Monthly Archives: April 2007

Hello Raggedy Daaaah!

I finished the mailorder club raggedy doll! Or as Isabelle calls it Daaaah! Which is also what she calls the dogs. So I don’t think it’s a coincidence when she tried sitting on her, like she does with the dogs. And also when she stuck the raggedy doll in the dog’s crate.

I guess she won’t stay clean and neat for long if that’s the way Isabelle is going to treat her.

I wish I had thought about that before I made her. The directions for the clothes said I could zigzag on the raw edges before assembly. But I ignored it because I’m a goober. I should have known fraying edges would bother me. Well if they get too wrecked I can make some more. And next time I will make her dress longer too. You can barely see it under her pinafore, it’s indecently short. ;-) Oh and since I’m writing down reminders for myself…make opening on dress bigger too so I can remove the dress easily, maybe instead of 2 inches go 3 inches. That way I don’t have to smoooosh her head so much to put her dress on.

Oh and the best part: I didn’t have to buy any new fabric. I just used what I had. Which is of course why her hair is blue and not red.

Thank you Amy for a sweet little pattern!

New Video

I have a new video up of Isabelle! She’s running circles around Alan. She was all happy and being silly because we moved everything off the rug and she had all that room to run.

And no this picture has nothing to do with the video. I just don’t like having a pictureless post.

This is Isabelle’s preferred way of eating now. She hates sitting in her little chair. She throws a big fuss. Maybe because me and Alan aren’t sitting in little chairs.

Shirred Dress Tutorial

Shirred dress and shirred shirt
The other night I made myself a shirred top. And then last night I made another shirred dress for Isabelle so I thought I would take some pictures and show how it’s done, a tutorial! You can click on all the pictures to see them larger.


  • Fabric (I used less than 3/4 yard for Isabelle’s dress and probably less that 1 1/2 yards for my top. Look below at measuring to figure out how much you will need. )
  • Thread
  • Elastic Thread


The dress is simply two rectangles and the straps 4 rectangles. You can play around with the numbers to adjust how full the dress is or how long or short to make it into a top.

Cut 2 pieces for dress:
Width- Measure around chest right under armpit.
Length- Measure from armpit down to desired length then add 2 inches.

For marking- armpit down to where you want shirring to end.

Example: Isabelle is 18.5 inches around the chest and I wanted her dress to be 19 inches long so I ended up with 2 pieces at 19 x 21. My top actually came out fuller then I would have liked using the above formula. (See what I mean about playing with the numbers.) Next time I want it slimmer so I’ll reduce the width. I think I could have probably gone down a good 10 inches.

Now the straps. Again you can play with these numbers but don’t go too short or you won’t have anything to tie with. And don’t go too skinny because it’s harder to sew. :)

Cut 4 pieces for straps:
Width- Desired width of strap times 4.
Length- Measure up from the armpit to the top of your shoulder. Then add 10 inches to that. (Please double check this with your tape measure to see if it’s a comfortable length to tie with.)

Example: Isabelle’s straps were 14 x 1.5 and mine were 22 x 2. I wanted my straps a teensy bit wider.
Shirred dress tutorial - Cut pieces


1. I start with the strap pieces. You will do this with each of the 4 strap pieces. On one of the short sides I fold it up about 1/4 of an inch, wrong sides together (I iron all my folds). Then I fold the long side in half, wrong sides together. Open that up so you are left with a crease then fold the two edges of the long side to meet the crease you just made. And then fold once more so the edges are all inside.
Shirred dress tutorial - making straps
Sew to close. Highlighted in red for example.
Shirred dress tutorial - finished straps

2. Next we move onto the dress pieces. You want to edge finish one side of your rectangle, the side where you got your chest measurement. For Isabelle that was the 19 inch side. I just use a zig zag stitch all the way down. Do that to both pieces.
Shirred dress tutorial - finish the top edge of dress pieces

3. Next is the strap placement. It’s sort of worrisome doing the straps first but it seems to work. If you’re worried it might not, you can adjust my directions and add the straps last. You want the straps at 1/4 and 3/4 along your piece. So fold your dress piece in half, wrong sides together with the zig zag edge on top. Then fold again. Line up one strap along the fold on the right side of your fabric with the unfinished edge of the strap along the zig zag edge. I like the nice clean edge of the strap to be the one showing on the sides so the stitched sides are closer to the neck. Mark your strap at 5/8 inch down.
Shirred dress tutorial - placing the straps

