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Shirring is a stretchy type of fabric gathering, primarily used to make form-fitting parts of various types of garments. Shirring created on sewing machines like the handy Janome 8077 is done using elastic thread. It can turn a plain garment into a stylish, tailored design in just a matter of minutes. When done on Janome sewing machines, shirring is simpler to add to projects than you may think.

Different Types of Shirring

There are many styles of shirring that can be stitched on sewing machines in various applications. Although they differ slightly, the techniques used to make each type are almost the same and mimic those used to make fabric gathers.

  • Elastic Thread - Shirring done using elastic thread instead of standard thread is the method commonly used. Useful for garment sleeves and bodices, it makes a stretchy area of gathers that create comfortable, form-fit clothing.
  • Elastic Cord - This version uses elastic cording laid over the fabric, then stitched with a Janome 8077 using a zigzag stitch to hold it in place. The fabric is then bunched into gathers that stretch with the elastic cord.
  • Waffle - Waffle shirring is basic elastic thread shirring first stitched across the fabric to pull it in horizontally, then vertically to pull it together. This leaves an area of gathers that stretch in two directions.
  • Gathered - This technique is used to make non-stretchy shirring by creating multiple rows of plain gathers with regular thread. The multiple rows make a puffy, textured area that looks nice yet maintains its shape.

Creating Elastic Thread Shirring

The common way to do shirring with Janome sewing machines is with elastic thread. This makes an attractive and mildly stretchy area that is great to add shape to garments, particularly sleeves, bodice, or yoke. Following is how this method is done:

  • Thread the Machine - For easy elastic thread shirring, the top thread should be normal and the bobbin thread elastic. Carefully hand-wind the bobbin with elastic and put it in the machine as normal. If necessary, loosen the bobbin tension. Set the machine for either a straight or zigzag stitch.
  • Mark the Fabric - Using tailor's chalk, mark parallel lines on the right side of the fabric from one end of the area to be shirred to the other. Average line spacing is usually a half inch. Lines spaced further apart result in looser, more relaxed shirring while lines closer together will make a more stretchy, puckered type of shirring.
  • Stitch the Fabric - Backstitch at the beginning of the first row. Then stitch along the first marked line. To get the shirred effect, lightly pull on the fabric as it passes under the needle, allowing each stitch to grab more fabric. Backstitch to end the line. Repeat this process until all of the lines have been stitched. The resulting shirring should bunch in slightly and have a little bit of stretch.

As easy as is described above, you can add shirring to any project made on Janome sewing machines. Common elastic thread shirring is fast and simple. If you need more stretch, try one or more rows of cord shirring. Any way you do it, shirring created with sewing machines like the Janome 8077 can add flair to projects and expand your sewing skills to create beautiful and unique items!

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