As if my little gal didn’t already have a bunch of dresses (seriously, though, a girl can never have too many dresses, and she loves them!), I made her two more. I was selected to pretest Sofilantjes’ Brueram Dress. This is a cute pattern that comes with top, dress, and maxi options. It was designed for a contest held by the Facebook group, Betties Basket a while back. The contestants could draw and send their design ideas in and designers could choose which ideas they wanted to make into a pattern.
So, this very cute little dress pattern was created by the talented Annemieke Jacobs. I was excited about the opportunity to test the 12 months size, because it was a pattern I could build skills on. I’d never done shirring before – but I figured it couldn’t be too hard to do. I wound up making two dresses – because I had trouble with the shirring on the first one.
My first attempt at shirring
Oh boy. So I read the directions, hand-wound my elastic, popped it into the bobbin case of my Brother SE400, and stitched my little heart out…until I realized “Huh. That’s…strange…there’s no…shirring happening…plus the elastic looks loose.” So, I did what anyone would do. I took pictures of what was going on and posted in the testing group and in the SE400 group on Facebook to ask if anyone knew how to fix it there (see the images to the left), and then I took to Google. What I found, didn’t seem to bode well for my Brother SE400.
You see…Brother machines with drop-in bobbins are notoriously difficult to use for shirring because there’s no easy way to adjust the tension – or so the story goes. BUT! Dear readers, I found a blog post with a great video, that would solve ALL my problems – and I was determined (so determined) to make this dress work. I was in love with my fabric combination. The blog post I found was Grosgrain: Shirring With Your Brother.
To make the long story short, you want to pull your elastic tight – but not too tight when winding the bobbin by hand (this didn’t take as long as I thought it would by the way) – and you want to tighten your bobbin tension just a bit. How do you do this? Take off the bottom plate and pull out the bobbin case. There will be a little dot of green paint – that’s where your tension screw is. Turn this just a bit to the right, and you’ll have the right tension – practice on scrap fabric first though. You also need to hand feed the elastic into the bobbin case, you’ll feel it click when it’s ready, then you’re good to go. (The video in the above link shows you how to do this really well).
Only…even with doing things right, my fabric still didn’t look as great and stretchy as the other ladies’ pictures looked – and yes, I steamed the shirring and everything. Plus, the fit was off and the bodice was way big on my little gal. I felt defeated – but only for a moment. You see, I idly wondered if my fabric choice (a vintage woven of some sort, a bit heavier in nature than the quilting cotton I used for the bottom) was tripping me up. So, I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric and tried – and it worked! It was WAY more scrunchy and elasticy! It was then I decided that I would take in the bodice on the first dress and make a second dress in lighter weight fabric – so that I could give Anne accurate feedback about fit.
The end results
Both dresses were relatively easy to sew (yes, even with the initial shirring trip up – it’s not hard, just takes some patience and some fandangling to get the hang of it). I’d recommend this pattern for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewer. You’ll want to be familiar with understitching as well as shirring, and you will want to have some patience for hand stitching since the lining inside will be hand stitched to finish (soooo worth the way it looks though). I took in the first dress an inch on each side. Both dresses fit snuggly – so there’s no slipping of the thick straps, which is a good thing when you have an active toddler. When I make the dress again (oh yes, I have plans for this) I will probably go ahead and use the 18 months size since the 12 months bodice was just a little difficult to get on and off of my gal). I hand sewed on a flower from Sunshine Shoppe to each of the dresses, and voila! They were done.
The pattern is available now
The Brueram Top and Dresses pattern is available from Sofilantjes for $8.95. You can also join the Sofilantjes Sew & Show group on Facebook. There is a contest starting today at 4pm EST/21.00 CET. Post pictures of your completed Brueram to the giveaway photo album in the group by 7pm EST/ 24.00 CET May 7th and get a chance to win your money back AND an additional pattern of your choice!!
*This post contains affiliate links to Sunshine Shoppe and Sofilantjes. Should you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I will receive compensation, which helps me contribute to my family.*