Shirring, or You Can’t Teach a New Dog Old Tricks

A while back I had cut out the pattern and fabric to make a top for Ruby.  It was from the Spring 2010 issue of Ottobre and required shirring along the neckline and sleeves, which I had never done before.  A friend of mine had given me some elastic thread that she had leftover from a project.  I had planned on doing a little bit of research on shirring before I got started and as if she was reading my mind, I came across this post from Amy Smart.  Of course, both of the links she pointed me to said it was SO EASY, so I followed the directions expecting it to be SO EASY, but alas, it was not.  I must have gone through a third of the spool of elastic thread before I almost gave up.  I searched message boards, blogs, etc.  I adjusted my tension on my machine.  I wound the thread by hand, first loosely, then tightly and each time my fabric failed to gather.

Finally, I pulled out my old machine.  I kind of felt bad, like when you go a long time without calling an old friend and then only call when you need something.  But what do you know, with my old machine, shirring really is SO EASY.  I really don’t know why it didn’t work on my new machine, but my suspicion is that it has something to do with the automatic tension adjusting that it insists on doing, which 99% of the time I appreciate.  But for this project, I’m glad I hung on to my old machine.

Here’s the finished product:

It’s supposed to be a top, but obviously it’s a little big, so for now, it’s a dress and probably next year, it’ll be a top.  I love it when things turn out this way.  Here’s an up-close shot of the shirring:


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