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shirring voile

bunwad | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi all,
I need to shirr several parallel lines on some cotton voile. I know 1 method is to use elastic thread in the bobbin, but I’ve never tried this and wonder if anyone has or if there are better methods someone has used.


  1. BYDEZINE | | #1

    if you want the voile to still stretch, elastic is the way to go

    if the shirring is decorative only, a chain stitich on a serger is a great way to do it.

    you set the differential feed to stretch and the stitch to long and then sew.

    without a serger you can get a nice job with a ruffler with the first run but subsequent runs will be hard to do. and last but not least is the old fashioned pull a thread trickm I suggest using a heavieer than normal thread on a long stitch so you can pull more easily.

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    Bunz, I haven't done this myself, so my information is from research rather than personal experience. However, the sources I've consulted say to wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin, stretching it slightly. I think you'll most likely have to do this by hand to avoid stretching it excessively, or, if you use your bobbin winder, don't feed the elastic thread through the tension disks, and run it as slowly as you can so you can control the stretch. Don't fill the bobbin absolutely all the way.

    Using a 4mm stitching length and a straight stitch, and just sew. Make some test swatches first, because you may have to adjust the tension or stitch length. If the gathers are not as tight as you want, you can pull the elastic bobbin thread, as in ordinary gathering, to adjust.

    NOw that I'm thinking about this again, I'm realizing it would be a good technique for little girl dresses like the ones we had in the 60s and 70s--just a tube of fabric, shirred around the torso, and some straps over the shoulders.


    1. bunwad | | #3


      Thanks for your thoughts on the matter. That's exactly what I want to do -- the reminder to practice first is on target. how often I/we just breeze into the fabric. You're right -- it would make a darling dress. I'm actually using semi-transparent voile to fussy up some lampshades so the underneath color will show thru, but it won't look so cheap (I hope). Bought a voile curtain panel on sale for almost nothing,(don't you love when you can do that?) so I feel like I can experiment......


    2. rjf | | #4

      I have used that technique on a dress and it worked quite well without too much trouble.  The trick is to stretch the previous rows so the fabric goes under the needle flat.  That makes the gathering even.  And it's very easy to pull the elastic up to make the rows even.  Maybe doing the front and back separately would make it easier and then tie the elastic at the side seams.   rjf

      1. HelgaPataki | | #5

        Burda pattern technique for shirring

        Hi, I know this post is way late but Burda pattern had a technique for a bustier with elastic shirring at the back.  it did not say to use elastic thread but just narrow elastic and zig zag the elastics across the back.  I agree with everybody that shirring is extremely difficult to do.  I had to pull the piece and decide on whether I am sewing it straight across the piece or not. 

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