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Conversational Threads

shrinking thread

marthaq | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Has anyone used the thread that shrinks when you steam it? I bought some and am having such inconsistent results that I thought someone must know something!…..Some fabrics, especially silks, pucker wonderfully, but others, even looser woven, hardly shrink at all.
Advice? Thanks!


  1. HeartFire2 | | #1

    the thread is supposed to shrink? this is new to me, I imagine the looser weave of fabric has the ability to 'shrink' in between the stitches but not affect the rest of the weave. The silk which is a tighter weave will pull the rest of the fabric with it as it puckers. This is why you can 'ease' in some fabric but not others, or if you do a gathering stitch on a loosely woven fabric you won't get the same affect as on a very tight weave

    1. marthaq | | #2

      The thread is from Japan and designed to shrink. You sew with it normally, then steam it, and it shrinks. I use it as top or in the bobbin, the downside being that it only comes in white. With dark fabrics, I use a dark thread on top but still the white peeks through. I guess I just need more experimentation!

      1. alotofstitches | | #3

        2 things:  It may depend on the weight of the fabric as you know with elastic a firmer or heavier fabric draws up less than a lighter weight.  Another thought is when you wind the bobbin using ordinary poly thread (any brand), it should be done at a medium speed to prevent stretching the thread.  As it relaxes after sewn into a seam it causes puckers that can not be pressed out.  Carol Ahles had an article in THREADS in 2005, I think, on all kinds of threads--you might check it out.

  2. solosmocker | | #4

    How are you using this? For all sewing? I don't quite understand why one would need shrinking thread.Thanks.

  3. PASDENOM | | #5

    It sounds as if it could be used for ease and gathering, as long as you test it and determine what percentage of shrinkage it does. Where did you buy this?

    1. marthaq | | #6

      I finally did some testing, and used it for a decorative ruched panel on the front of a dress. Best results are with thread in top of machine (not in bobbin) with a long stich length, and slightly loose tension. It gathered up about 25% on a cotton/linen blend, quite tight weave.
      I bought the thread at Linda's Sewing, in Corvallis, Oregon, where I live. It is called "Chizimi."

      1. ctirish | | #7

        I saw an ad or read about this thread somewhere. The fabric they used for the picture looked like a tight weave. Were you able to control how the shrinking presented itself? Let me try that again....you put it on a panel on the front of a dress - was the panel a separate piece of fabric and could you adjust how it gathered the fabric? It sounds like that is what it does; the thread shrinks and it pulls the fabric together - but not in a straight line?

        1. marthaq | | #8

          I sewed 5 straight rows with the thread in the top of the machine, and dark blue in the bobbin. I sewed wrong side up so the blue thread would be showing on the front of the dress. I did a test and guestimated that I would be reducing dress width by 3 inches or so. The area shrunk from 6.5 to 4 inches. I will try to attach a picture showing front section that I gathered with the thread. (Shoulder seams not yet done...)
          I tried it on velvet without much success - the white showed through and looked cheap. I see so many possibilities...wish I had loads more time!

          1. User avater
            Becky-book | | #9

            Way cool!

          2. ctirish | | #10

            Wow, I like the way that looks, the fabric you chose was good too. It looks like a different texture. Excellent - you can become the expert, write a few books and who knows, we will be watching you on TV. There is definite potential there - It is even and balanced - I really like it. I can't wait to see the finished garment. How did you load the photos - I have always wanted to be able to zoom in on photos and I could with yours. it is such a great feature. I wish everyone could do it, everyone would be able to see everything so much better. Uh-Oh - is my age showing? As my mother would say when we asked her age - you never ask a lady and I am over 21.

          3. marthaq | | #11

            Thanks for the encouragement on the dress. I will post finished pics, but our house is so cold I am loathe to try it on to finish fitting! As far as the photos go, my teenaged son taught me everything I know. I just shoot and load on computer and then upload. His camera takes a pretty big image size I think, so maybe that is what allows such good detail. Happy sewing!

  4. user-3874901 | | #12

    In reply to the post asking why would anyone use shrinking thread?  I am using the shrinking thread on some curtains where I am doing candlewicking, decorative stitches, adding lace, maybe some beads, etc. and looking just for texture.  I have it on order but have not received it yet. I can't wait!

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