I had a little of the flower print fabric left over from my dress, so I decided to whip up a swimsuit cover-up for our trip to Cancun.
For this look you will need:
1 1/2 yards of fabric (I used a printed jersey fabric that was light and dries quickly)
elastic thread (this is usually kept right next to the regular thread in craft stores)
2 bobbins (one for normal thread, one for elastic thread)
I used the shirring technique for the top part of the dress, that might look a little crazy, but is actually really easy once you get the hang of it.
First I started with 2 pieces of fabric that measured 26" wide and 29 1/2" long (you can adjust these sizes to be as long or as short as you want). You want the total width of the fabric to be about 1 1/2 times the measurement of your bust. This will allow for a nice stretch at the top.
Using normal thread, sew the 2 long sides together with 1/2" seam on both sides (remember to have the right sides facing each other) .
Then, finish off the top of the dress by turning the fabric down 1/4", then turn in down another 1/4" to give it a clean edge.
Now is where your elastic thread comes into play. Grab a fresh bobbin and wrap the elastic thread around it by hand. Don't pull too tight, but keep a little tension. This part went a lot faster than I thought, less than a minute.
Here are a few pictures of my progress:
Once you're done sewing the rows with the elastic thread you're almost done. I ended up having 12 rows about 3/4" apart. To be totally honest, I just eyeballed most of the lines as I sewed them rather than draw them on the fabric. Shirring is very forgivable, so don't be afraid if your lines aren't perfectly straight. Mine were crooked for shizzle.
Then just spritz the top section with some water and hold a semi hot iron on the fabric for a few seconds at a time. This will dry the fabric and tighten up the elastic.
Now, all you have left is the hem. Fold it under 1/2" twice, and you're all set!
I had a little leftover fabric from the purple shirt I used in the lavender dress (I never throw away my scraps, they always come in handy). So I cut up some strips, and braided them together:
(please excuse the ghetto-fabulous way that I pinned the strips to a chair cushion)
Then I just hand stitched it to the top of the dress to add a little character.
This dress came in very handy along the beaches of Cancun.