I SHIR am happy with how my first shirred sewing project turned out - lolol :) Sewn May 2022

This was a total learning experience! New skill + pattern hacking / mashing = lots of swears, but I'm obsessed with the color of this fabric and refused to give up on it. I love the finished product! The biggest appeal of shirring for me is getting a woven fabric to fit and feel as comfortable as a knit fabric. I also kept swooning over the silhouette: fitted shirred bodice with puff sleeves.

First up was learning how to shir - it took a lot of experimenting to finally get it to work. I was having the opposite problem of most troubleshooting guides; my fabric was gathering up too much. I tried using different thread and messing with the stitch length and tension, and looked at a ton of tutorials.

Finally, I found the answer from Victory Patterns, as part of the Sofia sew along. I took apart my machine to adjust the tension on the bobbin case w/ a screwdriver. I just had to change it back to normal after shirring.

First bodice piece shirred VS not - it shrunk SO MUCH

Pattern(s): Bodice - Simplicity 9141 / Sleeves - Butterick 6872 

While most shirred tutorials are just a rectangle w/ sleeves, I wanted something that fit a little better on the shoulders, and allowed me to wear a normal bra with it. I ended up hacking these a ton to make it fit, and still it wasn't perfect. The Simplicity bodice, even though it had shrunk too much, was still too big/loose. And I should have looked closer at the picture on the pattern envelope - who wants armholes that low?! I had read that using a pattern with armholes was better than just doing a rectangle, but I'm not sure I agree. If I were to do it again with a pattern, I would try the Victory Patterns Sofia.

Fabric: 1.5 yd Cotton Voile in Dark Lavender from Mood (years ago - from my stash :)


Tried 2 kind of elastic thread:

- Gutermann: thicker and softer - gathered the fabric more than expected, but eventually worked well

- Dritz: thinner - didn't gather quite as much, but snapped when stretched (infuriating!!)

New presser foot (Janome: Border Guide) for sewing straight parallel rows of shirring instead of winging it or drawing them on w/ chalk

When all is said and done, I love this top! But there is no way I could recreate it - it took an insane amount of finagling to get everything to look right and fit right. I do feel way more confident in my shirring ability now, so we will see what happens next! 

❤ Sally