Tag Archive for 'shirring'


Stylish Dress Book 2 : Dress 'S'

Stylish Dress Book 2 : available at the workroom
Liberty of London : Ebs

What can I say, I love this pattern. This is version #3. Version #1 & #2 get tons of use and I was feeling like I should add another version into the rotation. The only change I made was to add side seam pockets to this version.

This Liberty of London print is called ‘Ebs’. This soft colour palette is so incredible and the print looks like it was coloured in with pencil crayon. It has been sitting in my stash for way too long. I’m pretty happy it’s now hanging on my closet and joining me on adventures like the Sewing Summit.

Stylish Dress Book 2 : Dress 'S'

Stylish Dress Book 2 : Dress 'S'

Stylish Dress Book 2 : Dress 'S'


Enchanted Bow Skirt

I’m so excited to share my 1001 Peeps Summer Camp project with you today! Have you been following along with the other great camp projects every Friday?

Since I love making clothes so much, I thought I would create a skirt pattern that is very easy to sew. You will start and finish this skirt in a few hours! Also, I show you how to do elastic shirring with this pattern. If you’ve never tried it, this is a magical technique to learn. It’s also very addictive. You may have seen it in this dress, this dress or this dress.  Since I know how much Lizzy loves bows, I had to make sure it had a big bow on it too! My Enchanted Bow Skirt features a ruffled paper bag waist, an elastic shirred waistband and an adorable contrasting bow.

It was pretty hard to choose just two fabrics from the 1001 Peeps fabric collection for the skirt, but I’m having a love affair with purple right now, so I chose the Purple Pearl Bracelet for the bow and the Scheherazade for the skirt.

You can download a pdf of the instructions to make this pattern here. I’ve added the elastic thread that I use to our online shop, in case you don’t have a place near you that sells it. Please let me know if you make one, I’d love to see it!

the workroom will FINALLY be receiving our shipment of 1001 Peeps next week. Just in time for Lizzy’s arrival. There will be sets of all 24 prints for sure! Fat quarter, half metre and full metre. If you need one, (I definitely need one), let me know and you can pre-order.

There are just two more weeks left of the 1001 Peeps Summer Camp. Be sure to visit Whipstitch next Friday and Happy Zombie on August 26th!

p.s. The bow on this skirt is totally enchanted. Take a look at the last photo where the magical bow is trying to fly away!

Finish Enchanted Bow Skirts :
– Jeni finished her skirt within a day of posting the pattern! It’s amazing with the Royal City print in orange.
– Lizzy House made TWO enchanted bow skirts while she was in Toronto. Here’s her first one made with Heather Ross’ Far Far Away 3 fabric.

Enchanted Bow Skirt

Enchanted Bow Skirt

Enchanted Bow Skirt

Enchanted Bow Skirt


Liberty of London Summer Challenge : Project 4
Stylish Dress Book 2 : Dress “S” in ‘My Little Star’ Tana Lawn Cotton

After warming up with a few smaller projects, I finally bit the bullet and REALLY cut into some Liberty of London fabric to make a piece of clothing.

When I chose the ‘My Little Star’ print, I thought it was really bold and a bit crazy. In reality, it’s a totally soft and muted yet still slightly rock and roll.

I had picked out Dress “S” when I first got Stylish Dress Book 2. The square gathered neckline and wide gathered sleeves had me at first glance. The pattern calls for a contrasting fabric in jersey for the sleeves and another fabric for the neckline. I decided the star print would shine better on its own.

The dress came together pretty quickly once I got going. When it was done, it was a bit too loose for my liking. One of the characteristics of these smock dresses is that they are rather loose fitting. On one hand this usually means the patterns are more forgiving with fit and very comfortable to wear. On the other hand, sometimes they are too unshapely. I thought perhaps just taking in the side seams a bit might make the fit more flattering. It wasn’t enough.

This is where magical shirring comes to the rescue once again. I can not sing the praises of shirring enough. It is such a simple technique that gives maximum result every time. I had not yet tried shirring around a waistline, but had seen it many times.

