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personalized new baby gifts How to Create Shirring for Sewing Projects sofa pillow covers

Updated: 2019-09-18  Views: 148

In between the simplicity of gathering and the intricacy of hand-smocking, lives one of our favorite texturing techniques: elastic shirring. You've probably owned a garment or two with shirring on the bodice or sleeve edge. It was the style on those iconic 1970s peasant dresses, and it remains popular in new fashion trends. Shirring is a great sewing technique to learn, and easy-peasy to create! Plus, just like the little boy with a hammer, for whom everything becomes a nail... once you learn how to do shirring, we guarantee there will be all kinds of projects that need this prettypersonalized new baby gifts, rumply, stretchy touch of texture.

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This article focuses on elastic thread shirring, which is the most common, but we also touch on a few other types: cord elastic shirring, waffle shirring, and gathered shirring. Cord elastic shirring is done with a zig zag stitch and strong cord elastic in two rows on the wrong side of the fabric. You usually see this done on a sleeve. Waffle shirring is a subset of elastic thread shirring and is created by shirring in one direction, then shirring again at a right angle to the previous shirring to create a sort of checkerboard effect. Finally, gathered shirring is sewn with regular sewing thread in the needle and bobbin; this type of permanent shirring doesn't stretch and is essentially a sub-set of gathering.

We recommend using a basic woven to get the hang of the technique. However, don't let this recommendation deter you from trying shirring on other fabric types! The technique looks the most dramatic when used on lighter weight fabrics, but can be used on heavier ones. We've even had success with terry cloth! With the heavier and/or non-woven fabrics, you'll probably need to adjust your sewing machine settings and possibly use a different presser foot appropriate for the fabric type. Regardless of which fabric you use, always test your stitching on scraps first. And remember to pre-shrink your fabric, especially if you are shirring a garment. Once the finished piece is laundered, the shirring almost always pulls up even more.

Left to right: Simple Shirred Sundress,?Shirred Sun Dress,?Shirred Sun Top in Floaty, Flirty Voile.

As we're sure you can guess, shirring "eats up" some of the width of your fabric. Exactly how much will depend on the fabric as well as how many lines of shirring you are doing. Testing on a scrap of the actual fabric you are using is the best way to determine how much extra width you should start with. Measure your scrap before and after your test to see how much the shirring changes the width. As with most things (and always where cookies are concerned), make more than you think you'll need. You CAN cut shirring, you simply need to run a vertical line of straight stitching (with a short stitch length) across all your lines of shirring to lock the elastic into place. Do this seam line PRIOR to trimming off the excess.

Length is more of an aesthetic decision and will be determined by the project you are making. For example, on a sundress, you'd likely want the shirring to be the majority (if not all) of the bodice. Measure that part of the pattern to determine how many lines of shirring you'll need. On a pillow, you might want the shirring to be just a feature strip through the middle. Again, measure the length or depth.


Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Jodi Kelly

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