Shirred dresses have been very popular in the last couple of years and I’m sure you have seen many tutorials on how to do one without a pattern just by cutting rectangles of fabric and sewing them together. It took me a while to give shirring a go myself as I wasn’t sure I liked the look of it that much. But then I discovered the Victory Patterns Sofia dress.
While I think the free tutorials are a wonderful way to go if you don’t want to spend money on a pattern, a professional pattern definitely offers many advantages. What I like the most about the Sofia is that the bodice pieces are not just rectangles, they are shaped, meaning the armholes are cut lower and the bodice narrows slightly from the bust to the waist, and the skirt is a-lined. You also get four different sleeve options and the flutter sleeve includes an extra pattern piece for a strap – basically a slightly shaped strip of fabric that gives you more coverage on the shoulders, so the dress is more bra-friendly. The dress also comes with a crop top and peplum top version. Sure, you could tweak the rectangles used in the free patterns, but it would be quite a bit more work for you. That’s why I think the Sofia is a great option, plus the pattern instructions are quite detailed when it comes to setting up your machine for shirring correctly, which any shirring newbies will appreciate.
I have already made two versions of the Sofia. Just before Christmas last year I made a long-sleeved version from a glorious Atelier Jupe viscose from Lamazi Fabrics. It sewed up pretty quickly and as a bonus I learned to thread my bobbin thread properply for the first time in about 12 years I’ve had my machine 🙂 (it seems I was kind of omitting the last step of passing the thread through a second metal hook in the bobbin case, which takes care of the tension – a problem that only manifested when I was troubleshooting my shirring). The fabric is a bit more sturdier than your normal viscose, which is perfect for an autumn/winter version and it also means it creases very little.
In spring I decided I needed a summery versions of the Sofia in my life. I picked up some viscose from my stash (bought at my local fabric shop), and made up the version with the short puff sleeve, using the straps from the flutter sleeve version. I’ve been wearing it loads in the summer. In fact, I am wearing it right now, writing this blogpost up in my new home away from home for the next few months in Málaga, Spain.
So if you’ve been thinking about giving a shirred dress a go and are wondering if a pattern is worth investing in, I would recommend you invest in one, especially if you want to have a few more options. And no, I have no affiliation with Victory Patterns, I just think it’s a fab pattern!
Till next time,