I picked up this piece lovely white fabric in the remnant section of Joann's about a year ago. I've had it sitting in my stash waiting to be turned into something lovely. When I decided to start this shirring series, I knew that it would be perfect for a lightweight tank dress for this summer.
One thing that I love about these little shirred tops/sundresses is that anyone can wear them, thin girls, medium girls, and fuller girls as well. When I was pregnant with Clark one of my favorite tops was a shirred black and white tank. I felt like it was very flattering on a pregnant belly. It didn't scream "maternity top", so I felt quite comfortable wearing it during the post part-um period as well.
As my thighs and backside have already started expanding, I chose to make this top in an extra long version (more like a short dress). I have a pair of leggings that are feeling very comfortable about now, and I wanted the top to cover my rear when paired with the leggings.
The material of this top is rather sheer, and it will definitely be worn over a cap sleeve top, and worn with leggings. This same technique could be made a bit longer to be converted into a sundress (much like day 1).
I chose to make some long ties that could be tied in bows at the top of the shoulders. I wanted the straps to be adjustable, because it seems that straps are always slipping off of my shoulders.
This top/dress is constructed in much the same way as the sundress from day one (proportions and all). One small change that I made was in creating a casing at the top of the rows of shirring, for a piece of elastic. Creating a casing, eliminates the ruffle that happens between the top hem, and the first row of shirring (see image below). To create the casing I finished off the raw edge at the top of the tube, pressed it under 1/2", and stitched around the casing, 1/8" from the finished edge. You will want to leave an opening about 1 1/2" long, it will be used to thread your elastic through the casing. You will want to create the casing before shirring your rows for the bodice.
Now Shirr your little heart out. My rows are about 1/2" apart. I ended up shirring 15 rows, but the exact number that you need will be determined by the size of your bust. The larger the bust, the more rows you'll need. I like the shirring to extend a few rows beneath my bust.
Once you have completed your shirring you can begin threading a piece of 1/4" elastic through your casing. I left my elastic long, tried on the top, and then adjusted the elastic so that the casing was equally gathered as the worn shirred portions of the top. You want to make sure that your elastic isn't pulled so tight that it is uncomfortable to wear. Once you have determined the exact length of elastic, overlap it by about an inch. Pin it in place, and stitch it together using a zig zag stitch.
Next you will want to pin the open section of the casing in place, and stitch it down, taking care not to catch the elastic in your stitching line.
Next attach any straps that you want to make. I haven't included a tutorial here, but if you have any questions on making straps let me know. These were created in much the same fashion as the straps used on the ruffled sundress from day one (minus the ruffle).
Hem the bottom of your top/dress. I used my serger to create a blind hem, but you could use a standard sewing machine for this step as well.