Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shir Madness

I have found some really cute tutorials lately on MADE and From an Igloo that involve shirring so I thought that I would give it a try.  If you don’t know what shirring is, it is when you use elastic thread in the bobbin and the result is pretty gathered fabric.  Sounds fun right?  Well once you figure it out it is fun but the road to figuring it out can be a bit frustrating.  First I searched the internet for shirring tutorials and there are about a gazillion.  All giving different advice.  "You must hand wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin, no use the regular bobbin winding technique, adjust the tension, whatever you do do not touch your tension, change your stitch length, leave your stitch length alone", etc.  Then there were several additional tutorials with trouble shooting tips for people with Brother Sewing Machines with drop in bobbins.  Which of course I now own.  It is enough to make you crazy!!!  The bottom line is that every machine is different.  You just have to set aside some time to play around with it and know that you may waste a few spools of elastic thread in the effort.  Don’t get frustrated just keep trying different things until you find what works best for you and your machine.  Trust me that the effort is worth it.  Once you get it right, the same technique should always work for you and you will have loads of fun making cute little sundresses! 
What finally worked for me and my Brother Sewing Machine, was a combination of these two tutorials Creative Heart and Prudent Baby.  I wound the elastic on the bobbin as I would with any other thread on my machine.  I took the bobbin plate off to make sure that the elastic was linked into the bobbin.  This was definitely one of my problems early on.  The elastic thread is thicker so it wasn’t linking in properly.  I set my stitch length to 3.5 and left the tension alone.  As I started to sew, I held onto the both the bobbin thread and the top thread until I had back stitched a bit to hold it in place and that’s it!  Maybe this technique will work for you too or maybe you will have to try your own but please do give it a try.  
This is what the back of your fabric will look like.  (Remember that you sew on the front of your fabric.)  The first two lines and the last one are done correctly.  The third and fourth one, Yikes!  (You can click on the picture for a closer look.)
Leah, at Sew Spoiled also gave shirring a try this week and posted about it.  Be sure to check out the cute sundresses she made!  I have actually completed a couple of fun projects this weekend and will be posting about them in the next couple of days so be sure to check back in!

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