You will need:
- Two Bandanas (mine measured 20" x 20", and were $1.99 each at Hobby Lobby)
- One roll Elastic thread (available at WalMarts that still sell fabric, or at fabric stores - $0.97 at WalMart)
- Regular thread to coordinate with the background of your bandana
- Ribbon for around the neck
- My daughter is 27 months old and weighs about 25 lbs. She is 34 inches tall. This dress would likely be too long and would require a hem on anyone shorter than 34".
- Measure from under your child's armpits down their chest. Note where you would like the shirring (the elastic thread) to stop. My child measured 4".
- Plan to have enough ribbon to tie behind their neck, or you could make two traditional shoulder straps or a cross in the back- be creative!
These bandanas were $1.99 each.
Next, remove any tags or price stickers from your bandanas.
Place bandanas RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER on your worktable.
Using regular thread to match the background of your bandans, sew down ONE side of the bandanas. If you bandanas have a direction, make sure you are sewing a side seam and not the neck or hem of the dress. Remember to only sew down ONE side.
The top of your machine is threaded with regular thread - whatever closely matches your bandana background. Only the bobbin is threaded with elastic thread.
I sewed 13 rows total, which was four inches.
Make sure to leave plenty of string at the end of each row. Many tutorials say you need to tie your top and bobbin thread together at the end of the row - I have personally never done this and not had a problem. However, if you cut your strings too short you would have it retract back into the stitch and that would be no good!
It has also been my experience that different brands of elastic thread tend to shirr differently. So, if you have a small amount on an old roll, I would NOT try to use that piece and then pair it with another brand. Your dress may not look uniform.
There is an excellent tutorial on shirring with elastic thread here.
So, now that your shirring is done, you will need to remove your elastic thread bobbin and replace it with the bobbin thread that matches your top thread.
Pin the remaining side seam of your dress with right sides together and sew the second side seam.
After this seam is done, you may clip all the excess elastic thread and regular thread strings.
Now you have a beautiful strapless dress!
I chose to add a ribbon to tie in the back - halter style, but you can do whatever you want. Traditional straps, criss cross in the back, anything really - do whatever works with the stash you have and the girl for which you are sewing.
- Use the tutorial here to make a matching pair of bloomers with a third bandana
- Add a ruffle to the bottom if you need more length