In my sewing pile I have actual fabric and then a whole bunch of old defective clothes. Defective meaning they either don't fit, have a hole, have a stain, or are severely out of style. This tank is in the "doesn't fit" category. Looks cute on the table, not so much on me. I've wanted to use it for a long time in some sort of upcycled project. Then it came to me... as in, my friend Katherine from Sew Woodsy sent me a link to some shirred skirts made from t-shirts. Bingo!
Here's what I did. (note, this tank was a women's small which made a good toddler-sized skirt. The bigger the booty, the bigger the shirt has to be.)
Start with your tank or t-shirt laid out flat.
Chop off the bottom just under the pits. (might want to measure your kid to see how long to make it)
I hemmed the top by folding it over about a half inch and ironing. (totally optional since knit won't fray)
Iron all the way around.
Now comes the shirring. Load your bobbin ONLY with elastic thread. You have to do this by hand, not in the automatic bobbin winder on your machine. It will wind it too tight. Wrap it around the bobbin tight enough so there is not slack but you're not stretching it either. Then thread your machine with regular thread. Start sewing a straight line.
Here's what happened to mine. Ugh.
I have a Brother sewing machine and after many frustrating balls of elastic thread got ripped from my machine, I Googled and found Brother machines don't play nice with elastic thread. So I messed and messed and experimented both with tension and stitch length and FINALLY got it to work!
I made my stitch length 5 and my tension 7 and it started to shirr! As you can see, I was so sick of seam ripping at this point, I just sewed right over the messed up lines. Whatever, she's going to spill juice on it anyway. Just sew line after line about 1/2 inch apart... as many as you want.
It turned out really cute but has some flaws. First of all, it doesn't stretch out as much as it should. My kid really has to shimmie to get it over her booty. And, when I tried the same technique again to make a skirt for me, I got a big old mess again of elastic thread and no shirring. I guess I just found the right tension and stitch length for this particular fabric? I have no idea. According to everyone else in blogland it's really easy... if you don't have a Brother sewing machine. : )
Click here for another explanation on how to fix your shirring frustration with a Brother sewing machine. I don't know if I'm brave enough to take my machine apart, but it worked for her! Good luck.