorable!! Love the dresses, and the darling bronzed models. Looks like the summer tans are coming along quite nicely.

So glad you ventured into the world of shirring opening up endless possibilities. Thanks for being so brave. You are sew inspiring!!!

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