‘Shirring‘ is a method of gathering up fashion fabric to give a decorative effect.

Generally speaking, shirring is used on a more lightweight or softer type of fabric and when added to certain areas, can give a stunning effect.

The specific fashion sewing technique and demonstration can be done by hand but I’ll be looking to complete the shirring using my sewing machine. It all comes down to personal choice!

Shirring elastic comes in the same form as most fashion threads only thicker and has an elasticated stretch.

It is best practise to use shirring on fashion fabric that is either cut on the cross grain or on the bias, as this is the natural stretch of a fabric and will therefore give the best effects.

By using shirring thread and a simple straight stitch, you can create professional looking shirring.

1 – The shirring elastic needs to be hand wound onto the bobbin, keeping a firm tension, stretching the elastic slightly.

2 – Use your fashion thread of choice, threading your sewing machine as normal.

3 – Use a stitch length of approx 2.5. Dependent on your fabric choice, you could choose to use a longer stitch length. Try performing a test on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure you’ve got it just right.

4 – Chalk where the first line of stitching will be placed as this will help to ensure that you sew a straight and accurate line. This will then assist in the sewing of all subsequent rows of stitching.

5 – All other rows of stitching can be gauged by the edge of your sewing foot.

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    Aug 12, 2013, 06.55 PMby ceriserouge

    Thank you so much for the tutorial, it was really helpful! At MintChic and Perkin: I always try a little piece with my fabric to get the tension right and see how the fabric reacts. I measure the fabric before I shir it and afterwards. Then I divide the first number with the second number and you have your ratio. You need to multiple the normal pattern measurements with this ratio. e.g. my fabric is 17 cm wide before shirring and 10 cm afterwards: 17/10= 1.7. Original pattern is 20, so 20*1.7= 34

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    May 6, 2013, 09.22 AMby Perkin

    Please can you tell me how to estimate the amount of fabric needed for a baby’s shirred dress?. And do I alter the tension atall on the machine?

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    Aug 5, 2012, 02.59 AMby mintchic

    Thanks for the tutorial – can you tell me how to measure the fabric to get an accurate size – ie if the back of a dress measures 40cm what width would I cut? ie: is the fabric 1.5 times wider at say 60cm? I’m just trying to work out how to make those adjustments on a pattern.

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