Something that I have wanted to try for quite some time now is shirring! I love the look of shirring...I love the versatility of shirring. There are so many things you can do with shirring.
I have read quite a few blog posts and tutorials on this "art". I have researched the problems and difficulties and finally decided to try it out.
I read on a lot of places that the biggest help for successful shirring (for top loading bobbin machines, which I have) was to open up the bobbing housing and tighten the bobbin tension (by tightening a screw found on the side of the bobbin casing. So I did that before I even started (and made note of how many turns I had to turn it to tighten so I would know where to put it back to when I was done). I tightened it as tight as it would go.
Here is a pic of the bobbin casing showing the screw (I have a Janome Memory Craft 10,000 machine)
I also set my thread tension to 6.0 (which on my machine the highest you can go is 8.0...I don't know if that is the case for all machines) and I set my stitch length to the longest possible length.
I found the fabric at my Wal-Mart. It was a remnant that was marked way down. I thought it would be a good fabric for a test run of shirring, and if for some reason I messed up then I wasn't out a lot of money for the fabric!
But - it worked!!! It really worked!!
For fabric measurements I cut out a rectangle. The width was Alyssa's chest measurement x 2. The length was the length I wanted the dress to be.
It is easier if you hem the top of your garment before you start sewing. For the top edge and bottom edge instead of hemming I just serged them with my serger. I serged the top edge before I started shirring.
Shirring itself is very simple. What you do is hand wind your bobbin with elastic sewing thread and then thread it in your bobbin casing. (Make sure that your thread is grabbed by the bobbin tension). For the top thread use a thread color that goes well with your fabric because it will be seen on the top side of your fabric.
Put your rectangle of fabric in your machine (right side up so that your elastic will show on the wrong side of the fabric) and sew a line where you want shirring (for this dress I did the whole width because I wanted the whole top part of the dress shirred.) Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and ending of your line so that you lock your stitches.
When you start the next line, and for every line after that, you will need to pull your fabric flat as you sew.
Sew as many lines as you want. I just every so often held the fabric up to Alyssa to see if I wanted to add more lines.
When I was happy with it I followed another trick I saw online. I ironed it with my iron on the steam setting and it tightened up the shirring even more. You could see it scrunching together as you hit the fabric with the steam!
I also decided instead of doing a bottom hem to also serge the bottom edge.
I also serged the width edges and then sewed my back seam.
I also used the serger for the shoulder straps (to complete this look I had going on)! I attached the straps by stretching the fabric where I wanted to tack them and used a small zig-zag stitch to tack them in place (that way I didn't loose any stretching at the strap area.
That's it!! All the work of this project was on shirring! The rest went together in a snap!
I have so many ideas for this technique!! It is going to be a fun Summer!! :-)
And doesn't Alyssa look like a doll in her new dress???
(only problem is...she wore it to church tonight and discovered how easy it is to take off! They said she took it off three times last night! I want her to wear it for my sister's baby shower on Saturday. I guess I am going to have to pin the straps to her onesie so she can't pull it off!)