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Shirring...How to sheer fabric for gathered fullness.

     Shirring is a method of shaping a garment and is done so by controlling fullness. It's technique is similar to gathering. Shirring consists of two or more rows of gathered fabric. Shirring can be a pretty and feminine alternative to darts in small areas near the shoulder as shown above. Shirring can also be done on large areas of a garment like all around the top of a full skirt. Shirring works best on soft fabrics but can also done on stronger fabrics.

Cut a 6" X 6" piece of fabric to practice on.

You can mark the lines you want to sew on, or just mark the first line and use the pressure foot as your guide to sew the rest of the lines.

Set your machine at the largest baste stitch. Stitch on your line. Do not back-stitch. Sew to the end. Once again do not back-stitch. Leave the threads long, do not cut your threads at either end.

Here's is what the first row will look like.
Line up fabric with pressure foot lined up along the stitching line you just did.

Keep the pressure along the stitching line as your guide.

Sew to the end and do not back-stitch.

This is what the two rows will look like.
Continue this process until you have completed your rows of stitching. I am showing you an example with three rows of stitching.
Once your rows are done carefully pull one thread in your top line. It does not matter which thread whether top or bottom, as long as you only pull one thread.

Notice how the fabric gathers.

Once your first row is gathered, pull one thread on your second row. continue until all rows are gathered.


Here is another example of shirring at the shoulder. This method was done as described above. To hold the shirring in place, once it was gathered, a regular stitch was sewn over top of the shirring. Keep in mind that you will want to keep your gathering even.


Notice the the gentle fabric used for this project. Once again the shirring was done on the shoulder area in place of darts. This gives a pretty feminine look to this 1925 zigzag vintage dress being made.


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