Friday, October 19, 2012

Progress on the pin tucks, shirr nuf!

Happy Friday everyone.
Last night I was determined to make some real progress on the pin tuck pillow cover I mentioned yesterday. I was all set to dedicate a good couple hours to getting some tucked rows inver my belt when I got three phone calls all relating to work! Two freelance gigs and a sewing proposition! Wha! I tell you, when it comes, it comes.

So I was feeling pretty good and only able to get a few rows in.

I planned on doing two pillow covers in pin-tucking, but I looked at my other yard of fabric and thought if I even attempt that, I'll never get it done!

What other decorative technique have I wanted to do but haven'? Shirring!

I mean, I bought some threading elastic just for this purpose a few weeks ago and have never gotten to it. So I thought, what is stopping me?

Shirring is easy, really easy, and I hope you all don't let the look of the technique get to you.

I had done it before long, long ago when I was learning to sew, but never on this machine, so I took some scrap fabric and played with it.

There are also a ton of You Tube videos on shirring, most of then unnecessarily long, and poorly instructed.

*My practice shirr. Note the stitches are long, but the width of the stitches are small.*

*Back of the shirr. The zig-zag is only to encase the elastic. That, and the tension from the tension dial creates the stretch.*

The key to easy shirring is tension. The key to tension is your machine's tension dial. Experiment with tension to see how tight or loose you want your shirring to behave. Also pay attention to the weight of your fabric. My cotton is a pretty heavy weight for shirring, but I also shirred at a medium tension, so I'll have a good amount of buoyancy when I construct the pillow case.

Please, if you shirr, make sure you draw out your lines first. I know a lot of people think they can eyeball it, but nothing looks more amateur than a wobbly shirring line. You can see the blue wax of my lines but I can always wash it out later. Plus, I have about 30 lines of shirring that are going to happen on this pillow, so they better be on their game.

For those who are interested, I do recommend it. It's a fast and fun way to add interest to your garments or crafts. Oh, and sew with your zig-zag length stitch at it's widest, and the spacing gauge set just wide enough to go over both sides of the elastic. Some will say to do it to it's widest too, I find that just makes the faux casing you have around the elastic too large, and causes the gathers to shift more than they need to. Some shirrers I have found on You Tube shirr with a straight stitch. That's stupid and wrong.

Here's a You Tube videos I found concise enough and interesting enough to watch.

Have a great afternoon!


Rueby... said...

Shirring can be done with elasticized thread wound on the bottom bobbin, and sewn with a straight stitch. It's completely correct and I even pulled out my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing to check. In fact, the only methods mentioned in this book are using gathering stitches, elastic thread, or cord. No where does it mention using elastic and zig zagging over top so I'm not quite sure where you picked that up. If it works for you, more power too you! It still looks good but it definitely is not the only way :)

Shelley J said...

Ive been schooled! :) I don't like using a straight stitch because it does not give as much as a zig-zag does. And it lays (sp) much better. Perhaps when a machine did not have a zz stitch, but now I see no point in using a straight stitch.

Im using elastic thread, wound in my bobbin, not cord. I know it looks like cord, but nope, its that thin elastic thread you buy. I should have posted a picture.

Rueby... said...

OOOOOHHH! I understand your logic now :) That makes sense. I even looked at some of my smocked things, haha. They look chain stitched on the top actually but are straight. Whatever works the best for one I guess. I have yet to try smocking myself, though I bought the elastic thread quite some time ago.

msnotrightnow said...

So I just wanted to say how happy it made me to stumble upon your blog and etsy shop today. I am obsessed with vintage fashion as well, though I do not sew. And I was very discouraged that the art of dress making seems to be lost within the black community. I'm from PG County, MD, home of MANY black businesses and yet I do not know many black dressmakers and especially not vintage dressmakers and especially not plus vintage dressmakers. Anyways, you've become my new hero! And I just thought you should know.

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