Friday, February 28, 2014

Sew-Along #12 - Olivia Top and Girly Skirt - Lesson #4

The Olivia Top and Girly Skirt 

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Day 4 - Shirring the Top

We start today with the following:
  • Finished skirt
  • Top put together
  • Ready to shirr

This is what you leave with today!  (Not the cute girl, the cute outfit!)

When would you use shirring?  I am using it today on my Olivia Top, but there are other instances when you may use shirring.  Shirring can be used for waistbands, sleeves, legging ruffles, necklines, etc.  Shirring does not work on thick fabrics, it's best with woven cotton and light weight fabrics.

The most important supply we need today is elastic thread.  There are many brands to choose from and some people prefer specific brands.  I bought Dritz from JoAnn and it is fine.  The elastic thread will only be used in the bobbin and will only appear on the bottom of the garment.

When using elastic thread, you must wind the bobbin by hand.  Try to keep an even and smooth motion as you go.  Pull the thread to stretch it just a little, but not too much.  So, the thread should not be loose on the bobbin but pulled slightly tight.

Shirring requires adjusting the stitch length to the longest stitch.  I leave the tension at a normal setting (or you can turn it one less than normal) and only adjust the stitch length.  Below, you can see that my stitch length is at the longest setting.  All machines are different, so you will have to play a little if these settings don't work for you.

The elastic thread on the bottom of the stitch allows the garment to stretch. Before sewing on good fabric, practice on a scrap piece.  Stitch a short row and make sure the elastic thread is pulling the fabric a little.  The fabric doesn't have to pull tight, just a bit of pull.

When you feel good about the thread length, begin to sew the waistband.  Begin by using the topstitching as a guide and sew a straight line.  I like to backstitch at the beginning and end of each row, just to be sure my stitching stays in place.  If you prefer not to backstitch, you can tie off the beginning and ending threads.

The first row of stitching will not pull tight, that is okay.  As you continue to sew rows, the elastic will start to pull the fabric.

In order to make the elastic thread pull tighter, you need to sew multiple rows. Continue to use the previous line of stitching as a guide for your current row of stitching.  Go slow so you can be sure that your stitching is as straight as possible.  My lines are NOT perfect, perfect is boring!

Four or five rows is enough.  I used 5 rows on the neckline and waistline of the Top and 4 rows on the sleeves.  
Note: If you choose to make the ¾ sleeves you can add the shirring to the middle of the upper arm area to create the bell sleeve look.  I measured up to where I wanted the shirring to fall.  I then used a water soluble marker to make a line all the way around that I could follow for the first row of shirring.  You can also add extra shirring to the chest area to give the top a closer fit.  I again measured up to where I wanted the shirring and marked a line all the way around the top to follow.
You can see that my stitching has pulled a little, but it's not as tight as I want it. No worries!

The trick to pulling the thread tight and creating a smocked look is to steam the stitching.  Take the garment over to the ironing board, steam the stitching and watch the fabric draw up to the perfect neckline.  Do the same for the bottom of the bodice to create a waistline and sleeves.

Can you believe it???  We are finished!  Fast, right?  

Congratulations on making a precious outfit in just a few days!  I hope your "little" is just as happy as mine.

I hope you have enjoyed sewing with me!  I would love to hear from you.
* If you would like to enter the prize drawing, please make sure you submit a picture of your completed lesson to the Facebook Album by 8:00 AM CT, Monday, March 3rd. Also, if you have any questions the Facebook Group is a great place to ask.

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