The Most Flattering Shirt Dress DIY

Hello my Hot Mess Mommy friends. Ever feel like little girls get all the cute dresses? Well, now it’s your turn. I fell in love with this native-american-esque print gauze forever ago and finally decided to just cut into it. It’s a simple v-neck shirred waist dress, flattering because:  V-necks take the attention away from your giant post-baby boobs, and a shirred waist is never too tight and can be placed at your skinniest part (flabby baby belly=hidden).  You can totally make this.

If you need to get your bearings for shirring with elastic thread check out the Simple Shirred Summer Dress pattern and the Smocked Sundress pattern, then come back here for the full tutorial on sewing yourself The Most Flattering Shirt Dress after the jump…

The Most Flattering Shirt Dress

1. Grab a dress that fits you well that doesn’t have stretch.  Fold your fabric in half (i had two yards but depending on your size and the length you want, you could use 1.5 yards).  Fold your dress in half and lay it on top with the folds lined up.  Cut a big rectangle around it, adding width to the waist and several inches to the length.  Cut a little 1/4″ notch where the bottom of the armhole should go:

2.  This is the back panel of your dress, so also cut a high neckline.  You don’t need to add extra room here for a seam or anything, but do add a 1/4″ at the shoulder:

3.  Using your first panel as a guide, cut another panel the same size for the front of your dress.  Cut a nice v-neck shape into this panel and also notch where the bottom of the armhole should be.  Your final neckline will be the same shape as your cut, so you don’t need to add a seam allowance. Hold it up to your chest and make sure your boobs aren’t hanging out:

4.  Pin your two panels right sides facing at the shoulders:

Sew each shoulder together and finish the edges by serging, sewing with a zig zag stitch, or cutting with pinking shears:

Now we want to sew up the sides, so just check that your notches marking the bottom of the armholes line up and pin:

Then sew up both sides and finish the seams (of course stopping at the armhole notch.  I know you probably wouldn’t sew your armholes closed but it’s worth a reminder):

5. Now grab your single fold bias tape.  Unfold it and starting at the back of the neckline, align one edge to the right side of the dress and pin in place, all the way around the neckline:

on the front at the point of the V just let it stick out like this:

Sew in place along the fold:

Snip the excess off at the v:

Turn your dress inside out and flip the bias tape around to the inside, folding it back up.  Pin in place:

Sew it on along the edge of the bias tape:

6.  Repeat the same bias tape process on both armholes:

7.  Now it is time to turn your dress inside out and try it on.  It’s going to be kind of tent like.  Put a belt on and adjust the dress so you like the way it looks with the belt, making sure the side seams are actually at your sides.  Put a pin on each side above the belt and below the belt.  This is marking where you are going to shirr:

Also mark where you want your hem line to be with a pin on each side.

8.  Now let’s hem before shirring, it’s easier.  For this gauze I thought a thick hemline would be nice, and add a little weight to keep it from flying up. I made mine too short as you can see in the pics, so don’t be in a rush, try it on a few times to be sure. So I trimmed my dress a bit, folded 1/4″ and ironed, then folded 3″ and ironed, and sewed in place:

9.  Now the waist.  Use a ruler and a washable marker to draw a straight line across the dress from the top pin that you marked on the left to the right.  Repeat on the front and back of the dress.  If you are nervous about sewing in a straight line, you can keep drawing lines all the way down to the bottom pin that you marked.  Or you can just draw one at the bottom pin marking so you have a clear idea when to stop shirring:

10.  With elastic thread in your bobbin and sewing thread in a coordinating color on your spool, sew across all the way around your dress at the top line.  Back stitch at the beginning and end of each row, but you don’t have to cut the thread between lines.  Continue sewing shirring lines 5/8″ or so apart until you’ve shirred the entire waist that you marked (I did five lines):

11.  Try the dress on.  I found the area from under the arm to the shirred waist was a little puffy for my taste, so I turned the dress inside out and took it in a little by sewing diagonally from the top of the shirred waist to the armhole.  You decide.  You can also rock it with a belt and a sexy look on your face like this:

Girl you are done!

Go play!   And if you just aren’t ready for a shirred waist, check out our Hot Mess Mommy Tunic Dress.



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[…] to make it for awhile-I have a chambray dress that’s similar (never blogged), and I used the Prudent baby tutorial that’s similar, but it’s nice when someone can do all the drafting etc for you, […]


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