Learning to Shir

Shirring is a new (to me..old to everyone else) technique that is fun and (semi) simple to do! I decided to test it out on a simple cotton floral skirt. I first started with practicing on some scrap fabric because I've never used elastic thread in my bobbin before but have noticed it a ton on some of the dresses I bought at Target over the summer.

First you use a thin piece of elastic thread that you can typically find in the elastic area of your fabric store and not the thread area. Looks like this:

You will have to wrap it by hand around the plastic bobbin and make sure you pull it a little tight and not wrap it to loose. You may have to play around with how tight to wrap it. Believe me I had to redo my thread and a few bad stitches. We all love the trail and error in learning to sew. :)

Scrap piece - This is NOT how it should look

The picture above was a test piece that I first did. The elastic thread was too loose and that is how it will look when its not shirring correctly. I found out that on my Brother sewing machine I needed to tighten the bobbin tension and found the great video on how to do it here. I recommend watching this video if you have a Brother sewing machine.
Correct tension! This is how it will look.
After testing the scrap piece and getting a correct tension I started on the floral cotton fabric that I found at Hancock Fabrics.

I serged the edges to give it a finished look.

The above picture shows you how the rows on the left are correct and the last row on the right was incorrect and not shirring properly. I had to re-wind my bobbin with elastic becasue I didnt pull it taught while winding around the bobbin.
When you start to shir the fabric make sure the fabric is pulled flat while you sew and not getting bunched up under the sewing foot. Sometimes it helps to use both hand pulling the fabric before the foot and after the foot. The picture below shows what it will start to look like when you have a few rows of shirring done. The more rows you shir the tighter it will get.

After five rows of shirring!

Then if you actually want it tighter take your iron and simply give it a little steam and watch the magic while your fabric shrinks up even more! (it looks like 6 rows above but my very top row was my hem stitch. I was going to add a thicker piece of elastic but I liked the final look of it being bunched up at the top).

My final skirt! Its easy to wear and I've actually worn it a few times out already. :) I hope to make a few more of these and I havent been pregnant yet but could imagine this is super great staple piece for pregnant women as well! I will add a finished picture with an outfit soon.

Happy Sewing!

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