'Shirr' perfection by @broomanator
Shirring. Love it or scared of it, it's definitely having its moment right now. And for good reason. It's so versatile and flattering.
Shirring is the process where the fabric is gathered by elastic to form a stretchy, crinkled texture. It will make a non-stretch fabric stretchy, add detail to a garment and over a larger area of shirring - over a bodice for example - you can really play around with the size of the print.
Before and after!
I made the peplum length version of the Sofia top/dress by Victory Patterns and it really is a knockout of a pattern. It's my third time making this pattern - this time I made sleeve option 1, with the short puff sleeve. All three of my versions were in viscose. With shirring, the thinner the fabric the more crinkled the end result, which is the look I was going for.
Outside vs inside (see that elastic!)
When shirring, the elastic will go on the bobbin and normal sewing thread goes on top. You need to hand wind the bobbins with elastic, which needs to be taught but not stretched. (You need to hand wind the bobbins as machine winding will stretch the elastic too much.) Depending on how much shirring your pattern has you may want to wind multiple bobbins to save you having to stop and wind again when you run out. If your sewing machine is a front-loading machine like mine you may also need to adjust the bobbin tension. This screw needs to be loosened so that the elastic isn't stretched too much when it feeds through the machine.
(Don't forget to tighten it back up when you've finished though!)
To create a guide for the shirring I pinched an idea from the Victory Patterns website. I cut down a kebab stick and, using a glue gun, stuck it onto the regular sewing machine foot. I marked out a couple of lines either side of the needle as a guide using a sharpie and BINGO, instant shirring guide foot!
(Yes I have a Paw Patrol sticker on my machine!)
To make sure of a great end result, its worth doing a test beforehand on a scrap of fabric to check your tension, practice a few rows and make sure you're happy.
Line up the guide
Then shirr away! The first line of stitching might seem a bit loose but the more you do the more even the finished will be. It's worth it for the great end result!!
Happy sewing xx