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shirred elastic bodice

amycsl | Posted in General Discussion on

I would like to know how to shirr fabric with that small elastic to make a sundress bodice for my daughter; you know, the kind with lots of small rows.  Anyone know how?  Thanks! 


  1. suesew | | #1

    Wind elastic thread on a bobbin. You may have to do it by hand so it doesn't stretch out as it is wound. Then sew across the fabric in rows. You may need to bypass the slot on the bobbin or you may need to loosen the top, but my machine handles it without changing anything. I like to sew each row seperately leaving thread tails on each end. That way I can draw up the tension on the elastic if it isn't as tight as I want it. And I can also tie it off securely so it doesn't pull out. It can get a little messy with all those tails but it's also a fun technique.

    1. amycsl | | #2

      Thanks!  I never would have thought of that!  Amy

      1. suesew | | #3

        The first row that you sew will probably gather up as you so which isn't a problem. When you sew the rest of the rows you will probably have to stretch the fabric flat as you sew.

  2. scrubble4 | | #4

    amycsl:  Hi I have not done this myself, but I found this site where other sewers give suggestions.  Coupled with the great ideas you have been given here it may be enough.  Scrubble4


  3. MaryinColorado | | #5

    Cut the fabric wider than will be needed for the garment, mark straight lines horizontally, lay the elastic cord along the lines and "couch" over it with a wide zig zag stitch, being careful not to catch the elastic.  When all rows are complete, fit it to your daughter, stitch the center back seam, reinforcing the elastic ends so they won't pull out.  The lower part without the elastic will lay nicely.  Add straps and maybe a ribbon belt.

    The bobbin technique already mentioned is the method I prefer, but this offers an alternative if it doesn't work for you.

    If you have a serger, I can also suggest a technique for this.  Mary

    Edited 4/2/2008 10:22 am by MaryinColorado

    1. amycsl | | #6

      Thanks, and yes, I have a great serger that I'd like to put to more use!  Amy

      1. MaryinColorado | | #7

        You can use the chain stitch with elastic thread in the looper.  Then steam to "set" the gathers, adjust to fit, stitch seam to form a tube.  Be sure to loosen the looper tension for the thicker thread.  Mary

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