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Tips on Shirring Technique by Alexis using Mind The Maker Mini Leo Viscose Twill


I am so excited to be back on the Lamazi Blog! As many of you know, Lamazi carries many of my favorite fabric companies including Meet Milk, Mind the Maker, Atelier Brunette and Art Gallery Fabrics just to name a few. I used Mind the Maker, Mini Leo Green Viscose Twill Dress Fabric

(When sewing with Mind the Maker, it’s best to use clips instead of pins and well as a new sharp needle.)

On today’s blog I will be sharing about shirring technique. Shirring has been a very popular trend in both RTW stores and on many sewing machines. I know there are many people out there who may be intimidated by the technique but I will share several tips to hopefully make it a lot easier.

Shirring Technique
What I did:

Started with the FibreMood, Elma Pattern, and modified it by shirring the sleeves. I constructed the top per the tutorial except the sleeves.

Sleeve construction: Leave off the elastic done in step 6. Once the sleeve is sewn to the bodice and sewn close, hem with a ¼”, ¼” seam allowance. Next, take it to your sewing machine and slide the sleeve on your sewing machine free-arm. Before I continue with how I finished the construction on the sleeve, here are a few tips on shirring.
Shirring Technique:

-Use regular thread on top.
-Always finish with a steam iron (I have heard people will throw their clothing item into the wash to help shrinkage as well but I prefer a good steam iron).
-Use a longer stitch length- 4 to 5
-Increase tension (every machine can be different)
-Thread the elastic through the small hole.
-Backstitch when you start and finish the rows.
-It will take a couple of rows before you start to see gathering.
-Thinner fabric works best.
-Increase the tension on your bobbin.
-Always test on a piece of fabric to find what works for your machine.
-Use good quality elastic thread like Gutterman. I have found Dritz did not work as well.
-Gently pull the fabric straight as you sew each row. This will help keep your lines straight. Also, as you reach row 2 and beyond you will need to keep the fabric taut so that it will not wrinkle under the sewing foot.
-If you have a top loading machine it is important that your thread is threaded through the notch/cut out on your sewing machine. See photo below.

*If you have a front loading bobbin thread the elastic thread like normal then also thread through the small hole. This increases the tension in your bobbin. See photo below.

For my shirring recipe, here is what I did on my Bernina:

*Hand wind the bobbin (slight tension)
*4mm stitch length
*Threaded the elastic through the small hole in the bobbin casing (again this helps with increasing bobbin tension)
*I did not need to change my tension

You will need to find your “recipe” for what works for your machine. Each machine can be a little different.

Shirring the Sleeves:

Once your sleeve is on your machine, start ¼” in from the topstitched stitch line on the hem of the sleeve. Starting at the sleeve seam, backstitch, then continue all the way around the sleeve, stopping right before your first stitch. Keeping the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot and stitch twice running parallel to the sleeve seam. Again, keeping needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot and stitch another row. This will keep the rows about ¼” apart. Continue stitching 3-4 more rows for a total of 5-6 rows. Don’t forget to backstitch! Simple as that!!


Final Look:



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