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Scarlett O'Hara Dress

Added Jul 5, 2010

by nutmeg1

Queens, New York...






The name comes from the fact that I made this dress out of a pair of curtains (green curtains even!). Even though it’s not nearly as involved as it’s namesake.

It was originally two vintage curtains (the fabric looks kinda 60s or 70s) I found at a charity shop. They had the ruffle at the bottom and I was able to preserve that as the hem of the dress. The top I just shirred to make it fit.

Material Notes

cotton curtains




Garment Type
Beach, Casual, Preppy, Vintage

20 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Jul 18, 2010, 02.28 PMby laura oprea

    Super cute! Love the fabric, the color.. Excellent idea!

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    Jul 7, 2010, 03.42 PMby bunnyflower

    This dress is freaking adorable, and I love the fabric choice, and how you named it. :D

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    Jul 7, 2010, 03.41 PMby bunnyflower

    matticrafts: She made the pattern as her bust width, and then cut out two of them, so she ended up using fabric that was twice her bust width.

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    Jul 7, 2010, 01.40 PMby nadyalm

    I’ve not had much success so far, I think my ancient machine may be the reason.. If I loosely wind elastic on bobbin the elastic doesn’t stretch when I sew. Do you think I need to tighten the bobbin so it comes out more slowly and creates the stitch whilst the elastic is stretched? Or do I just need a (better) modern machine? I’ve used so much elastic just trying to get it right! Any advice please :)

    2 Replies
    • Missing

      Jul 7, 2010, 06.25 PMby designsbyamber

      wind the elastic without stretch, sew in a normal stitch then you iron with steam and the elastic shrinks up. the secret is in the ironing after ;)

      cheers and good luck!

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      Jul 8, 2010, 11.23 AMby nutmeg1

      designsbyamber: That is a neat trick! I will have to try that sometime.

      nadyalm: You might want to play around with the tension on your machine if you haven’t already. I don’t adjust it on my machine but maybe that has something to do with it on your machine (how old is ancient??). Other idea: are you using your largest stitch length?

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    Jul 7, 2010, 08.11 AMby misslove

    did you just use a rectangle or was there a pattern to the fabric?

    1 Reply
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      Jul 8, 2010, 11.14 AMby nutmeg1

      No pattern, just 2 rectangles. The ruffle at the hem was already attached to the bottom of the curtain.

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    Jul 6, 2010, 07.36 PMby sungreen13

    Super cute! Those curtains were meant to be a dress, it’s just so perfect! ;) *shirring takes time getting used to. the tutorial posted above by threadbanger is GREAT!

  • Missing

    Jul 6, 2010, 07.18 PMby mpw081096

    How many rows of shirring did you use? It is really a lovely dress! I just passed up a shirred dress at Target because I have tons of fabric and elastic thread at home, and I m determined to master this technique rather than drop $17.99 on a cheap version.

    1 Reply
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      Jul 8, 2010, 11.15 AMby nutmeg1

      I think I used about 20-21. Once you get to about 15 start holding it up to yourself every row or two to get an idea of how it will look on you and stop when you’re happy!

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    Jul 6, 2010, 07.04 PMby mrsmg08

    Really cute dress! I absolutely love it.

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    Jul 6, 2010, 04.07 PMby noadove-1

    That is so fun and cute! Perfect job on the elastic too!

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    Jul 6, 2010, 11.26 AMby laurwyn

    Yeay for curtains! I am the same when I go to charity shops or flea markets, I always look at the weird stuff! You managed to make it look cute and stylish even if it is very comfy too!

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    Jul 6, 2010, 10.30 AMby nikkishell


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    Jul 6, 2010, 05.33 AMby Nessa *

    This is a really lovely summer dress, and you would never know it used to be a pair of ol’ curtains! Great job!

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    Jul 5, 2010, 08.12 PMby violetsky

    I love it when people recycle, making redundent things into amazing creations. I love the colour, it looks fantastic against your skin.

