Patternless Sewing Mod Style

Simple Sundress with Spaghetti Straps and Ruffled Hem

Learn to Shirr, Gather, and Insert Elastics


From Patternless Sewing MOD Style

By Patty Young


Class Description:
Beginner- to intermediate-level sewers will learn several garment-sewing techniques, including shirring, gathering, creating spaghetti straps, and inserting elastics in a casing, as well as how to properly take body measurements. Students will take away a finished dress in their size or the size of their child. The best part about this project is that it can be made in any size, from toddler to adult, because it is made based on the sewist’s own body measurements.


Class Length:
6 hours with a 45-minute lunch break.


Class Supply List:
• Required text: Patternless Sewing MOD Style
• Flexible measuring tape
• Fabric: lightweight knit or woven fabrics like jerseys, double gauze, voile, lawn, satins and eyelets, at least 56˝ wide. Allow 1 yard for child sizes (up to size 10), 1.5 yards for teen/women’s sizes, and 2–3 yards for women’s plus sizes. SHOPS: The fabric requirements work best if the student takes their body measurements, follows instructions on p. 20 for figuring out how much fabric to buy, then purchases the fabric at your store. Since this dress is made based on body measurements, the yardage requirement can vary greatly depending on size.

• ½–1 ½ yards of ½˝-wide knit elastic (depending on the size dress being sewn)

• 1 spool of elastic thread (for shirring)

• Coordinating thread

• Rotary cutter, long ruler, and self-healing mat

• Large safety pin or bodkin for inserting elastic

• Pins and marking tools


Classroom Preparation:
There should be sewing machines available that can do shirring. Sergers would also be a plus, but are not necessary for this project. There should also be 2–3 pressing stations equipped with steam irons. Finally, there should be 2–3 cutting stations equipped with self-healing mats, long non-slip rulers, and rotary cutters.


Class Agenda:

1. Take Your Body Measurements as described on p. 5 (women/teens) or 6 (girls). (30 minutes.)

2. Use p. 20 to figure out how much fabric you’ll need for the main dress and pp 138 and 140 for the spaghetti straps and ruffled hem band. Purchase fabric. (NOTE: Student should already have fabric picked out prior to this step to save on shopping time—ask the students to arrive at least half an hour prior to the start of the class to choose their fabrics. They can either keep the bolt of fabric with them during the measuring process or at the fabric cutting counter with their name on it.) (30 minutes to 1 hour.)

3. Cut all the pieces for the dress, including the spaghetti straps and ruffled hem, using instructions on pp. 20, 138 and 140. (30 minutes.)

4. Learn to create an elastic casing, p. 21. (30 minutes.)

5. Learn to shirr using tutorial on pp. 16–18 and project instructions on pp. 21 and 22. (1 hour.)

6. Insert elastic and close up dress. (30 minutes.)

7. Create spaghetti straps (p. 138). (30 minutes.)

8. Create ruffled hem band (p. 140). (30 minutes.)

9. Attach straps and band to finished dress. (30 minutes to 1 hour.)