How to Make Shirring by Hand

Shirring is a gathering technique that can be done by hand sewing.
Shirring is a gathering technique that can be done by hand sewing. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Shirring is a sewing technique that involves rows of gathering as a decorative accent to clothing. Shirring may be done on a dress or skirt to emphasize the waist and will add an element of elegance to a long-sleeve blouse at the wrist. A shirred throw pillow can add a luxurious touch to a living room or bedroom. Although the shirring technique can be done quickly with a sewing machine, a fine hand stitch will also accomplish the desired results.

Things You'll Need

  • Lightweight fabric
  • Ruler
  • Fabric pencil with disappearing ink
  • Sewing needle, size 9
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors

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With the fabric pencil, draw a series of four long lines lengthwise on the fabric located two inches apart, where the shirring will be located, using the ruler.

Thread the needle with 24 inches of thread and knot one end.

Sew small, even stitches that are approximately 1/2 inch in length along the fabric pencil line with the needle and thread.

Pull the thread to half the stitched row length to create the gathered shirring. Knot the thread firmly at the end of the shirring row.

Repeat the stitching and gathering on every fabric pencil row.


  • “New Complete Guide to Sewing”; Reader’s Digest; 2002
  • “Teach Yourself Visually Fashion Sewing”; Carole Ann Camp; 2011
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