4. Sew your strap to your dress piece by sewing a rectangle. Sew down to where your 5/8 inch mark is. Highlighted in red for example.
Shirred dress tutorial - sew strap down to dress piece
Repeat with the other 3 straps and you should have 2 dress pieces that look like this with the straps attached.
Shirred dress tutorial - sewed on straps

5. Next you sew the side seams right sides facing together using 5/8 inch seam allowance. Then finish the seams. Sew, mama, sew has a good post on seam finishes simplified. Shirred dress tutorial - sew side seams

6. Fold top edge with straps down 3/4 inch and iron.
Shirred dress tutorial - fold down and iron top edge

7. Fold hem up 1/2 inch and iron. Then fold again 3/4 inch and iron. Sew the hem. If you are making a top you might want to have a more narrow hem, at 1/4 and 1/4 inch. Just adjust the size of your piece accordingly.
Shirred dress tutorial - sew hem
Now you should have a tube like this.
Shirred dress tutorial - finished tube right before shirring

8. Now the shirring. This might take some playing with so try it on some test fabric first. Or if you’re impatient like me and you can’t figure out the shirring, you’ll just go ahead on the dress. And then when it doesn’t shirr tight enough you’ll end up gathering the shirring yourself. And you’ll think oh that’s not too bad, I can gather. But trust me. Shirring properly is faster than gathering and you use less elastic thread.

You’ll be using your regular thread in the needle and elastic thread in the bobbin. Hand wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin. Set your machine to a long stitch and looser than normal tension.

Now with the right side facing up sew 5/8 inch down from the top edge where your straps are around the tube. Do not backstitch at the beginning or end of this row. Then make sure you have enough elastic thread BEFORE cutting and then pull your top threads to the inside and tie knots in your threads.

Next, mark your shirring lines. I did mine 5/8 inch apart. And go down as far as you’d like your dress/top to be shirred. Or you can eyeball it like I did because I’m impatient.

Sew your shirring lines, holding the fabric taut so it doesn’t bunch up. The more lines of shirring, the tighter it should be.
Shirred dress tutorial - hold fabric taut while sewing shirring lines
All your elastic thread tied up in knots and trimmed. With Isabelle’s dress I had 5 lines of shirring. For my top I had 12.
Shirred dress tutorial - tie off threads
And yay you’re done!

*Update* a reader, Cynthia, writes that she found out that it’s hard to shirr with the new model sewing machines. She suggests maybe this link might help.

Shirred Dress for Isabelle
Shirred shirt for me
Hope that made sense. Let me know how it goes. I would love to see pictures if you used this tutorial and any changes you made or improvements.

Silly Parent #30, Letting it All Hang Out

Isabelle had her eighteen month checkup a few days ago. She now weighs 27 lbs 5 oz and she’s 2 feet 9 inches tall. That’s 84 percentile for weight and 80 percentile for height.

Isabelle also had shots. Or actually just one shot. And it’s not shot. It’s S..H..O..T!!! (said in tones of dread). Usually I breastfeed her while she’s getting her shot and that seems to make her feel better and she doesn’t cry as much. But that didn’t really work the last time because she didn’t want to breastfeed.

Well this time she did breastfeed but as soon as the nurse stuck her she pulled off and was crying a little worse than usual. She didn’t want to drink anymore and wouldn’t take her eyes off of the nurse, as if she suspected that she might sneak up and stick her again. I wonder if she remembers her from the last time she had shots?

So I thought, let’s get her out of here quick! So off we went. I didn’t even notice that my shirt was all undone. Maybe that’s why everyone was looking at me funny.

And then yesterday when we were at home, Isabelle was having a little drink. She then dragged me off to the window and pushed aside the curtain to look out. And I was just standing there waving at our neighbor as she walked by.

Ha ha ha! Late April Fool’s. At the hospital I wasn’t walking around showing my goods. My shirt was undone, I think my nursing bra was up, BUT I was carrying Isabelle so she was covering the boob area. And yesterday I didn’t see a neighbor walk by either. Are you reading between the lines though? Nobody walked by but ummm yes…I was standing there letting it all hang out.

Go read Silly Parent #29, babyproofing the silly parent way.

Illustration Friday: Green

Thinking about a green field of bunnies (maybe because of Easter) for Illustration Friday. Sorta scary huh?

I always thought it was weird that Anya was afraid of bunnies until I saw a picture of one of those monster big ones that weigh more than Isabelle. FREAKY! Those scare me. Maybe that’s why some of these came out scary looking. Or maybe it’s just the idea of green bunnies. Bunnies are not green. So if they are green there must be something wrong with them! Ahhhh scary green ZOMBIE bunnies!! Run away! Run away!