sew gorgeous shirred dress

Master the Art of Sewing a Ravishingly Gorgeous Shirred Dress

It’s easy to create a stylish, shirred dress! This blog shows you how to do it in simple steps.

  • Shirred dresses have stretchy, ruched fabric that’s both comfy and fashionable.
  • This sewing project uses elastic thread to create the shirred look.
  • You’ll need basic sewing skills and just a few materials.
  • Ready to make a gorgeous, shirred dress for yourself? Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

What You'll Need
  • Light to medium-weight woven fabric (about 2-3 yards)
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic thread
  • Sewing scissors
  • Pins or clips
  • Iron and ironing board

Preparing the Fabric

First, prewash and iron your fabric so it’s ready to sew. Next, decide how long you want the dress to be and cut out two rectangular pieces – one for the front and one for the back.

The width of each rectangle should be the measurement around your bust/chest plus a few extra inches. The length is up to you, but knee length is a popular option.

Setting Up the Sewing Machine

To create the stretchy shirring, you’ll need to use elastic thread in the bobbin and regular thread on top. It’s important to wind the bobbin by hand slowly and evenly so the elastic thread doesn’t get overstretched or tangled.

Once threaded, increase the tension slightly on the top thread and decrease the bobbin tension a little. This helps the bobbin thread scrunch up nicely.

Sewing the Shirring Rows

Sewing the Shirring Rows

Sew long rows of parallel straight stitches down the fabric rectangle, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Make sure to leave a few inches at the top and bottom un-shirred for seams.

After each row, gently pull the fabric taut from both ends to gather up the elastic thread underneath. Keep repeating this until the whole piece is shirred. Secure the thread tails well.

Table: Suggested Shirring Spacing

Front piece:Back piece:
Rows spaced 1/2 inch apart.Rows spaced 3/4 inch apart (for less gathering at the back)

Assembling the Dress

Once both pieces are shirred, finish the dress following basic instructions:

  1. Sew shoulder seams
  2. Sew side seams
  3. Hem neckline, sleeves, and bottom


What fabrics work best for a shirred dress?

Light to medium-weight woven fabrics like cotton, rayon, or lightweight linen are ideal.

How do I adjust the shirring spacing?

Adjust row spacing closer for more gathering and further apart for less shirring.

Can I add sleeves or pockets?

Yes, you can modify the basic pattern to include sleeves, pockets, or other design elements.

What’s the best way to finish the neckline and hems?

A simple double-fold hem or bias tape binding works well.

How stretchy should the elastic thread be?

Use a slightly stretchy, high-quality polyester elastic thread for best results.

Can I use regular thread instead of elastic?

The regular thread won’t create the stretchy, ruched shirring effect.

Wearing Your Shirred Creation!

And there you have it – a flowy, comfy, shirred dress to feel great in! Accessorize with sandals, jewelry, or a jean jacket. What did you think of this project? Easy enough for a beginner sewer?

Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions! I’m happy to explain further in simple terms.


Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 285

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