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DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A shirred summer maxi // A DIY tutorial

I managed to sneak in one last proper summer make before the weather changed!

I kept seeing a certain style of Ganni dress pop up on my Instagram (where other gorgeous gals were wearing it) and on some targeted ads (I must be right in their sales demographic!). It must be pretty popular because they have it in multiple prints! I found this particular version online…

The dress looked super easy to try to replicate so I thought I’d give it a go!

I figured I’d make things easy for myself and assume it’s a big rectangle that’s gathered at the top by two rows of elastic spaced apart. It has super skinny straps and pockets. I decided to do without a pattern and used my measurements to make it instead!

I think I managed to do it justice – just about. I used a piece of rose printed viscose from Rainbow Fabrics and managed to eke it out of two meters by cutting it on the crossgrain. Luckily the print wasn’t directional! I think the fabric I used it drapier than the original which is described as a cotton poplin.

Follow this guide to make it yourself!

What you’ll need:

  • Basic sewing kit and machine
  • Measuring tape and long ruler
  • 2-3m of fabric depending on your choice of length
  • Two pieces of 1cm wide elastic measuring your high bust minus 10%
  • A safety pin

Measurements for the dress pieces:

Measure how long you want your dress to be from the top of the frill to the full length (mine is 95cm). Add 5cm for the hem and 12cm for the top (112cm). Measure your bust width, divide by 2 and times this by 1.5 (71cm).


Cut two rectangles with this length and width (in my case 112cm x 71cm).

Cut 4 pocket pieces if adding.

Cut 2 rectangles of 3.5cm width and the length of the strap – this can vary a lot person to person. I recommend making it longer than needed as you can always trim it after you’ve adjusted it in place.


Attach the pockets (if using) and sew up the side seams. Finish the edges however you want!

Finish the upper edge of the dress/ tube.

Fold over the top edge of the tube by 12 cm. Draw/ mark your top stitching lines now. The first one will be 3cm from the folded edge. The second, 1.5cm away from this. The third will be 5cm away from the here and the last 1.5cm away. You’ll have 4 lines in total.

Sewing the top stitching needs to be done in a specific order as you’ll be inserting the elastic as we go.

Topstitch the top line (the one closest to the folded edge) all the way around. Sew the second line leaving a 5-10cm gap between the beginning and end of the stitch line. Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic and thread it through this channel. Once through, sew the ends together making sure the elastic hasn’t twisted. Finish the topstitch line. You’ll need to gently stretch the fabric as you go.

Sew the third line all the way around. Sew the fourth line and again leave a 5-10cm gap. Attach the safety pin and thread the second piece of elastic through. Again, sew the ends of the elastic together then close the channel by continuing the topstitched line.

Take your strap pieces and fold them in half lengthwise right sides together and sew 1cm from the edge. Trim the excess and turn right side out using a loop turner.

Pin the straps roughly into position and check the fit. This is the time to adjust the length and to make sure the straps aren’t too far to either side.

Once happy, sew the straps in place using the uppermost topstitch line as a guide. Trim the ends and finish how you wish! (I was lazy and have left mine raw for now 🙈).

Fold the hem by 2.5cm and then again by another 2.5cm and stitch into place.

If you want to try making it more dramatic, make the top frill longer and use bigger spaces between the elastic channels. You could also make the pieces wider for more gathers! Another option would be to shorten this to make a cute mini dress or even a top!

Don’t forget to let know if you’ve used this guide either by commenting below or tagging me on Instagram! Happy sewing!

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