I'd been a bit stuck on what exactly to make, and only knew that I wanted to try out some shirring. Then Pam from Threading My Way suggested shirring on sleeves! It reminded me of this gorgeous velvet top I've owned for years, but never wear:
The reason I don't wear it is because it's dry clean only! Also the shirring at the waist has worn so it doesn't stretch properly anymore. Boo.
So I decided to make a more casual, washing machine-friendly version!
It can be worn on or off the shoulders.
Here's how I put it together:
I hadn't tried shirring properly before (my one and only attempt went abysmally wrong) so I did a quick search for shirring tutorials and found a great one at Ruffles And Stuff.
To make a pattern for this top, I simply drew around the original top, stretching it out at the neckline and sleeves where its shirred.
Once I had the patterns drawn up and cut out, I went ahead and cut out the pieces. I made the patterns so that the front and back were cut on the fold.
Then I used tailors chalk to mark out the shirring lines on the right side of the fabric.
I did the shirring first. I hand-wound the shirring elastic onto the bobbin, being careful I didn't stretch it!
Taking the advice from the tutorial, I used the longest stitch on the machine. I set the thread tension to about half-way.
After shirring, I used a steam iron on the fabric.
Then I sewed up the sides and sleeves, fixed the sleeves to the bodice and hemmed both bodice and sleeves.
I think the original top had elastic running through the neck and the top of the sleeves. I decided to shirr it instead, since I had the shirring elastic in the machine :)
This project took me about 6 1/2 hours altogether. The top turned out slightly short for my taste but looks nice with jeans!
Here's the back view:
I wore the top out shopping today and got a bunch of compliments on it!
I still have a lot of this fabric left, so now I'm thinking of making a maxi dress or maxi skirt as well.
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