Tempo Sundress by Love Notions

I learned a new skill in order to sew the Tempo Sundress: shirring.

I still had the elastic thread I bought many years ago when I tried unsuccessfully to shirr. I read that many others had been unable to shirr with a Brother machine, and the tension on the bobbin case needs to be tightened by turning a screw. I decided to experiment before taking apart my machine. The shirring tutorials say to hand wind the thread with little to no tension. I tried hand winding the bobbin with a significant amount of tension, started sewing, and suddenly my flat, squiggly lines bunched up into shirred fabric.

My fabric was a cotton from deep stash with an interesting plisse texture with some stretch from the slightly gathered texture. I had two yards and never knew what to do with it.

The photo below shows the pattern piece and how much smaller the fabric became after shirring.

I cut out a size large according to my bust measurement. Then I added an inch to the bodice front. That was a mistake, as the bodice was too large on me. For the interfacing for the bodice facing I used a light woven fusible interfacing. I switched to an orange cotton for the facing at the top bodice because I thought a smooth fabric would work better than my lumpy main fabric.

I took an inch off the bodice length. I have a difficult fitting situation with needing more length in the front for my bust, but having a short back. I added 1/2 inch to the front tapering to nothing at the sides, and subtracted from the back in the same way. Even so, the bodice hits past my waist in the back.

The straps are sandwiched between the facing and the bodice, making it difficult to access the fit and placement before sewing.

The deep inseam pockets are attached to the waist at the top, which keeps them securely anchored. The skirt is gathered to the bodice. I tried taking big seam allowances on the bodice to compensate for the largeness, but the fit is still off and the straps are too far apart on my small shoulders. I will have to make some alterations to feel more comfortable wearing the dress. I would have liked to made another bodice, but didn’t have enough fabric. The straps are supposed to be wide enough to cover bra straps but they don’t on me. I made them 1/2 inch wider, which wasn’t enough as they are folded in half. I may add some elastic to the straps because I can tell I will have a problem with keeping them up. You can see the strap ready to slip in the back view photo. In the photos, I wore the dress with a bra with clear plastic straps.

A cute dress, good use of stash fabric, but needs some work. And I can shirr!

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