I decided to space my shirring lines a 1/2″ apart and wound up doing four lines of shirring. It turned out perfectly. The shirring around the waist seems to echo the wide gathered elastic sleeves and neckline. It has totally transformed the dress and I think for me, it is much improved.

I can’t say enough about how much I’m enjoying working with the Liberty prints. They are lovely to handle and sew with. Plus, wearing them is dreamy! The tana lawn cotton has a super high thread count that makes the fabric very durable, smooth and almost silky. I’ve also never seen such amazing detailed printing on fabric.

We’re going to a wedding in a couple weeks, so I’m trying to design a dress using this print. I’ve already been warned that I’m not to be trying to sew up the dress as we’re driving to the wedding, so I need to get cracking. At least we all know that I’ve got several dresses in my closet to fall back on if I can’t get it together in time.


I threw dress 12 together in a hurry when I realized we had tickets to the closing night of the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thompson Hall. They used the word ‘gala’ on the ticket and when I looked at all my new dresses, none of them said ‘red carpet’ to me. I had never been to see any films at TIFF before, so I decided a new fancy dress was in order.

Over the years, I have rescued various textiles and threads, not ever knowing what I would do with them. I only knew that they couldn’t be thrown away. I have a box of vintage custom-dyed charmeuse silk remnants. The colours are gorgeous and the fabric is super luxurious. One side of charmeuse is glossy and smooth, while the other side is quite matte. I always imagined they would make lovely fancy dresses, if only I had fancy dress occasions.

I went through the pile of silks and chose a ‘film strip’ grey called, ‘Smoke’. I folded the fabric in half unevenly, to create two layers of fabric. The top shiny side was shorter, revealing the matte side along the bottom. I serged a rolled hem along the top fold with light pink embroidery thread and did the same on the two bottom hems. I sewed a quick seam up the length of the fabric to make a ‘tube’. I think you know what’s coming next – shirring. Three sets of three closely spaced lines of shirring and my dress was done! I had thoughts of doing a dress more complicated or even just cut on the bias, but it was Friday night and the film was on Saturday. Plus, I wanted to watch episode 2 of Gossip Girl. My girl crush on Blair is growing. She is by far the most interesting girl on that show.

I wore my Chie Mihara grey shoes with the dress. They are one of my prized shoe possessions and they were a perfect match to the grey silk dress.

The movie, “Stone of Destiny”, is based on a true story about four university students who plan a heist to steal back the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey in England and return it to Scotland. It’s a sweet, feel good movie and I enjoyed watching it all dressed up in my fancy new dress.

ONE MORE DRESS TO GO! Dress 13 has no shirring, I promise. I’m super excited, as it uses cute Japanese fabric and will be the perfect ‘fall transition’ dress. Perhaps worn with coloured tights? If I can pull that off.


Dress 11

Stylish Dress Book (available at the workroom)
Dress ‘N’ : Mauve Hyakkaryouran Chrysanthemums

Here’s Dress 11, which made it’s debut on the streets of New York City this past weekend. I love the dappled light under the Ginkgo trees in the West Village.

This is another pattern from the Stylish Dress Book. Dress ‘N’ caught my eye right away, but at the beginning of the summer it seemed too summery with all the rainy weather we were having. Field Guided made a gorgeous version of it in grey linen a little while ago that reminded me to try this pattern before the weather turned cool again.

Dress ‘N’ is very simple to make. When tracing out the pattern, I remembered to add seam allowances in all the right places. There are only five pattern pieces to this dress and no sleeves or zipper, so the dress construction is quick. The pattern suggests doing elastic along the back, but I had to follow Field Guided’s brilliant idea of doing shirring. Without the shirring the dress was quite big, so the shirring made all the difference. I tried to do bias tape along the back, but quickly realized that it was too bulky and prevented the shirring from pulling in nicely, so ended up doing a rolled hem. Shirring and rolled hems go hand in hand. I’ve found that a rolled hem is really the perfect finishing when shirring is involved.

