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Sewing Minis (Ep 4): Shirring with Elastic Thread

Learn the easy technique behind all those great summer dresses and tops!

All you need is your machine, a yard or 2 of fabric, some elastic thread, and 1/4 inch elastic. No need to cut a fancy pattern and you only need to know how to use a straight stitch and zig zag stitch.

Shirring with elastic thread gathers your fabric while maintaining stretch and contouring to your body for an effortless fit. You’ll be amazed at how truly simple it is to start making your summer wardrobe.

Use this technique to make dresses, tops, and swim suit covers. You can also make skirts and yoga pants with shirred waistbands.

If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comment section below. Happy Sewing!

21 thoughts on “Sewing Minis (Ep 4): Shirring with Elastic Thread”

  1. I love all your videos ever since I discovered you on YouTube. I will also subscribe via my email so I can get my weekly video. Thank you very much.

  2. Hi ,
    I am jen , had a New home Memory craft 6000 sewing machine , looking for replace the instruction book and all the sewing foot tool come with, ( i lost all that when i am moving ) can U give me the price on this. Thank You

  3. Instead of using a pin to get elastic thru a channel, use a turning tool! takes a minute instead of 5. clover makes a great set of 2. other than that, great video!

  4. I enjoyed your video…I have a pfaff sewing machine and when making baby quilts for my grand babies, it is nearly impossible to fit underneath my pressure foot…is there another pressure foot i can buy to make it easier to fit the material and especially the corners of quilts? i own a pfaff hobbymatic875

  5. I love how super easy this is. I’ve been sewing forever, but am now teaching my granddaughters, and if they watch your videos, it so much easier than me trying to go step-by-step. In a few minutes, they can see the entire concept of shirring for a simple super easy dress. Thank you.

  6. Hi Sarah
    I watch ALL.your videos. I wish you had a Pfaff Creative Vision 5.5 I just bought it and there are NO videos about amything on it. But I your serger Videos. Ok with this shirring did you back stitch on ends or.tie anything with the elastic thread? Thanks

    1. Hi Casey! Thank you so much for watching our videos!! You can backstitch, but it’s more likely to cause a thread nest, so I usually just skip the back stitching because when I sew up the back seam (with regular thread in the bobbin) it traps all the elastic threads in place. The only time I knot the elastic thread by hand is if my elastic thread runs out in the middle of a row of shirring. I’ll hand knot where the thread ran out and hand knot the new start of stitches because it won’t have backup row of stitching to secure it in place. Does that make any sense? Or did I just make it even more confusing? LOL

  7. thank you for this tutorial! I will be using it for my granddaughters! A question for you…do you use regular thread for top thread and do you have to adjust any tensions?

  8. Hi Sarah, Good video. Thanks. I have done shirring on doll clothes but when I tried it on seersucker for a dress for granddaughter, it just would not gather. Have you experienced this? Thanks for so much good information. I will be visiting here often.

  9. Loved this video. I have already made doll sundresses For niece and daughter. Tomorrow I will be making halter tops for Katie. Any special directions for making waistbands on skirts. Thanks. Janice

    1. Hi Jan! You have certainly been a busy bee! Those are some lucky little girls! Are far as the waistband goes, there are two ways to do it. The easiest way is to just make a skirt the exact same way you made the dress, only go by the waist measurement instead of the bust and only sew 5 lines of elastic thread. Hem to the desired length. To make a completely separate waistband, the concept is similar; you’ll only need maybe 5 to 6 lines of elastic thread sewn on a 4 to 5 inch wide strip of fabric. Then, you’ll attach it to the skirt as you would an exposed elastic waistband. Sew the two ends together, pin in quarter intervals, and sew by gently stretching the elastic (shirred) band to fit the skirt waist.

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