Girly and Romantic Nighty!

It's Valentines Day! So today I'm bringing you a new post on how to sew a girly and romantic nighty. This nighty / nightdress is inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee, when I watched an episode where the contestants made children's summer dresses they used a technique called Shirring. This really fascinated me! So when I got my sewing machine for Christmas, shirring elastic was very high on my list of things to buy. I made my nighty using a lovely plain lilac cotton from Abakhan and a floral cotton from my local fabric shop, Aberdashery. 

What You'll Need

Fabric for the bodice of your nighty/ night dress.

Fabric for the skirt of your nighty /night dress.
Spool of shirring elastic.
Empty Bobbin
Matching Thread
Optional: 3 Buttons and 1" wide lace. 

(I bought my buttons, lace and shirring elastic from Ebay.)

Measurement your Fabric

Bodice Piece:

Measurement A) Width of Bust Piece
Measure around the fullest part of your bust. Add 10.5"/12.5"/14.5" (for small/medium/large bust) to this measurement. (This is because shirring gathers up the fabric).

Measurement B) Length of Bodice Piece
Measure from the armpit to where you want the shirring to end (for me this was just below the bust). Add 4" to this (For your frill/tiered part).

Skirt Piece:

Measurement C) Width of Skirt Piece
Measure around your widest point below where your shirring ends i.e. waist or hips and add 1".

Measurement D) Length of Skirt Piece
Measure from where you want the shirring to finish to where you want the nighty to finish. Add 1.5" to this.

Making The Top Of Your Nighty

First step is to fold your bodice piece (along its long edge) in half, with right sides facing each other. Sew along the unfolded edge opposite the folded edge creating a tube. 

Turn over 1/4 inch from the top of your folded bodice piece. Press this fold and repeat again. 

Once your piece is folded over twice and pressed, sew along this fold to hide the raw edge of your fabric. 

Now, start shirring about half an inch from the top of your fabric. (I will be writing a blog post on methods of gather fabric- an in depth shirring tutorial will be included). Each line of shirring should be 1/2-1" apart. The closer the lines of shirring the tighter your garment will be. I used about 3/4" gap. Stop shirring once you have 3" of fabric left. (I did 12 lines).

Turn under 1/4" from the bottom of your bodice piece, press.

Repeat this step and sew. This prevents fraying.

Turn your bodice the right way around. Next pin your lace to the bottom of your bodice and sew into place. You may find you get a better result if you hand sew your lace onto your garment. The lace I used had a straight thick line at the top so I used a narrow, short zig-zag to attach my lace.

I then measured where I wanted my buttons and placed a pin to mark the position. I then sewed my buttons onto the garment. I used my sewing machine to sew the buttons on for the first time and it was surprisingly easy. Either hand stitch or machine stitch your buttons on.

Making The Bottom Of Your Nighty

Fold your skirt piece right-sides together and sew along the open edge (opposite the fold), creating a tube. 

Fold 1/4" under to hem the bottom of your skirt. Press this flat!

Repeat this step again press and sew into place.

Now to do the same thing for the top of your skirt piece.
Turn under 1/4" and press.

Turn over another 1/4", press and stitch.

Now, sew three lines of shirring around the top of your skirt (same distance apart as the shirring on the bodice), starting just under your turned over fabric.

Attaching your skirt to your bodice.

Now this part can be quite fiddly and difficult for me to explain, but here goes!

First, mark the four equally spaced quarter points on the top of your skirt with pins. A pin at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. (To make sure that they are equally spaced, you might find folding the skirt twice helps you to find where to place your pins.)

Second, using pins mark the four equally spaced quarter points on the last line of shirring on your bodice. 
(without lace for illustration purposes only)

Both the skirt and the bodice should be inside out. Now, using these pins as a guide slip your bodice inside you skirt so that the last line of shirring on the bodice is lined up with the middle row (second row) of shirring on the skirt. Pin both pieces together (by stretching the bodice to match the skirt), use lots of pins all the way around, ensuring that the two lines of shirring, on skirt and bodice, stay perfectly in line. 

Once you are happy that the two are pinned together with the shirring lines matching up, stitch along the middle row of shirring on your skirt (which will be sewing along the bottom row of shirring on the bodice). Use a zig-zag/stretch stitch for this because this seam will need to be able to stretch otherwise the stitching will burst.

p.s. When I was sewing my bodice to my skirt I didn't use this method and it looked very messy so please ignore my horrible stitching!

I hope you followed this post, feel free to ask for help in the comments below!

Goodbye For Now!



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