How To Make A Shirred Maxi Dress With Free Pattern

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I have a cute and fun dress sewing project for your today! I’m going to show you How To Make A Shirred Maxi Dress With Free Pattern. This dress is a sure stunner! With its playful ruffle and length options, paired with the shoe of choice this dress can take you from errands to exquisite in no time. You can make this dress with a long standard maxi hem or you can shorten it and add a ruffle for a flirtier feel. I love shirred dresses and when my friend, Debbie, showed this to me I fell in love. This sewing project is great if you are comfortable using a sewing pattern and comfortable sewing different materials. You can make this in about an hour. If you love making your own clothing, this is a great sewing project to add to your collection. I have quite the diy wardrobe and this point and I love when people ask me where I bought my outfit when it is something I have made. Pick out some fabric you love to make this dress. You can use soft cottons, chambray, gauze, rayon, or types silk to make your dress comfortable for all day wear. 

One of the unique supplies you’ll need for this sewing project is elastic thread. This is how you will make the elastic sections your dress, the shirred sections. It is important not to miss the change over in the steps below. Gather up the rest of your supplies and let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:


Size Chart:

Imperial (inches)SmallMediumLarge
Chest343638
Waist283032
Hip384042

The finished length of the dress is approximately 33” for knee-length or 48” for maxi length. This pattern is drafted for a height of 5’ 4”- 5” 5”. Looking for a bigger or smaller size of this pattern? Then check out our post on Pattern Grading

Printing Instructions

This shirred maxi dress pattern has layers so that you can choose to print only the size you need. To achieve this Adobe Reader must be installed on your machine or device. Adobe Reader allows you to click on the layers icon which will show you each size with an eyeball beside it. Click on the eyeball beside the size you do not want to print. Before printing check that your printer is set to No scaling or Actual size. Set the Page orientation to Auto or Portrait. And then print page 1. Measure the 2” test square to see if it measures exactly 2”. If it does, print the remaining pages.

Trimming Pages

Cut off the right and top margins of each printed page before assembling the pattern. You can use tape or school glue to adhere your paper pattern together. 

Pattern Assembly

After the pages have been printed and trimmed as instructed above, use the quarter circles located at the corner of each page for perfect alignment.  When done your pattern should look like this: 

Pattern Pieces Checklist

Once you have printed and assembled your pattern you will cut:

  • Dress – Cut two on fold
  • Ruffles – Cut two on fold (optional)

Seam Allowance

Use a 3/8” seam allowance unless otherwise instructed.

How To Make A Shirred Maxi Dress With Free Pattern

The first step in this how to make a shirred maxi dress with free pattern sewing tutorial is to wash, dry, and iron your fabric. This process acts as a preshrink for your fabric and softens it up. Pressing it makes it easier to get nice smooth cuts with your rotary cutter. Once you have done that, use the included free patten to cut out your fabric.

Fold your dress fabric in half right sides together and pin. Sew.

If adding ruffles, pin the two ruffle pieces right sides together and sew at the short ends.  

Use a 3/8” seam allowance to sew the end.

Finish the raw edges with a zigzag stitch or serger.

Next on this diy shirred maxi dress project, we will work on the hem. Double fold the hem of the ruffle by 1/2” and sew. 

Double fold the top of the dress by 1/2” and sew.  Repeat if you are doing a simple hem (no ruffle).

Mark the dress and ruffle and divide into quarters.

Set your sewing machine to the longest straight stitch and sew a basting stitch at the top of the ruffle. Leave long threads at the end of the stitch.

Take one of the long threads left and pull on it, the fabric will start to gather. With the dress and the ruffle right sides together, align the quarter points and rearrange the ruffles. You will gather until it is the same width as the bottom of the dress.

Sew the ruffle to the dress using the same seam allowance as before, rearranging the ruffles as you sew to make sure they remain even. 

Now on this shirred maxi dress sewing tutorial, we need to change out our bobbin. Wound your bobbin with elastic thread, you will slightly pull on the thread as you wound it on the bobbin and replace the bobbin in the sewing machine. You will sew the rest of the passes with elastic thread.

Align your presser foot with the stitch line at the dress top and start sewing around the entire dress. The fabric will start to show signs of gathering. I suggest starting to sew from the seam line in the dress. When you get back to where you started, slightly sew downward and continue for the next line using the first line as a guide for your presser feet. 

You will sew as many rows as you think you need. You can measure from your upper bust to waist and mark on the dress or you may measure from the upper bust to the underbust and sew that many lines.

And that’s it! Now you know how to make a shirred maxi dress with free pattern! We hope you enjoyed this fun sewing tutorial. This is a beautiful dress and you can make it like the one above or with a ruffled tier as shown below. I love the customization of the dress and it will be great for any occasion.

Alternative ruffle hem for your dress.

If you liked learning how to make a shirred maxi dress with free pattern, make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board or share it with friends on social media. If you decide to make this simple project on your own, make certain that you take a picture afterward and tag us on social media as we love seeing the fabrics and color choices that people use!

Yield: 1

How To Make A Shirred Maxi Dress With Free Pattern

Shirred Maxi Dress Create Card

Sew this cute dress perfect for summer. Such a fun dress to make.

Active Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Difficulty Moderate
Estimated Cost $15.00

Instructions

  1. Use pattern to cut out fabric pieces.
  2. Fold your dress fabric in half right sides together and pin. Sew.
  3. If adding ruffles, pin the two ruffle pieces right sides together and sew at the short ends.  
  4. Finish the raw edges with a zigzag stitch or serger.
  5. Double fold the hem of the ruffle by 1/2” and sew. 
  6. Double fold the top  of the dress  by 1/2” and sew.  
  7. Repeat if you are doing a simple hem (no ruffle)
  8. Mark the dress and ruffle and divide into quarters
  9. Set your sewing machine to the longest straight stitch and sew a basting stitch at the top of the ruffle . Leave long threads at the end of the stitch.
  10. "Take one of the long threads left and pull on it , the fabric will start to gather. 
  11. With the dress and the ruffle right sides together, align the quarter points and rearrange the ruffles  .You will gather until it is the same width as the bottom of the dress.
  12. Sew the ruffle to the dress rearranging the ruffles as you sew to make sure they remain even. 
  13. "Wound your bobbin with elastic thread, you will slightly pull on the thread as you wound it on the bobbin and replace the bobbin in the sewing machine. You will sew you.
  14. Align your presser foot with the stitch line at the dress top and start sewing around the entire dress. The fabric will start to show signs of gathering. I suggest starting to sew from the seam line in the dress. When you get back to where you started, slightly sew downward and continue for the next line using the first line as a guide for your presser feet. 
  15. You will sew as many rows as you think you need. You can measure from your upper bust to waist and mark on the dress or you may measure from the upper bust to the under bust and sew that many lines.
  16. Enjoy!

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