inserting a shirred back panel

i know summer sewing is winding up, but i recently became addicted to shirring and wanted to show you how i incorporated it into dresses for two of my girls recently. it turns out, adding a shirred panel to the back of a dress is pretty easy.

here’s a pictorial (with poor lighting… sorry. one day i’ll remedy this situation.)

i have cut the panel to be shirred out of the shell and
lining, stitched and understitched at the top


sew rows of shirring at 1/4-1/2″ intervals


stitch down each side, back stitching several times over each elastic


finish the raw edges and snip the extra threads


i have the rest of the bodice sewn, however you could
just have the back side panels by themselves


pin shirring to bodice shell, lining up the top edges


pull the lining over the shirred panel, pin and stitch


trim and snip the top corner


pull the shirred panel out, turning the bodice right side out


repeat on other side


attach the skirt and finish the waist seam allowance


sew narrow elastic to the skirt seam allowance


back stitch both ends to secure


no more wavy edge


hidden waist elastic


all done!


i should note, you can also make a casing at the lower edge of the shirred panel to feed elastic through instead of zig-zagging in the seam allowance. the kids dresses turned out great. so great that i decided i needed to make something similar for myself. i’ll show all the finished dresses in another post because this one has enough pics as it is!

BIG NEWS!!!

okay, not really. but i just want to put this out there. i will be making a winter coat this year. i was chatting with my lovely sister who also sews and i mentioned that i need a new coat and really want to sew one this year. she mentioned that she also would like to make one and i said she and i can have a little sew-a-long to help each other through it. then i figured, why not take this public? i don’t plan to offer expert advise (because i have none) but i thought if anyone else out there is sewing up a winter coat, we can all hold hands and do this together!

i don’t plan to start this project until late-ish september and probably have a finished coat by mid-ish october. so if anyone is inspired to join in, i thought i’d put this out there plenty early. so there you have it. a winter coat not-quite-sew-a-long! feel free to spread the message on your own blogs, i completely welcome the advice and knowledge of those who have already ventured into coat-making territory!

—lisa g.

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11 thoughts on “inserting a shirred back panel

  1. Katie M says:

    I realise you posted this quite a while ago, but I had a quick question. I’m drafting a quick dress pattern for my girls, and to make things easier (and avoid the hassle of zips), I want to make the back panel shirred. Do you have any advice on how much wider you should cut the fabric than the actual panel width. Some bloggers suggest 1.5x and some suggest 2x. I’m working with a medium-light weight cotton, and don’t plan to line it.

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