I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend, I just got home from the cottage. The weather was absolutely gorgeous all weekend!
I've recently fallen in love with shirring. For those of you who have tried it before, I strongly encourage you to put this technique to the test and play with all the opportunities that it provides. For those of you who have not tried it before, I suggest you read this post, follow along with the instructions and try it! It is sew much fun!
So far I have made tops and dresses as samples to teach to the children in my sewing classes. We "shirr" from the top of the neckline to the bottom of the bust line to create an elasticated bodice.
To create this effect, you need to use elasticated thread ONLY in the bobbin. Unfortunately you cannot fill the bobbin on your sewing machine as you normally would, so you have to wind the elasticated thread onto your bobbin by hand. You may need to fill multiple bobbins before you begin, depending on the size of the area that you are shirring. Use a cotton thread on the top of your machine that matches the fabric that you wish to use. Before you begin, I would suggest you test your stitching on a scrap piece of fabric, to see if you need to make any tension adjustments.
To determine the cutting size, measure your bust and cut a piece of fabric that is approximately one and a half times your measured size. As for the length, you can determine that to your own preference. I cut my dress 27 inches long.
First, I stitched my side seam and then hemmed the top of my neckline. Then, I began to sew rows of stitches 1/4" apart using my elasticated thread. It will take about 3 or 4 rows before you notice your fabric beginning to bunch at all. The amount of rows that you stitch depends on the size of your bustline. I stitched approximately 19 rows.
When you finish sewing all your rows, turn your garment inside out and steam the elastic. This will help shrivel the elastic up and make your dress/top more fitting.
Then you can hem the bottom as desired and either leave your dress strapless or you can use coordinating fabric or ribbon to create straps as I have done.
You can also use your shirring method to create waist bands on skirts, or you can do a few rows of stitching on the bottom of a sleeve to create a puff sleeve/peasant look.
Have fun experimenting and shirring away! FUN FUN FUN!