I wanted something special and handmade for my daughter's first Christmas so I drafted up a simple dress pattern. As complicated as they look they are really quite quick and shirring is totally addictive!
This is the tutorial for the shirring
and it worked a treat. My only issue (that was ongoing for about an hour before I face-palmed at my oversight) was that the elastic in the bobbin was not feeding correctly, the elastic was pulled out of its little niche in the bobbin holder and this caused the elastic thread to bunch up on the underside of the fabric. Once I kept an eye on the bobbin, ensuring the thread was in place the shirring went like a breeze.
I kept my thread length at about 2 and had my bobbin tension around 2.5 on my Janome MyExcel machine. It took very little practise to find the thread length and bobbin tension that worked best.
I made 7 dresses in total and an extra top for Christmas day. The top is a little different and a bit fancier but once you have made the basic dresses, you will see how the top was made. The first dress was a bit long, my daughter is only nine months and not walking yet so I didn't want something that would catch her legs. My first attempt was also too slim. It fit fine in the chest but it was not roomy enough to accommodate a nappy bum!
This is my favourite fabric
All the fabrics I used
Here is the tutorial, it is also available via the Hand Made-n's blog
if you have trouble viewing it on page.
I used clearance quilting fabrics for these. They are all 100% cotton and beautiful, vibrant prints; a far cry from the boring pastel pink numbers in store!