Feb 24, 2011

Going SHIRR CrAZy… a refashion

A little overdue I know, but here’s my latest refashion…
finished 2
This one is SO EASY and quick… a super way to turn an old, unloved or thrift find jersey top into a casual and comfy girls or toddler dress.
95% of this project is simply shirring…  with almost no cutting, new seams or exact measurements… therefore I have named it SHIRR-CrAZy!
Here’s what I started with – you could use a any similar top or even an old t-shirt for this…
It was a 75c thrift shop find that was originally a ladies size 16 target branded top… I bought it because it was cheap, I liked the bright colours and fabric plus I was sure I could remake it into something for one of the girls.
1x adult sized top ready for a refashion
Elasticised thread
Sewing machine, thread, scissors (all the usual suspects)
Cut & remove the hem from each sleeve very close to the seam. (This first step is optional… if you don’t have an overlocker or are happy with the sleeve hem you can leave it.) This top had a kind of bias trim running along the hem and it was a bit too heavy for what I wanted to do with the sleeve a little later on…
remove sleeve hem
I then used the overlocker to do a rolled (lettuce type) edge over the sleeve openings to finish where I’d just cut… (start near the seam under the arm so your start and end point isn’t really obvious)
lettuce edging
Use existing neckline as a guide for the start of your shirring.
I started at the front about half an inch in from the neckline….
guide for neckline
I then repeated this shirring line using the presser foot as a guide for row width another 5 times.
This resulted in a shirred neckline, reducing the size and giving a nice ruffle kind of upright collar (a little hard to see or photograph but the finished photo’s show it off better at the end of the post)
neckline shirring
Then using the same shirring technique, shirr lines around the entire waistline (I did 3 lines but you can do more if you wanted or had a wider waist band)…
waistline shirring
Then to finish off the sleeves I shirred about 5 rows over the top half of each sleeve. I didn’t want the shirring to go all the way around so I just lay the sleeve flat and marked the half way point on the front and back of the sleeve.
I sewed my first row about half an inch from the rolled sleeve hem going from the marking over the top of the sleeve to the marking half way down on the back of the sleeve.
sleeve shirring 
Now, at this point I thought I was done and Little Little Miss M was busting to try the dress on…
almost done
Yep, a fine example of bed hair… but as you can see in this next picture the waistline didn’t sit quite right with just the neckline shirred…
waistline effect
It sits high at the centre of the waist where the neckline gathers hold it up… So I decided to shirr the whole remainder of the front panel rows fanning out from the top outer shoulder seam. This seemed to make the dress sit better….
SO… Now its time for a victory dance!!!
Here’s the finished dress… (this time on Big Little Miss M – we nearly had WW3 over who was going to wear it!)
You can see the collar and sleeve better in these pics…
finished neck&sleeve

finished 2
Big Little
I hope you liked it, maybe even enough to give it a go yourself! If you want a little more detail on how I do my shirring (so many people seem to have there own way, so whatever works for you on your machine) click HERE for another refashion that has a little more detail contained within it regarding shirring.
I’d love to know what you think… I ♥ comments, followers, feedback ….
And just cause I love them to bits, here’s both my girls having some fun in the sun in a couple of homemade dresses!
the girls

Some totem tennis… (I loved this when I was a kid!)
totem tennis
And I love this one, Little Little Miss M looks lost in there… makes me want to say… “Take care… It’s a jungle out there!”
its jungle...
So, till next time…
Cheers xoxo


  1. WOW!!!! I had tried shirring but I can't ever get it quite right... So, this project AMAZES me. :)


  2. This is super cute! Thanks for sharing... I hope to try this someday, have never worked with elastisized thread...

  3. Unfortunately there are no little girls within cooee of here! But I will store this in my memory bank..'cos you never know one day. Your little girls look adorable in their handmade dresses.

  4. LOVE!!!! Way cute :)

  5. Oh my freaking gosh! These two are too stinking adorable and I just LOVE the dress! Amazing as always! Thanks for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party!

  6. Oh this is superb! I love the style and the colours etc. I just LOVE it!!!

  7. Very cute! I can't believe you could just shir it all to fit her. Did you cut it as well? I wish my machine could be that awesome..my shirring stinks :(

  8. Looks great!! I love shirring. So fast and looks wonderful. Great job!

  9. Darling! I hadn't thought to use an adult shirt without cutting it down first. Thanks for the tute!

  10. Love it! I have a few shirts in that style in my upcycling pile. I thought I was goig to cut them up, but I might have to give this a try.

  11. Oh my gosh. How adorable! And, your girls are gorgeous! Great job!!

    :)rachel from SunScholars.blogspot.com

  12. That is FABULOUS!! Great job! I am feeling very inspired by a bag of way too big stuff that can be very much refashioned so cute like this!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

  13. cute dress, and cute girls!!!!:-)

  14. I love this! Now I need an overlocker. thanks for stopping by upcycled awesome!

  15. ¡I love this dress¡ god job and thanks for sharing. I'll try to do it for my little girls.

  16. This is so cute!!! I see v-neck shirts like that all the time at thrift stores! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  17. This is so cute! I love what you did with the neckline.


  18. thanks for sharing. I just happen to have a top that I might try this on for one of my girls.


  19. Love it!!! Shirring is not that bad, isn't it? Visit my blog for some TUTORIALS on how to shir:)

  20. Very nice. I just might have to try this.

  21. This is absolutely gorgeous! I'm so scared to try shirring! I know I'm going to just have to give it a try though, I love the look of it! Thanks so much for posting this tutorial!

  22. Absolutely sweet and charming. Never thought of using shirring this way. Thanks so much!


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