Primrose Dress | Shirring with a Brother
The long awaited Primrose Dress! It took me forever to get photos for you; it’s cold out there baby!!
But here it is. The Primrose dress is a PDF pattern from Create Kids Couture.
It features 4 ruffled tiers that give this dress a lot of body and volume. I used a fabric that’s slightly heavier than quilting cotton. I’ve seen this pattern sewn in satins and cottons with nice results too.
The tween sized pattern ranges from 7/8 to 15/16. The back bodice is shirred with elastic thread. You can choose from a flat bodice, or use the cup option for girls who have developed a small cup size. The shirring, bigger size range, and bodice options give the Primrose dress an extremely broad fit range.
CKC patterns use measurements for ruffles or any applicable pattern pieces. I used to hate measuring and cutting my own pieces until I got my Gingher Left Hand Rotary Cutter. Now I see why people rave about their rotary cutters. I can actually use this one and get a good, clean cut. Before, I’d have a jagged cut at best, and a high threat of bodily injury to boot.
I started by making the bodice front. We added diamond buttons because my model is a sparkly girl. Isabelle chose this fabric from Joann’s, designed her dress, and styled it for this photo-shoot.
Next was the shirred bodice back. I’m using a Brother sewing machine now. Lets just say for the sake of PG-13 that shirring on a Brother is a very different experience. Above, I tried and tried different settings and it just…didn’t shir!
Turns out, you have to unscrew your plate, take out the bobbin, remove the bobbin case, and manually adjust the bobbin tension to shir with a Brother. Be sure to count the screwdriver turns, because when you’re done you must turn your screw back exactly where it was, or your automatic tension will be all nuts and your life will be over as-you-know-it.
I ended up stealing a bunch of tools from my husband’s shop, because I couldn’t find the right one in my sewing arsenal. Then I realized that I was turning the wrong screw, and I did have the right tool all along.
After that, I managed to drop one of my face plate screws down here…and there’s no way to get it out. I’d pick up my machine, turn it upside down, shake it; hoping to get lucky. Then I’d get pissed and walk away, come back later and repeat. It eventually came out, but I’ll never buy another top loading bobbin machine again.
Anyways, after much frustration, I finally did get proper shirring accomplished. It’s not as stretchy as I like, and I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t have the bobbin tension set correctly, or because I used a slightly heavier fabric. I’m too scared to try again and find out! The article I referenced above suggests buying a separate bobbin casing, setting the tension for shirring, and marking it with nail polish. This way you can switch it out for shirring without fear of messing up your automatic tension settings.
My old Singer woulda shirred the heck outta this fabric. It wasn’t as smooth with twin needles though. I’m making mental notes of everything I like and dislike, because my next machine will be a Lamborghini!
So your turn. Any gripes about your sewing machines?
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase a pattern from my links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.