We are in for a treat today, everyone! I’m pleased to welcome An of Straight Grain for our Best of Summer series. You may remember that An has offered some of her patterns for the giveaway going on right now. Don’t miss the chance to win one of her incredible patterns! Thank you so much for joining us, An!
Hi everyone! I’m An from StraightGrain, and I’m thrilled to be a guest in Caila’s newest series! For deciding which pattern to review for this series, I just looked at which Summer dress I made most often. And it turned out that the only Summer dress pattern which I used more than once, is not really a pattern, but a tutorial.
About four years ago, acclaimed fabric designer Heather Ross shared a tutorial for an adorable sundress on Martha Stewart. It is nothing more than a simple rectangle, with a horizontal strip is shirring along the entire width, and little ribbons to hold the dress up. In other words, the ideal project for a beginning sewer: no zipper, no buttons, no sleeves, no gathering. The shirring itself is also very simple: just wind elastic thread in your bobbin instead of regular thread, sew about 8 lines (foot width apart) and iron with a lot of steam afterwards to make it ‘shrink’ even more. Depending on your machine, you might have to experiment a bit with how tight you need to wind the elastic around your bobbin, so always try on a separate piece of fabric first. As I have shared somewhere before, when I started sewing, I never had the intention to sew clothes (ha!), but for this simple sundress, I thought I’d make an exception. So, the first dress I ever sewed was made with this tutorial. I used a super cheap gingham fabric, which is completely not my taste anymore.
This first attempt was not a very good version – the shirring is too far from the top edge of the dress, which creates a campy ruffled effect. For the next versions, I had learned my lesson. The second dress was made in a beautiful white pintucked fabric. Instead of halter straps, I opted for little bows on the shoulders.
For the third dress, I also used a simple white fabric (broderie anglaise), and I chose yet another option for the straps.