Shirring is a technique used to gather the fullness in a piece of clothing. Using elastic thread when shirring gives your garment flexibility while still hugging the body. Lightweight no-iron fabrics like jersey, crepe and voiles are best for shirring. Shirring can be used in small areas like cuffs to the entire bodice of a dress.
Things You'll Need
- Sewing machine with regular thread in the needle
- Bobbin with elastic thread
- Bobbin with regular thread
- Scrap of fabric
- Piece of fabric or clothing
- Dress maker’s pencil
Wind the elastic thread on the bobbin by hand until it is almost full. Be sure to stretch the elastic slightly when winding.
Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to 6-7 and do a test stitch on a scrap of fabric. Adjust tension and stitch length if necessary.
Lay the piece of clothing or fabric right side up on a flat surface and measure and mark your shirring rows across the area of the clothing or fabric wherever you’d like. The rows can be as far apart as 1 inch or as close as 1/4 inch.
Sew your shirring lines. Hold the fabric you are shirring flat and taut while stitching.
Secure the ends of the shirring stitches by pulling the end of the needle thread to the back of the fabric and tying the elastic and regular thread in a knot.
Replace the elastic thread-filled bobbin with one with regular thread and run a line of machine stitches across the knotted ends to hold them in place.
- "Complete Guide to Sewing"; The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.; 1976
- Photo Credit back dress flowers image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com bobbins image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
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