So, it's been almost a year of blogging, and I FINALLY get to post my first sewing tutorial. You probably wouldn't think that I actually do sewing and alterations as a side job, would you!?!
It's a basic 4-piece pattern that, if your shirring goes without a hitch, is quick to cut out and whip together. Trust me... I did this in less than a day... and that's between changing diapers, making meals, chasing a toddler, kissing boo-boos, and playing hide and seek, among other things!
Fabric - 1 meter (around 1 yard) should be more than enough (lightweight cottons work the best)
T-shirt that fits well (for template)
Ribbon - for trim, optional!
Basic Supplies - measuring tape, pins, sewing machine
Step 1 - Cutting the Pieces:
Fold your fabric in half along the grain, and then in half again lengthwise (you should have 4 layers of fabric, with a long folded edge).
Take your t-shirt, and place it about 3 or 4 inches in from the folded edge of the fabric.
Using chalk, trace the neckline, from the foldline straight across and up, stopping about 1 " from the shoulder seam (where the shirt would hit the collarbone).
Flip the sleeve to the front, and trace from the armpit up to the neckline (the collar-bone area you just marked), in a loose J-shape.
To decide how long you'd like to make it, measure your little model from the armpit down to the hemline.
I wanted mine about 10" long from the armpit, so I added an extra inch, and marked it at 11". Cut your hem on a slight curve. (You can see my faint chalk line at the bottom).
And then along the sleeve line:
When you get to the armpit, cut straight down about 2", then straight across the bottom.
When unfolded, you should now have two pieces that look like this:
Continue shirring up the front toward the neckline, spacing your rows about 1/2" apart. Stop when you are about 1" - 1.5" away from the cut neckline edge.
Repeat for the other piece.
Step 3: Sewing it all Together!
Finish your sleeve hems:
Finish your hem edge with a zig-zag, serge, or press under slightly. Turn about 1/4", press, and stitch in place.
For the optional ribbon trim, simply pin in place just above the hem stitching. Stitch up both sides of the ribbon, staying as close to the edges as possible.
Now pin your sleeve to your bodice piece, 'J'-shapes lined up, right sides together. You may need to flatten out the bodice piece with your fingers, if the shirring is making it scrunch together.
Do the same with the other side...
and now stitch the other bodice piece on, the same way. This is what it should look like, turned right-side out.
Sew up the sides, pivoting at the armpit, and continue to sew the little sleeve seam.
You're at the home stretch now!
Finish your neck edge, and then turn over 1/4" and press in place.
Do two rows of shirring all the way around the neck edge, quite close together. Mine were less than 1/4" apart. Make sure to catch the pressed edge - you'll be anchoring the hem at the same time as you're adding the shirring.
Now press your bottom hem up 1", and stitch in place. Add your ribbon trim at this point also, in the same way you did for the sleeves.
All that's left to do is press your seams, hit the shirring with a shot of steam, and hand-stitch a pretty little bow at the neckline.