Monday 28 November 2011


I did it!!! I have just completed my first sewing project using shirring!!! In the past, I had always avoided shirring, as I'd heard stories about how hard it was and how the elastic makes a tangled mess in the bobbin.

It was easy as!!! This is how I did it:
  • Wind the shirring elastic onto the bobbin by hand.
  • Set the machine to the straight stitch. You can use a stitch for elastic, but I couldn't find this stitch on my machine. I'm sure it's there, but I don't know where.
  • I set the stitch length to 3 for the neck and 3.5 for the armholes. The longer the stitch length, the tighter the shirring. I may have made the elastic a little too tight, so I'll experiment with a shorter length next time.
  • Steam the elastic with an iron. Hold the iron above the elastic and press the steam button. Don't let the iron touch the elastic. The steam shrinks the shirring elastic.
Kristy, over at Hopeful Threads, encouraged me to attempt the shirring. Thanks, Kristy. It was as easy as you said. Kristy is having a fun sew-along for the month of November, using patterns purchased from Create HOPE Designs. You can purchase patterns here and here. Head on over to Hopeful Threads to see what you could win by participating. There's still a couple of days left to enter.

This time, I've made Lucy's Little Flower Dress. The pattern fits 12 months to 7 years, with two variations included in the pattern; one with a ruffle and one with a band. I chose the ruffled version. The pattern contains easy to follow, detailed instructions, with lots of photos.

The shirring around the neck makes the dress easy to take on and off. There is also shirring around the armholes. This was such an easy, little dress to make. I'll definitely be making more.

Create Hope Designs

Lucy's Little Flower dress pattern, costing only $5US, has been created by Izzy and Ivy Designs, one of ten women who have donated their patterns to Create HOPE Designs. The pattern comes as a PDF, so you can begin sewing as soon as you make your purchase. All funds generated by the sale of patterns, benefit orphans and their communities around the world.

sew with heart 3 by Hopeful Threads, on Flickr

Now that I've found out just how easy shirring is, I'm keen to do more. I'd love to hear your suggestions for patterns that you've used, either for children or adults.

Edited to add: I've added a shirred pocket to the dress. Here's how I did it and some pictures. I also forgot to mention in the post, just how easy this dress is to take on and off.


  1. Pam - Thanks for great tips on shirring. I think my friend showed me how to do it before but I completely forgot the whole process already.
    The dress is so adorable! Are you making these cute outfits for the little ones in your family?

    1. Your outfit is stunning, and I love how you put it together. Thank you for sharing this. I will give it a try for my nephew, but I do not have time to do it anytime soon because I have a lot of dissertations to finish before the deadline. If I could find the best dissertation editors, I could finish editing them in time to make dresses.

  2. I did shirring many years ago. but I forgot as well. Thanks for sharing.
    the little dress is sweet.

  3. Love it! I used the same fabric to make some baby shoes for my baby girl that i posted the other day! :-)

  4. Hey Pam!

    Good for you for trying something new and tricky. Shirring is so pretty on a little girl's dress. Did you know that there's another method to shirring? You place the shirring elastic along the "seam line" and carefully zigzag over it without catching the elastic. Then you pull the shirring through the "zigzag tunnel" as much as you like and secure the ends (in the seam allowances). This is how Burda Magazine explains it. This way you have more control over the level of gathering and you don't need to use elastic in the bobbin thread.

  5. Pam, this is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Love the fabrics you chose and your shirring turned out GREAT!!!! Yay! Told you it was fun! Now what will you shir next???? My oldest wants a skirt with a shirred waistband, so I'm gonna have to try that out soon. Thanks for sewing along!

  6. Cute dress!

    I have the fabric to make the skirt from this tutorial, but I haven't tried it yet.

  7. Shirring scares me! Soon I will try it though.

  8. Well done! It really is easy peasy! I bet you're kicking yourself for not trying it sooner! LOL. Dana Made it has a great post here about shirring..
    I'll try and find some more for you later ;-)

  9. Oooo! Looks great, well done! I've got some of the elastic in the drawer but haven't tried it yet. Thanks for the tips! I tried to go over to the website but the music woke hubby up, poor guy! (I'm on my mobile in bed...)
    Take care :) have fun sewing!

  10. Your dress is fantastic. I just bought Lucy's Little Flower Dress yesterday! Looking forward to making it.
    And thanks to Keren for offering that zigzag method to shirring too, I've never tried that one!

  11. Adorable dress and how nice you accomplished something you were afraid of doing. All of the items you made came out so cute.

  12. That's so cute!! I keep meaning to try shirring, but haven't had a project that would benefit from it. Maybe I'll make something just to try it. Looks great!

  13. always wanted to learn that !!!! so great !

  14. Darling! And I love the shirred armholes, I would have never thought of that!

  15. Very Cute! Isn't it great when a new sewing technique ends up being easier than you expected. I actually started sewing because of a shirring project I saw on Martha Stewart for a sweet sundress. Here's a link to that project.

  16. This is darlin Pam! Saw it on PR&play.  Would you like to post  your project at Sew& Tell Saturday too?
    Justine @ Sew Country Chick

  17. Shirring is on my (very long) list of things to try for next year! Everyone makes it sound so simple - and I might try Keren's tip too!

    Lovely dress too!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  18. Stopping by from Free for all Friday...

    This is so cute. It is such an easy way to make something look adorable. I can't wait to try it out on some tops for myself because I only have boys to sew for, and I'm not sure they would appreciate the ruffly look!

  19. This is great! Thank you for sharing with Blog Stalking Thursday. I have featured you from last weeks party. Don't forget to stop by and grab a featured button! I can't wait to see what you post next!

  20. Kudos to Kristy for the encouragement and for making shirring seem so accessible. I'm intrigued by the sew-along for November using patterns from Create HOPE Designs. Thanks for the info.

  21. Overcoming those fears and trying something new is a big accomplishment. Embracing challenges like shirring opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities in sewing, much like exploring new topics with essay writing services broadens your academic horizons. Keep up the great work!


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