Ok, so I know people are crazy about shirring, and I also know that I’m a coward. I need to jump on the bandwagon. I want to jump on the band wagon. But I’m scared!
Today, I saw this shirt at Ann Taylor Loft (click the link for the better picture on the ATL website. Obviously I took my picture through the window … while pushing a stroller…). I’m a totally sucker for Swiss Dot. Swiss Dot and Seersucker. (I think that means that I love summer?) Anyway, I crave this shirt. In BRIGHT yellow. Granted, it’s on sale now, and probably costs less to buy pre-made than it will for me to buy Swiss Dot (in aqua!!! or lime!!! or white with red dots (my FAVE!!!)) , but since I took the wardrobe refashion pledge, I cannot buy it!!! (ok, actually, now that I look online, I’m guessing that it’s gonna be even harder for me to make it… I can’t find any good colors! I’m gonna have to buy white and dye it. Dye-ing is another secret fear of mine.)

Therefore, I MUST figure out how to MAKE it for myself.
But I need help, Oh Blog Readers of the World.

I looked at the shirt online in detail, and I think it’s made of two pattern pieces. One piece for the front and back, and one curved piece for the strap. so I know the shape I want to cut the pieces. HOW MUCH BIGGER DO I CUT THEM!?!?!? 1.5x? 2x? how much fabric does shirring take up?
PLEASE give me a ballpark before I start cutting with abandon tomorrow???!?!!???! (also, please DON’T tell me what Bernina told me about my fancy ruffle foot (~”there are no guidelines, every fabric is different, you just have to take a yard of the fabric and experiment till you get the ruffle density you like.”) There MUST be a general rule of thumb for shirring.
SO. As incentive:
I’ll do a random # drawing on Monday night, and the winner will either get a Reversible Bean Dress/Top
or a giant box of crochet thread. LOTS of great colors. (by giant, I mean, 12″x12″ overflowing). My wonderful mother got me the box at least a year ago, and I had big plans, but now… it’s still just sitting there in the closet, taking up room…
So my first givaway is officially comencing NOW.

8 Responses

  1. i would make the front wider than the back, but I'm bigchested ;)And a bit like wider at the neck and narrower to the hem because otherwise it becomes too wide at the hem. You can ajust it afterwards.
    I would make the sleeves first and cut that one and a half wider than your measurements of your body or of your supposed sleeve. Than I would ruffle it to see how much ruffle it gives. Less if you want less ruffle.A sleeve is easier to ajust than a bodypiece. Then I would make the neck the same length as the sleeves.
    It also depends on how much yardage you have.
    Since I don't have small children in my family or friends, I would like to have the crocketyarns.
    I am willing to share the postage fee.

    good luck with your shirt.

  2. Shiring can take up quite a lot of fabric. Remember the wider the stitch the tighter the elastic.

    I've used shiring to take in very baggy sleeves and huge waists. If it's not tight enough I go round again.

    If you're happy to 'build up' the gather then just cut big and keep going until you are happy.

    Otherwise I really think it would be worth making a practice version of this first. Shirring is easy but like any technique you want to get an idea of it first.

    good lucj – I'll look forward to seeing your results.

  3. Hi!
    I gave a closer look to the blouse you like, and found out that the front and back are not cut where they are shirred. That makes it easier to sew. Then I traced a pattern from Burda that would suit you and took some photos of it and of a method of shirring I tried lately that works best (and I tried all the methods I could think of!)but I cannot find an e-mail address on this page to send them to you!Or is it just me..?:-)
    The shirring method is really easy – you just fix some elastic thread with zigzag stitch, then you try your garment on and pull the elastic thread until you're happy with the shirring, and in the end you tie a knot.Done!
    So, let me know how I can send you the photos!

  4. I've never shirred. There. I wanted to get that out of the way – but I do have some tutorials bookmarked in case I ever get over my fear of it. Here's one: http://pretty-ditty.blogspot.com/2009/04/smockingshirring-tutorial.html Here's another: http://portabellopixie.typepad.com/portabellopixie/files/full_shir_madness_tutorial.pdf Of course, neither of those address your problem. I would say start with twice as much, since everyone says you just add a few more rows and it will tighten up.

  5. Check out the back on here:


    It may be close enough to get you what you want, using a 1.5x the length (because you'll only do a few rows of shirring, not 20, and the gather will be less – also wearing it with the weight of the shirt will pull the elastic quite a bit).

    you may alternatively try to zig zag some clear elastic on as an alternative for a greater hold, less pulling down (especially if you've got little ones – the yank shirts down and open faster than your picture taking elderly relative can say, 'cheese!'

    good luck on your top – I'm sure you will learn much (that you can share 🙂

  6. Don't be intimidated – great items are often born when we try something new. Can you test drive the shirring first on a scrap piece of fabric to see how much it actually shrinks up? My experience is the lighter the fabric, the more it will gather. Also, do several rows as your test. The shirring doesn't really tighten up until you've done about 3 rows. Save your elastic "tails" and tie them up when you are finished, otherwise your item will unravel with each wear (backstitching isn't enough in my experience). Can't wait to see your result!

  7. I would also test shiring on a scrap piece of fabric or even make a version of this shirt out of some cheap material to see how it turns out and how much it shrinks.

    Shiring is a pretty simple process, but just make sure if you want it to be a tight gather, use a longer stitch.

    Good luck!

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