Well, you would think that I’d have all sorts of time to sew now that we’re on summer break, but, alas, it seems like I’ve had less time. I have been anxious to make one of Dana’s oh-so-cute beach towel dresses for myself, so I finally got myself some elastic thread and mustered the courage to try it out.
Dana’s directions are sketchy, because she’s hoping you’ll buy her pattern, but I figured I could wing it without the pattern. (Unfortunately, she probably has some really great info in there that I missed because I didn’t have the pattern.) I did my best to study up on elastic thread by reading about it on various sewing blogs. I increased my thread tension to about a 6, I used a stitch length of 4, and I sewed my lines 2/8 inches apart, lining the previous stitch line up with the presser foot edge. I had cut off about 5 inches on either side, because I thought I had plenty, and I wanted to have some extra fabric to make straps with. Unfortunately…..my fabric shirred up beautifully and bountifully. So much so, that my dress was teeny and actually fit my skinny 7-y-o and didn’t even come close to fitting me.
It’s super-cute on her. I wouldn’t have made so many lines of shirring if I would’ve known I was making it for her and not me, but I still think it’s super-cute on her.
So…..I still really want one for myself. I’m going to start by buying a longer towel. And then I’m going to think about putting the tension dial back to normal (around a 3 on my machine.) Thankfully, one of my best friends is making one of these right now, learning from my mistakes, and I’m hoping she’ll perfect the process before it’s my turn again. If you have any insight about elastic thread and shirring, let me know!
UPDATE: When my friend Kelley made hers, I realized that I had a serious tension problem. Her fabric shirred up beautifully and was nowhere near as tight as mine was. I knew that there was a lot of resistance from my bobbin, where the elastic was coming out.
I have the kind of bobbin where the thread has to go through one of those little slits and then back out through the other one. Well, you really had to pull to get the elastic moving, so I realized that I had a bobbin tension issue, but I didn’t know how to fix it. So….I contacted Dana on her Facebook page, and she sent me this handy link, which was the key to my problem!!!! Yay!!! Thank you, Dana! We actually ended up taking the tension screw completely out, and, voila, I have lovely shirring going on. Also, I put my machine tension setting back to normal.
So….keep your eyes open for my cute beach towel dress, coming soon!
UPDATE: Ashley at Make It And Love It has a great primer for using elastic thread!