In this month’s P4P University blog we decided to focus on shirring. Shirring is the process that will give elasticity non stretchy fabric by shrinking it.
Start by winding the bobbin with elastic thread. I recommend winding the bobbin by hand instead if the electric winder. This will ensure that the thread is not too tight on the bobbin.
TIP: Wind several bobbins before you start sewing.
Replace your regular thread bobbin with the elastic thread one and manually pull the elastic thread up by hand turning the machine wheel.
I have made this video with my tips for easy shirring so take a look before you start.
Choose light weight fabric!
As with all sewing, fabric type/weight makes a huge difference. The lighter the fabric, the tighter will your shirring be. Voile or chiffon will shirr better than quilting cotton, denim or corduroy won’t shirr at all.
Adjust the tension and length according to your machine and fabric!
Not all sewing machines will shirr the same way. Some might “fuss” more than other, so it’s very important to test on a piece of fabric (the same as the one you’re using in your project) what tension will work best. I personally prefer the longest stitch length and the highest tension.
Do not use the automatic thread cutter!
I know for some, like me, using the automatic features of our machine is like second nature but try to remember to disengage the automatic thread cutter so you avoid having to manually pull the elastic thread up with every row. See video above.
Space your shirring rows equally spaced, no more than 1/4″ apart!
For best shirring results your rows should be about 1/4″ apart, or less. The closer the shirring rows, the tighter the elasticity.
Steam, steam and STEAM again!!
Once you finished your shirring rows take your project to the ironing board and give the shirred rows several bursts of steam, on both sides. You will see the shrinking magic happening right before your eyes. This step is NOT OPTIONAL, it’s a must do when shirring.
There you have it! You are now ready to shirr all the woven tops!
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