    1 Reply
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      Jul 6, 2010, 01.20 AMby nutmeg1

      Thanks! I’m really getting into upcycling for that reason exactly!

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    Jul 5, 2010, 07.10 PMby momsgotanewhobby

    This is so cute and an excellent example of up-cycling!

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    Jul 5, 2010, 07.08 PMby anniekmcn

    This is so lovely, but I am also at a loss to understand how you do the shirring. Could you explain or maybe Burdastyle could do a How to (please please!)

    3 Replies
    • Dsci0410_large

      Jul 5, 2010, 07.10 PMby momsgotanewhobby

      Shirring is fun once you get the hang of it, lot’s of tutorials out there. Look in the learning area on the site for info on shirring and also at places like e-how for video tutorials.

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      Jul 5, 2010, 10.36 PMby nutmeg1

      Thanks for the comment! Shirring is easier than you think, I promise! Check out this tutorial that helped me get started: http://www.threadbanger.com/episode/THR_20080801

      The key to shirring is buying elastic thread (probably in the notions isle of your craft store). You hand wind that onto your bobbin and put regular thread in the top of your machine, and after that all you have to do is sew straight lines 1/4" away from each other. Use a long stitch length and be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end!

      If that doesn’t help I will be happy to post a tutorial here, just send me a message!

    • Shirley_cover_large

      Jul 8, 2010, 06.12 PMby anniekmcn

      Thanks for the directions to tutorials! I am definitely going to try it – have some fabric set aside for a summer top and really want to use shirring on the back to help the fit. Hopefully it’ll be a success!

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    Jul 5, 2010, 06.33 PMby rifka

    I love the shirring effect. I haven’t had much luck using elastic thread myself. Do you pull it tight when hand winding the bobbin? I’d love some tips as well!

    3 Replies
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      Jul 5, 2010, 10.40 PMby nutmeg1

      Thanks! I didn’t wind it tight when I put it on the bobbin and it seemed to work well. Another tip that I got from a fellow Burdastyle member was to stretch out the previous gathers as you sew your next row of shirring. Sew it using your longest stitch length. Also, be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end!

    • Missing

      Jul 6, 2010, 07.52 PMby ghiadean

      Best is to wind it pretty tight! Once you have sewn in about 5-7 rows depending of course how many you really want to add then pressing the elastic thread area with a steaming iron pulls the thread closer together! Check my blog for other sewing tips! www.whimsycoutureboutique.blogspot.com/

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      Jul 6, 2010, 08.17 PMby matticrafts

      nutmeg1, that’s a terrific tutorial. The only part I didn’t get — she said she used her bust measurement for the width of the pattern. Huh? Seems like I’d need to make it wider. Help?

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    Jul 5, 2010, 06.31 PMby rifka

    I love the shirring effect. I haven’t had much luck using elastic thread myself. Do you pull it tight when hand winding the bobbin? I’d love some tips as well!

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    Jul 5, 2010, 05.51 PMby moonstar

    I like it!

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    Jul 5, 2010, 05.38 PMby Laura Chirita

    How do you sew a top like that? with wlastic thread? I wanna do dresses like that for a long time,but I feel so ignorant that I don’t know the tehnique..can you give me some tips please:)

    1 Reply
    • Dtg2zgrzsuao_5ejh-_ymzbs9qgrlobfcdcgqdqaouygozg11bymcgr1rk4z4i8f_large

      Jul 6, 2010, 01.18 AMby nutmeg1

      Yes you are right – the elastic thread goes on the bobbin (you have to hand wind it). Put regular thread through the top of your machine, set it to a long stitch length and try a row of shirring!

      Here is a good tutorial: http://www.threadbanger.com/episode/THR_20080801

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    Jul 5, 2010, 05.06 PMby aggelicat .)

    pretty pretty pretty! fantastic job:)

    • This is a question
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