Friday, September 28, 2012

To Shirr or not to Shirr.....that is the question

Have you heard of Shirring? You probably have and didn’t know that is what is it called. It’s a technique used to make a smocking effect on a garment using elastic thread. It has recently been seen all over and so I thought a few weeks ago I would give my hand a try at it.

Fail. I could not get it to work. I read more and more about it and decided to try again. Perhaps my machine settings were off or something. I used this tutorial here.

I decided I really wanted to learn how to do this so I attempted again last night. Success!

So all you do is hand wind some elastic thread on your bobbin. Hand wind so that you aren’t stretching the elastic but just simply winding it tightly enough that it stays on, but so that you aren’t stretching it out. There are a dozen and a half or more tutorials on this, but since I was trying it new, I thought I would give my take on it.  

My machine just has a drop in bobbin, so here is my machine loaded with the elastic thread.

Since I was just playing with some scrap from recent projects, I wanted to see if I could just get it to work.

I started out with some vintage jersey/polyester. Remember is textile from this dress. This was just leftover scrap. I don’t know what it is, but it is a thinner material. Thinner textiles then to work better than thicker. 

Then I just sewed one line down the middle of the piece. Its like an instant ruffle. And no pulling strings? I may have found a new best friend. (move over seam ripper!)

So then I grabbed a piece of cotton fabric. It ruffled up nicely too.

Then I started to get crazy. A zipper? Would it work? Somewhat.

The zipper material is a little too thick. But it ruffled it just “enough” to make a little rosette.

Then I tried this tutorial here. Its for shirred flowers. You zig zag your stitch down the whole piece and then you just twist it around itself and you have a little rosette. Easy Peasy.

Flower with a little green leaf?

By this time, I had used all the elastic thread that I had on my bobbin and so I switched it out and decided to do something with my new little friends I had just created.
I remember that Livy had a long sleeve tee that I found recently that I wanted to embellish for her, because well I hadn’t really done one yet other than for Disney.

The shirt had a stain on the front that was like a blue marker. It was small, but right in the center.

The sleeves also has blue on one of them and I didn’t notice that until I was started. I decided she could use a ¾ sleeve shirt anyway and I cut off the hideous blue stained part.

So I took my first piece of ruffled orange and I pinned it and sewed it to the collar of the shirt.

Then I got to thinking about fall and making a pumpkin on the front. I already had the Orange rosette “pumpkin”. I just needed a stump and a leaf.

I used some brown lace that I had and just rolled it onto itself to give it some depth. Then sewed it on and the leaf.

Then I had stitched the pumpkin on top. I don’t know what is worse than hand stitching. I am just not coordinated for some reason to do it "properly". I can see this shirt going into the “handwash only” pile. So I attempted to hand stitch the pumpkin on and did the best I could. I don’t know why it was so difficult for me.

Then I got to looking at the sleeves. I didn’t have enough orange left to embellish them, and then I thought even if I did that might be overkill. I can hear Tim Gunn saying “ Chrissy you need to step back and give it a good editing eye”. Ha.

So since I didn’t want to just leave the sleeves I thought I would rouch them on the sides. I did this before with my Cardigan I made here. I found an easier way though. Use Elastic on the underside. I just cut 2 small strips of elastic and where I would normally sew and pull the strings, I just sewed a piece of elastic in, remember to pull it taunt in order for it to scrunch up.


It really didn’t take that long and I like the way it turned out. Not too bad for a stained shirt and some scraps of material that would have ended up in the trash.

What do you think? Have you tried Shirring before?

Stay Calm……and get some elastic thread….you won’t be sorry.

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