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Message Board > Patterns and Notions > Shirring with elastic thread - can anybody help? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Shirring with elastic thread - can anybody help?
rudyinok
rudyinok
Intermediate
OK USA
Member since 3/4/08
Posts: 51
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Date: 3/18/11 8:46 PM

I am trying to add shirring to the sleeves in a children's shirt pattern "the olivia top" by Pink Fig patterns. I am using "elastic thread" - can't tell you where I got it at all, just found it in my sewing box, lol. it is not extremely fine, but seems to run through my machine ok after being hand-winded on the bobbin. but the shirring is just very loose. I have steam ironed it and it is still too loose to achieve the desired look of the pattern.

I see that a gutermann's elastic thread does exist from searches on the internet. I'm wondering if my elastic thread is inferior, or old or just not fine enough or what.

I have a pair of leggings made by Matilda Jane - a boutique children's company. they have ruffles on the bottom that are sewn with what appears to be very fine translucent elastic thread. wish I could find what they used!!!

can anybody weigh in on this topic?

thanks so much in advance!

------
Ruth Ann

dragon10
dragon10
Intermediate
AUSTRALIA
Member since 1/1/10
Posts: 57
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Date: 3/18/11 10:23 PM

Have you tried adjusting the tension on your machine? I played around with shirring elastic and changing the tension does seem to adjust how gathered the fabric comes out. Play around on scraps of fabric. Your elastic might have lost some elasticity if it is too old. Hope this helps.

mendospot

mendospot  Friend of PR
Beginner
CA
Member since 6/9/05
Posts: 273
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Date: 3/18/11 11:27 PM

The only way I have ever used the shirring elastic is by zig-zagging over it and then pulling it up for the shirring effect. It worked great.

nicegirl
starstarstarstar
nicegirl
Intermediate
DC USA
Member since 5/10/06
Posts: 1717
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Date: 3/18/11 11:56 PM

It is counterintuitive, but you must use a long basting stitch for shirring elastic in the bobbin to shir properly. I would definitely have thought it was the other way. You can also add more rows. Two or 3 rows of shirring won't do much of anything, you have to make it really dense if it needs to gather up a large bit of fabric.

However, all old elastic (except maybe real rubber elastic--not common these days) loses its elasticity after a while. A dress I shirred with elastic thread (Stretch Rite from Joann) about 3 years ago has lost almost all its elasticity and now just hangs and bags. I need to redo it. It could be old elastic thread.

I don't know what the clear stuff is. Somebody else mentioned it a while back (can't get more specific than that) and I'm not sure it was every conclusively identified.

------
http://theslapdashsewist.blogspot.com
=================
2007: purchased 115+, sewed 105+
So close to parity, yet so far

Trying again in 2008
Yards purchased: 133
Yards sewn: Somewhere around 95

2009? I give up

rudyinok
rudyinok
Intermediate
OK USA
Member since 3/4/08
Posts: 51
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Date: 3/23/11 2:39 PM

I thank all of you for your responses! I also may have stumbled upon the problem. I found a tutorial/review online of how to make shirring work with Babylock (which I have) or Brother machines. it is here: http://gigglesmum-creativeheart.blogspot.com/2009/10/shirring-problems-i-cracked-it.html

sorry, don't know how to hyper link that.

but anyway, this lady suggests buying another bobbin case that you can set the tension tighter for shirring, then switch it back to the regular one so as to not mess up your regular sewing. sounds logical.

I got some gutermann's thread, now I may consider tightening the tension on the bobbin casing.

maybe someday I can figure this out!

I also plan to try some of your suggestions above, thanks.

------
Ruth Ann

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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OH USA
Member since 12/3/06
Posts: 6846
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In reply to rudyinok


Date: 3/23/11 4:32 PM

Hand wind the elastic "thread" on the bobbin and make sure it goes through the tension guide on the side of the bobbin case or it will not have any elastic to it.

Set your upper thread tension to the same as for sewing and use a straight stitch.

Back stitch at the beginning and end so the elastic does not "snap" out of the stitching.

To add a hyper link, copy the address, select the http:// access key and paste the address, next screen will be for the title. Tutorial



-- Edited on 3/23/11 4:35 PM --

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

mozeyrn
mozeyrn
Beginner
NJ USA
Member since 9/30/06
Posts: 164
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Date: 3/23/11 6:18 PM

I've made a couple of shirred dresses for my dd. I've used basic elastic thread (nothing special - just a new package of it) but it's true that one of two rows of stitching won't do much. When you are doing the extra rows just make sure you stretch out the material that has begun to *shir* while stitching.

------
- Maureen.

Kenmore 26231 SM
White 2900 Serger
Brother 1250D Combo

Sheep to Shawl
Sheep to Shawl
Intermediate
PA USA
Member since 5/25/06
Posts: 1
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Date: 4/30/11 2:03 PM

Thanks for all the great suggestions in this post. I too was having trouble with the shirring I was doing on some test fabric. It got better when I tried some of the techniques mentioned here, but got much better when I realized that I had wound my elastic onto my bobbin backwards. My machine automatically winds the bobbins so that the thread comes off counter-clockwise, and I had wound it clockwise. As a result, the bobbin thread kept slipping out of the bobbin tension clip. When I re-wound the bobbin, it stayed in the clip and is working really, really well. I also took the suggestion of steaming the fabric once I was finished. You could actually see the fabric pull-up and change shape as the elastic shrank down a bit!

Sibilance7
Sibilance7  Friend of PR
Intermediate
IL
Member since 8/10/11
Posts: 566
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Date: 9/12/12 10:43 PM

I know this thread is over a year old, but I just have to reply to say thank you to Sheep to Shawl for mentioning that she wound her bobbin backwards. I was having lots of trouble shirring and this was exactly my problem! I'm not sure I ever would have noticed!

------
My blog: www.feministstitch.com

I sew on:
Olivia, my Pfurple Pfaff Creative Performance
BabyLock Evolution

Ariadne

Ariadne
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 7/27/08
Posts: 126
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 9/13/12 3:08 PM

oh- you really do want to do the extra bobbin holder thing. I didn't have an extra one, so I just tightened the tension on mine, and then loosened it, and then had to take my whole machine in for re-balancing. Not spending $20 for a bobbin case cost me $75.

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