shirred toddler dress from skirt

I picked up this skirt at a rummage sale months ago. It sat with my other clothes for some time, but when I brought it out for spring I realized it wasn’t really something I would wear. But I did love the colorful embroidery on it.

And then I came across this tutorial and realized the skirt would make a perfect toddler dress. Even after I knew what I wanted to do with the skirt, it still sat around for a few more months until last weekend. Our big family get-together is coming up this weekend, and I wanted to have this project ready to give to my aunt and my little cousin Emma (who is walking now) in person. The dress came together so quickly, despite the shirring I’d feared.

non-problematic shirring!

The width of the embroidered part of the skirt (the outer front layer; it was lined) was wide enough to make the dress. I cut the front embroidered piece and the outer back off of the skirt since the material was so thin that it needed two layers.

I liked the serged edges, especially since I don’t have a serger and can’t do it myself, so I kept the edges raw on the top and bottom. I sewed each layer closed separately and hid the seams inside, then pinned them carefully together before I started shirring.

I considered solid straps instead of ties, but the last thing I made for Emma (see photo and post) was a little tight around the arms, so the ties will allow this dress to grow with her as she springs up like a weed.

I made the ties like I would make double fold bias tape and topstitched so I wouldn’t have to turn a tiny tube.

Instead of the shirring the way it is done in the tutorial, I just sewed around in a spiral with the elastic thread following in this tutorial for a shirred skirt that I’ve made before.

back view

The ties are attached on the outside of the back to hide a spot on this pre-loved skirt. Fingers crossed that it fits!

I’m so happy with the way the bright colors stand out on the white in this dress. I can’t wait to see all my family this weekend!


13 thoughts on “shirred toddler dress from skirt

  1. Sherry says:

    This is a darling little dress and I’m sure Emma will look adorable wearing it. Have a wonderful time with your family this weekend!

  2. SO cute! I think shirring is the only thing I have yet to try… it scares the beejesus out of me! Great dress you made, very inspiring!

    • Shirring seems nerve-wracking, and I almost put off finishing the dress because of it. It’s really just sewing in a straight line with elastic thread in the bobbin! I was amazed at how simple it was and how pretty it ends up looking.

      The only problem I had was I didn’t wind enough thread on the bobbin at a time and kept having to refill the bobbin (three times). I hope you try it!

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