Saturday, April 09, 2011

Shirred Beach Towel Dress

Other Summer Sewing Tutorials:
Last summer, I saw this idea of converting a beach towel into a dress on Dana's blog.   I knew this was a perfect project for me when I found beach towels on clearance at Target at the end of last summer.  I used one of those towels to make a dress for my friend Stephanie's birthday, but failed to get a picture of it.  :(

The towels stayed on a shelf in my sewing room until tonight.  I made a mini-version of this dress for a little three-year-old girl's birthday today.  The towel is solid pink, so I used lime green ribbon for the straps and lime green thread for the shirring and the hem.

Shirring is so easy with elastic thread.  Dana explains most of this in the original tutorial, so I won't go in depth here, but my one piece of advice would be to not get discouraged when sewing.  Yes, you must sew a lot of rows.  (I sewed 15 rows for the little girl dress and 30 rows for the adult dress.)  Use your presser foot as a guide to keep your rows straight.  Once you're done, sew the back seam and hem if needed, and then watch the magic of elastic thread!  I was so excited when I first did this with my steam iron.... it is amazing to watch the steam actually shrink the thread and make the shirring beautiful! 

For the hem, I used three rows of lime green thread for an added touch of detail.

You'll just have to imagine how adorable this dress will look on our three-year-old friend until I get some photos of her wearing it.  I also have hopes to make my daughter one of these soon (and maybe one for mommy, too!). 
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  1. What a cute idea for a beach cover-up with summer heat coming! Thanks for sharing...

    Blessings ~

  2. I remember you talking about this last summer. It really turned out cute!! I love the green with the pink. Love it!!

  3. When you did the adult one do you know what size towel you bought? Did you cut it down any or just sew the ends together and then shir the top?

  4. Hi Lisa! I bought a regular size beach towel and didn't cut it down at all. I shirred it first (down the long sides) and then put the two short sides together. I added arm straps so the seam would be in the back. I gave that one away, but I'm hoping to make myself one soon and will certainly post it.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. here's mine!

  6. What type of tread, I tought myself to sew and am not familar with elastic tread. Is there a special needle or bobbin used? I think the dress is adorable and would like to make a few as gifts;

  7. Hi Shela,

    no special needle or bobbin required. I highly recommend this tutorial on shirring:

    let me know if you have any more questions. I think you'll find it very easy and quite addicting, too! :)



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