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Guestpost- Shirring: Don’t Be Scared

Hello, I want to start this Guest blog post by telling you a little about myself. My name is Shani and I write a sewing blog at Shani Sews. I am a Navy wife and found that sewing helped deal with the stress of the military world. I have a toddler daughter and an infant son. Sewing not only helped me keep busy but also equipped me with the means to cloth my children in “designer”, well-fitting garments. My children are tall and lean like their daddy and store-bought clothing just did not seem to fit properly. A store-bought garment would fit along the waist then be too short in length. Sewing allows me to measure and create alterations for properly fitting garments.

Too many people are scared of shirring. It is a great way to create a garment that will grow width-wise when needed. There is no need to be scared. The Sofilantjes Bruerum top and dress is a easy to follow pattern, best used to practice shirring. This cute little top has multiple skirt options, from top length to maxi.

Tips and Instructions key in shirring:

You will need:

  • The Sofilantjes Brueram top and dress pattern
  • Elastic thread is used in the bobbin (bottom thread)
  • Regular thread for the top
  • The fabric of choice (review page 11 for fabric chart)
  • pins
  • and of course your sewing machine

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For this Blog I made the top version in size 5. Please follow the instructions in the pattern closely so that you do not misstep. You will construct the bodice exactly as stated in the instructions given with the pattern. Remember that in steps 15 to 17 you are gathering and basting the top skirt piece separate from the back skirt piece. The side seams are left unsewn until step 25.

When you reach step 19 prep your bodice carefully for shirring. Please do not forget to pin the side seams to ensure that the main bodice back and the liner do not shift. Roll the elastic thread to the bobbin by hand. This will ensure that the bobbin is rolled correctly. While rolling the bobbin make sure you keep some tension on the elastic thread, stretching it slightly while rolling. Place the rolled bobbin in the sewing machine. For the top thread you will use regular sewing thread. I leave a long tail of elastic thread out to make sure that the bobbin thread feeds through the machine when I sew. For the sewing machine settings I left the default settings on. Thread width is set at 3.5 and stitch length is at 2.5. Stitch length is subject to fabric choices so practice shirring a small piece of the same fabric you will be using to make your garment.

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We will now begin to shir. I use my presser foot as my guide for where to start. It is best to space rows between 1/4″ and 1/2″. My presser foot helps space my rows at 3/8″.

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Stitch from seam to seam in a straight line. You may not notice a lot of shirring after the first line. Continue to stitch the second row, using your presser foot as your guide.

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You can see in the picture above that the fabric is starting to gather after a few rows of stitching. Continue stitching the next rows until you reach the bottom of the bodice. Remember to use your presser foot to guide the spacing between the rows. Steam/ iron the back bodice after shirring. The heat will gather the fabric a bit more and set the thread.

This is what your bodice will look like in the end.
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Complete constructing the Brueram following the instructions provided with the pattern.

This is my goofy daughter wearing her new Brueram Top. She is in love with the hearts fabric.

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Thank you Shani.

Come back and read the next Guest blog posts

October 7: Understitching

Adventures with Bubba and Bug
October 19: How to add pockets to a dress

Heart made by Suzy

November 2: How to adjust to skinny or plus size

Boutique Birdie

November 16: Shirring

Shani Sews

December 7: How to mash up patterns

Tales of a Tester

December 21: Sewing with knits

Shani Sews

January 8: Sewing on the perfect binding

Droomstoffen

January 14: How to make your on bias tape

Boevenbende

Febuary 1: French seams

Winingwife

Feburary 14: Handstitching the right way

Sprouting Jube Jube

March 7: How to alter a pattern

Deka Wear

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