tiddlyompompom made: a strapless top

Way back in April my sister came to stay for the weekend. While she was here, we decided to pop into a local wedding dress shop *just* to try some dresses on and get an idea of what I might like. Turns out I liked what I tried, and left clutching the perfect dress.

The perfect strapless dress.

I remarked as I bought it that I would have to spend all summer avoiding getting strap marks. But it was a grey, damp early April Sunday, and the thought of being scantily clad in the sunshine really didn’t seem that imminent.

Fast forward six weeks and the sun has come out, and the potential for strap marks is high.

Other than my wedding dress, everything I own has straps.


Earlier this week I had cut out some fabric as I was intending to make this top over the weekend



I had about a metre left of the fabric, so I decided to put all my carefully cut pieces to one side and knock up a top so I could enjoy playing outside safe from the fear of straps.

I used this Burda pattern as a starting point. I say starting point because, in order to get the smocking effect it says to lay a piece of elastic thread on the fabric then zig zag over it.


Given I’ve done shirring before I decided to just go for it. After one row I was dubious (you could have fitted nearly two of me in the top) and I was beginning to think I should have just followed the pattern. But after three or four rows I was beginning to think it might just work.



I was aiming for ten to twelve rows, but just as I went to start row nine my sewing machine decided to blow up.

Not literally, but something popped. Loudly.

And there was a slight smell of burning.

I unplugged everything and while I waited for it all to settle and/or see if a fire was about to start I decided to iron my top. I remember reading somewhere that it you hold a steam iron over the shirring the elastic shrinks even tighter. And blow me, it does! It’s like actual magic.

Anyhoo, once the sewing machine had cooled and the smell of burning had gone I changed the fuse but still it didn’t work.


Because I am bloody minded only had the hem I decided to finish the top even without electricity. I turned the wheel BY HAND for the whole hem.


But it was worth it.


I was able to spend Sunday enjoying the sun(ny)day without worrying about becoming stripy.



If When my machine is fixed I need to add several more lines of shirring, way more than the 12 I was originally planning. I may also add a couple of rows of shirring at the bottom. Who knows? All I know is that none of this is going to happen anytime soon.

Sad face.

I am hoping that my machine can be fixed, but given it is 
at least 50 years old I am not holding my breath.
Any suggestions of decent (but not crazy expensive) 
machines would be appreciated!



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