Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shirring detail

I seem to have lost my ability to multi-task with the Mr away this week and have been choosing sleep over blogging and crafting in order to attempt to keep up with the littlies each day! But it's hard to ignore the sewing urge!

Today we had an unseasonably warm day and my little skirt and dress loving girl chose to wear this lovely dress from Australian brand Ouch. It reminded me of how much I enjoy doing a bit of shirring and how useful it can be.

The sewing I've been enjoying lately has made me curious about garment construction. A nice detail that I noticed on something recently was the use of a few small rows of shirring to pull in a section of fabric to give the garment a slightly more fitted look. I thought it might suit the top below that I made last summer with Make It Perfect's Shearwater tunic pattern (there's another that I made in this post). My aim was to give it a slightly more fitted look whilst keeping it easy and comfortable to wear.

So this is it before

and after with a little shirring added. Not great photos (set self-timer, run over and stand on a stool, try not to look wooden, etc etc) but you get the idea.

The first time I tried shirring I was amazed at how easy it was to do. I'm not sure if this is the best way, but this is how I do it:

Wind your bobbin by hand with shirring elastic (NOT hat elastic, which looks similar but is thicker), pulling the elastic slightly as you go so that it's taut but not fully stretched.

Load your bobbin, use ordinary thread for the top, then just sew normally using a very long straight stitch. As you sew the fabric will start to gather. If you want to do another row alongside, pull the fabric gently to stretch it out.

I tied the ends off by hand, which was a bit tedious. If you were shirring from one seam to another, rather than just a small section, you wouldn't need to tie any ends as they would be sewn in with the seams. A little bit on the sleeves might be nice too... I can tell this is going to turn into a 'tinkering' top!


  1. I reiterate: you are super clever. Love this. (And RSS feed working perfectly!) xx

  2. too kind Fi :-) And thanks for checking the RSS feed. I'm slightly less gumby-ish thanks to you!

  3. I have some of this elsatic somewhere, I really must try it - love the fabric you used on your tunic.


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