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Topic: My First Shirred Garment: No Pattern Needed!  (Read 1862 times)
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« on: April 09, 2010 06:51:24 PM »

This was so much fun to make: I just took a rectangle of fabric the width that I wanted the top to ultimately be plus extra for the top and bottom hems. The length was twice the measurement of my girl's chest--which added to a bit less than 44 inches, so I just cut it the width of the fabric and left it at that.

I hemmed the bottom and top of the fabric, and added sparkly purple and white lace trim to the top, and sparkly purple rick rack to the bottom.

Then, I filled a bobbin with elastic thread using the bobbin winder on my Bernina 440 QE--lots of tutes on line suggested winding it by hand, but that bugged the crap out of me, so I used the machine. I tapped the filled bobbin on the table a few times to loosen the elastic up a bit, then loaded it up in my bobbin case like any other bobbin, and popped it in.  Then, I threaded the machine with purple thread so it would show nicely on the green, picked up the elastic thread (on the third try, it was a bit finicky about that), set my stitch length to five, and did a test run on a different chunk of material.

When the world did not end, I went on to do ten rows of shirring on my actual fabric, 1/4" apart. At the end of each row, I left the needle in the fabric, turned 90 degrees, took a couple of stitches, turned 90 degrees again and then stitched on, back and forth.

When the shirring was done, I took out the elastic bobbin and loaded up the machine with a bobbin of regular thread, lest I forget.

Then, I took my shirred rectangle over and with my iron on highest heat and full of lots of steamy goodness, I steamed the crap out of the fabric by holding the iron about an inch above the fabric and repeatedly pushed the steam blast button and watched in delight as the fabric shrank up and gathered into delicious wee puckers. It was the best part--like a magic trick.

Then, I stitched it together into a tube and made spaghetti straps of purple fabric using my Fasturn tubes, sewed them on and added a sparkly purple button to the top as an accent and it was done.

The girl was dancing with impatience to try it on as I hand sewed the straps and button on, and she was thrilled to finally wear it today.

It was so easy, I am off to make a dress this evening!

Know thyself.
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2010 07:07:05 PM »

So cute!  I bought some shirring elastic awhile back but never did anything with it!  This sounds so easy!  I love that fabric, do you mind telling me where you got it, manufacturer, etc.?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010 08:17:07 PM »

The fabric is "Spring Fling" by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda.

I got it half price at the local quilt store, as they were closing it out.

I can't find the green version I have online, but the version with the same colors of flowers on a white background can be gotten here:


You might try eBay--I had no luck looking on Etsy.

But really, the shirring part was simple. I think the worst part was trying to hand wind the bobbin! Drove me nuts!

Know thyself.
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2010 06:40:43 AM »

Awesome job! Thanks for describing the iron part. I have bought the elastic thread and with your hints and tips I am motivated to give this a try. Your top and daughter are adorable! Nice job.
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2010 08:26:15 AM »


It was really easy--easy enough that I am wondering why folks do stuff like putting elastic casings in sleeves at the wrist and the upper arm when shirring is so easy.

I haven't finished the dress yet because I got all indecisive about the design and the trims. I finally decided to finish it with a contrasting ruffle and shirred straps to match the ruffle.

I'll post pics when its done.


Know thyself.
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2010 07:49:52 AM »

I like it! I bought some elastic thread the other day to make my daughter a similar dress. I really need to get started on it!
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Sorry about my english (I'm from Russia)

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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010 06:32:49 AM »

The fabric looks so nice!!!
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010 09:05:50 AM »

I love it! I bought elastic thread to give shirring a try but haven't got around to it. Maybe today is the day?
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There is no right or wrong, when it comes to making art. Making sure that you have fun is the most important part. -Mickey Mouse
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Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?

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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2010 11:05:32 AM »

super cute! And thanks for the description on how you made it, sounds like even I could make it!
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