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Shirred Sun Dress

Added Oct 18, 2009

by knittingand

Nowra, Australia




  • Dsc08374_grid


Shirred sun dress made from a souvenir sarong.

I fought hard with my machines to sew the shirring. I tried the sewing machine and couldn’t get it to gather. Then I tried the chain stitch on my overlocker and the elastic snapped. I ended up sewing 14 rows of 3.5mm long and 3.5mm wide zig-zag stitch with my sewing machine and threaded the elastic through it on the wrong side. An inelegant solution but it looks fine on the outside :)

Things I will try are loosening the tension on the chain stitch looper on the overlocker to the point where the elastic doesn’t break any more and see if that gathers. I’ve also seen the hint that if you have a sewing machine with a drop in bobbin, to try putting the bobbin in the other way around.

My shirring rows are approximately 1.5cm apart and 5cm longer than the measurement from underarm to the point where I wanted it to finish. Elastic was cut 5cm shorter than the under bust measurement (don’t worry if it shrinks after cutting).

Material Notes

A polyester souvenir sarong from Vanuatu. Wish I had gone there but I bought it from the op-shop for $6.50 :)




Garment Type
Beach, Casual


Everyone on the internet who has made a shirred sun dress :)

3 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • P1010002_large

    Apr 18, 2010, 03.40 AMby dottii1

    Re shirring. Some machines just dont like to do it. I use my 40 year old singer starmaker..perfect every time. My modern Brother machine wont play at all. the THREAD BRAND of the shirring elastic makes a difference. They vary in weight. Heavier elastic thread is better for most fabrics. Fine elastic thread is too soft for anything but the lightest fabric and effect. do try different brands before you give up. Shirring can also be done if you have a cover stitch utility on your overlocker. use the elastic thread in the cover looper. Adjust tensions and stitch lengths on samples. Also be sure to try different brands of shirring elastic. it wil make a difference.

  • Dscf9825_large

    Feb 11, 2010, 08.16 PMby cottonsilk

    I want to learn to do shirring… it scares me… you did a great job here… any tips you can share will be more than welcome…. Thanks!

    1 Reply
    • Mee-ow_large

      Feb 12, 2010, 12.30 AMby knittingand

      I’m afraid I couldn’t get it to work on my machine. I’m going to try my daughter’s one and see if that works.

      I’ve since found out that you should steam it after sewing to get it to shrink…

  • 718839f1e666b60ba89825066c66b0e93b61e21c_large

    Nov 26, 2009, 05.20 AMby ink

    Wow I felt your pain with the shirrring on this dress. Turned out beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and congrat’s …:-)

    Shirring is hard!…….. I am scared to try it!!!

    • This is a question
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