The front ruffle is the key feature of the dress. I think anything with a ruffle is fetching. I chose this dark plummy floral fabric with gold detailing and was really pleased with final result. Sometimes a fabric you never would’ve chosen ends up stealing your heart. I love when that happens. This dress was perfect for kicking around Brooklyn, the West Village and NoLita on a sunny day.

It just might be time for me to make a couple of fall-ish dresses to finish off the 13 dress challenge.

I’ve got lots and lots to share with you from our NYC trip, but I’ll need a day or so to compile it all together. The trip was absolutely lovely in every way and I’m totally inspired with thoughts of fun things to make.

Dress 'N' from the Stylish Dress Book


Dress #5 : APC vs karyn, originally uploaded by the workroom.

Dress 5 – APC knock off
Fabric – Red & Blue yarn dyed plaid

I promise to try not to inundate you with too many shirring projects, but hopefully you’re starting to get the sense that it’s really easy and kind of fun. A while back I had bookmarked this cute APC dress from their current summer collection. Of course, I recently realized that I could now make this dress and then I found a very similar blue/red plaid fabric at DFO. It seems a knock-off was in order.

This dress was made much like my silver shirring top. I did a rolled hem edge for the hemming, five lines of shirring spaced 1″ apart and straps that were about 1.5″ wide. The straps and patch pockets were cut on the bias, exactly like the APC version. I think that this is a really sweet detail and totally makes the dress. The APC version has shirring on the pockets too. I attempted to do this but ran into some issues with the pocket bunching up too much and thus tugging on the skirt of the dress in an unattractive way. I’m going to try to remember to use the shirred pocket on another project in the future.

Obviously this brings up the whole issue of knocking stuff off. Is it ever okay to knock off someone else’s design? An independent designer? A corporation? Is it okay for personal use or learning? Clearly it is absolutely, positively wrong to copy someone’s design and then sell it. To me, there is a grey area when it comes to making a copy of something for yourself especially when A. you can’t afford the real thing (because it was designed by Stella McCartney and is $1900) or B. you want to learn a new technique or style.

Clearly, it is something that everyone wants to do. the workroom’s new Knock it off class sells out within hours of being announced. It seems like we all want to copy someone or something. So what do you think – is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery?

Dress #5



Fabric for Shirred Top, originally uploaded by the workroom.

This morning started off with a quick stop off at Kinkos (at Bloor & Spadina) to do some copying. Since it was such a sunny morning, Maisy & I walked down Palmerston to Queen Street and then across to the shop. I couldn’t resist stopping in at Kensington Market Organic Ice Cream even though it was before 11am. Ice cream for breakfast is perfectly acceptable in my world. I got a cone of their cinnamon ice cream, which was super yummy. I think it’s time for me to get out my ice cream maker.

Often times when someone buys the last bit of fabric off the bolt, there is an odd-sized piece left over. People worry they are leaving me with something I won’t be able to sell. What?! Not one bit of fabric goes to waste at the workroom. These odd bits actually go right into my growing collection of fabric. This particular fabric is called Connecting Flowers by Art Gallery Quilts. I’ve been plotting to make something out of this fabric since it arrived, but it keeps selling out. When i was left with .7 metres of this silver grey and yellow treasure last week, I knew just what I was going to do with it.

A while ago, I had read Field Guided’s post on shirring and saw the darling dress she made from some Henry Glass bicycle print fabric. Cute! Then a couple weeks ago Toast ‘n’ Eggs asked me if I could teach her how to do shirring. Now that I’ve done it, I think everyone should! It’s very easy, totally satisfying and the results are impressive.

I thought I would make a wider strap and I like the way they turned out. The straps are 1.5″ wide. I ran the remainder of the fabric through the serger with some silvery embroidery thread to finish the top and bottom edge with a rolled hem. The rolled hem is definitely my favourite finishing technique right now. For the shirring lines, I spaced them 1″ apart and did five of them. All you need to do is hand wind some elastic thread onto your bobbin and use a regular thread up top. I’m addicted. You’ll be seeing more shirring experiments from me for sure. Please try this, it will make you so happy.

A full tutorial for shirring can be found here.

Shirred Top Detail

Shirred top