I made the dress! Actually, I'm finishing up my second one; I only have to add the straps. I can see many more of these dresses in my future. This will probably be pretty much all you'll see me in this Summer. It couldn't be more perfect. It might even make me hate these horrendous South Texas Summers just a little bit less. It's that good.
I did have a bit of a problem with the shirring/smocking, though. The instructions were easy enough. I even got some additional help from the video and this great tutorial, but for some reason, the elastic thread just didn't want to shrink up for me.
This was the best I could get after Heather Ross' recommended steaming plus a good soaking in hot water and a high heat dry. I'm pretty sure I did everything right. I didn't wind my bobbin too tight, used a longer stitch length, tension seemed fine, I even tried two different kinds of elastic thread, but all I ended up with was a little texture at the top and not much real stretch at all. Here is the underside. Any clues where I went wrong?
Shockingly, it worked out fine for this pattern because I also had a little trouble with my local print shop and they only managed to print the pattern somewhere around the size it should actually print at. Yeah. It was a total fluke that the whole dress wasn't a complete disaster--which is what usually happens to me. But happily, this time, it ended up fitting me perfectly with the little bit of stretch I managed to get from my elastic thread. My problem now is that I'd like to make a few more dresses for friends--they are that easy!--one who is considerably smaller than I am so I really need to make this shirring/smocking thing work somehow. Plus, just learning this simple sewing technique has opened up a whole new world to me for clothes making. So many ideas--if only I could get it to work--Agh! I did happen upon a commenter who mentioned having tried the dress on her new Brother sewing machine--which is what I have--and it completely failed. Then she tried it again on her old Singer and it worked beautifully. This does not bode well for me. Any ideas on making this work??