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Tips & Techniques > Using elastic thread for shirring

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Posted by: StacyCK

About StacyCK
Member since: 2/27/07
Reviews: 7 (tips: 1)
Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 11/7/07 9:08 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 20 people   
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I use elastic thread all the time in making clothes for my daughter. You can easily make a fitted halter dress for the summer with this technique.

You can find elastic thread at any fabric store with a good notions supply. It can be found with the rest of the elastic, not the thread.

1. Hand wind the bobbin with the elastic thread and don't pull it.

2. Use regular thread for your top thread.

3. Set your stitch lenght to the longest stitch and I usually set the tension around 3-4.

4. Cut your fabric with at least a 2:1 ratio for the size you need. For my daughter I cut a piece 10"x22" for the back of her dress.

5. Hem the top of the piece first. It is difficult to do when it is all bunched up.

6. Start sewing in long straight lines. You can trace your guidelines if you want or just go slowly. I use the sewing lines as a guide for distance. I go down three stitches in between each line.

7. When you are done sewing your lines, tie the two threads together. It is hard to use and anchoring stitch with the elastic thread, so tying them together is necessary.

8. Now if it didn't shirr enough while you were sewing, you can use a steam iron to bring it out. It usually shirrs more when I put the outfit in the dryer, too.

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Scousegal said... (8/19/11 7:07 AM) Reply
Yeah! Been searching everywhere. The one tip I wanted is here. Hem the top B4 gathering. Simple but needed. Great info
kojo said... (4/28/10 7:49 AM) Reply
richellej said... (11/11/08 10:12 PM) Reply
Anthea I think it has to do with the machine. Some of the computerized ones won't shirr correctly. My Janome did a beautiful job but with my new Pfaff I have the same problem with the elastic being super tight. I've tried everything and can't get it to shirr right.
AntheaK said... (8/31/08 8:03 AM) Reply
i am desperate for help!! i have tried every listed by everyone i.e done exactly what you wrote above and more (elastic shirring thread in bobbin, normal for top thread etc etc). The problem i have is that it is like the elastic shirring thread is being sretched tight and then sewn onto the fabric leaving me with no stretch what so ever!! please help!! could you email me at [email protected] with your response???!!!??
Helen near Sydney said... (11/9/07 2:24 AM) Reply
Added this to my Favourites file for future use, thankyou.
StacyCK said... (11/7/07 2:25 PM) Reply
It is a little bit difficult to sew straight lines once the first row is in as the fabric does bunch up. You have to go slow and I do pull the shirring semi-flat so the next row goes in better. My lines aren't exactly ruler straight, but you don't notice when they are off a little. Unless you look really hard! ;)
Leslie in NZ said... (11/7/07 2:05 PM) Reply
Stacy, thank you for this tip. I have always wondered how hard it is to sew straight lines once the first row of shirring is in. Does the fabric bunch up? Do you have to hold it flat firmly and does that harm the previous shirring?
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