For the love of shirring

For the love of shirring

Its my new found love, its incredibly addictive and creates the most gorgeous finished look on a dress, top, skirt, sleeves… actually, everything!

There are many shirring methods and tutorials out there, but this is a tutorial about the method I like to use! (following many blunders, unpicking and a few swear words along the way!!!) But once you have got the hang of it, you will want to shirr everything!!

To shirr all you need is:

Sewing machine,


Thread to match your fabric

And elastic shirring thread.

Shirring essential equipment (plus a sewing machine!)



1. First thing to remember when cutting our fabric, is that it will shrink (due to the elastic) to half the size you start with.

If you’re a beginning, id recommend marking lines on the fabric for a guide, with chalk or a fabric pen. This will help to ensure your shirred lines stay nice a straight! You can space your lines as far apart as you like, but id recommend around 1 cm apart.

Tip: The closer the lines are the more gathered your end result will be. Also, when you have practiced the technique a little you will be able to use the foot of the sewing machine to guide your lines.
sewing guides


2. Next you will need to hand wind the elastic thread on to your bobbin. I tend to add a little tension when winding the elastic and try to keep to the same tension.
Add the wound bobbin as usual into the machine and pull through.

hand winding the elastic onto the bobbin
Place the wound bobbin, into the machine as normal


3. Stitching time! Always back stitch to secure and prevent it from unraveling. Use a straight stich on a 3mm stitch size.

sew with a straight stitch along the drawn lines


4 once you have completed your first line, guiding your fabric through under the foot, you can either cut off the ends and start the next row, or, Simply turn the fabric at the end of the row and come back along the next row. This will leave loops at the end of each row, which can be clipped later.

Continue with this process until all rows are complete.

Tip. The first few rows wont look very gathered, but as you increase your rows it will pucker up nicely.
2 Rows
7 Rows
Back view



5. Pressing. On the correct side of the fabric use the steam from your iron to set the elastic by gently pressing the iron down (try and avoid sliding the iron over the fabric) this helps to shrink and set the elastic.


Now add this technique to any garment, here is one of my favourite dresses, with shirring at the waist and the cuffs....

Have fun with Shirring!!

Pattern @stylearc